RARA-AVIS: Ross Macd and Rex stout

DOUGLAS GREENE (dgreene@odu.edu)
Wed, 14 Jan 1998 09:35:48 EST Ross Macdonald was indeed repetitive, and his plots often do not
stand the stress of closs examinatiomn; Jon L. Breen wrote a marvelous
parody called, I think, "The Drowning Ice Cube." It's in Jon's
collection, HAIR OF THE SLEUTHHOUND. In addition, occasionally,
Macdonald writes so well that it is obvious that a highly educated
author is standing behind Lew Archer's first person voice. But all
that said, I think he was a major writer. He had something to say
(about families, about society, about California, about--say it not
in Gath!--angst) and he usually said it very well.

As for Rex Stout: what's interesting about his work historically is
that he combined the eccentric genius detective in Nero Wolfe with the breezy,
slangy pulp private eye in Archie Goodwin. Stout too was an
excellent writer, and he too was often weak on plots.

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