Short Pieces on Ross Macdonald

Another small piece is online now at, an appreciation of the American mystery author Ross Macdonald. To my mind he’s the man who carries the American hard-boiled mystery into a recognizable present from its origins with Hammett and Chandler. I really can’t recommend Macdonald’s books enough – tough and tender, intricately wrought, and mindful of place and time without sacrificing the long view. A good place to start is Find a Victim (1954) or The Barbarous Coast (1956), the fifth and sixth Lew Archer novels, respectively. He wrote twelve more after that, and they’re all terrific.

One thought on “Short Pieces on Ross Macdonald

  1. The Drowning Pool is the second of the eighteen Archer novels; in it, Macdonald still hasn’t found the rock solid formulas that appear to first surface with The Galton Case and continue on up to The Blue Hammer. In the earlier Archer books he’s still dabbling a little too much in the Hammet, Chandler, hardboiled school. The Drowing Pool has more than a fair share of a lot of gimmicky shtick. Before I discuss it in a little detail I would like to list and quote the first ten similes similes I uncovered in the first sixty two pages of the book, doing so for perspective’s sake.

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