Chandler is one of the most significant figures in America's history of letters. His first novel has everything you could ever want out of a mystery (or any book really): Solid pacing, great dialogue, and a slew of murders that Chandler's detective must get to the bottom of. While Chandler can certainly write a simmering narrative, the real draw is his style. The primary characteristics being a pithy prose, snappy conversation, and his ever evocative metaphors: "I was as empty of life as a scarecrow's pockets." As far as hard-boiled detective fiction goes, you can't get much better than Chandler and The Big Sleep is a great introduction.