Re: RARA-AVIS: MacDonald bio

From: calvin branche (
Date: 18 Sep 2000

I've been interested in reading the comments on the Red Hot Typewriter. I have a web page devoted to JDM, and I have spent some time at the JDM Collection located in the Smathers Rare Book Library at the Univ. of Fl. in Gainesville. The Collection is arguably the most comprehensive of any U.S. crime-mystery-detective fiction author. There are some 350 boxes of written material (letters, reviews, manuscripts, etc.) and about 50 boxes of photos.

That's a lot of research if you are doing more than skimming for some anecdotes.

I have not yet read the book, but several in the MacDonald chat group have and their comments have been mixed. The fans who have read and collected JDM, including the late Walter Shine's biographical and bibliographical publications, had pretty much the same criticism: lightweight, but some interesting comments.

I have argued for some time that a strong , well-researched, and critical book on JDM is long overdue. Not because it could be done, but because it ought to be done. The difference between the two motivations is the difference in what has been written (except by Shine) and what remains to be written.

Shine, BTW, had completed his update to the Bio-Bib just before his death in 1997. However, it has not been published. He was a meticulous scholar who spent some time each day for more than 27 years working and researching JDM. Even MacDonald would call Walter to find out if he was repeating a name, or situation first done in one of the 497 short stories written in the late 40's. Walter could give him a correct answer within two minutes.

cal branche

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