Re: RARA-AVIS: McGee, MacDonald

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 02 Apr 2001

dc wrote:

"That's funny, those are exactly the qualities I cherish about MacDonald. McGee's babbling about tourism, or the rich, or the raping of Florida--those are the pages I inevitably dog-ear and return to. I agree about the Rolls Royce, which seems contrived, but MacDonald is such a tremendously appealing writer, and so convincing in the way he portrays eccentricities, that I am easily won over."

I've gotta agree with this. When I read Juri's original post on his problems with Travis McGee, I thought, Gee, that's exactly what I like about him. I'm also noticing a US vs. Euro take on McGee's appeal. Maybe it's just that MacDonald's rants get us Yankees (from an overseas point of view, not a north/south one) nodding our heads in agreement.

And it's McGee's character that kept me going back again and again, even after I felt the books started a slow slide downhill after the first 10 or so. And I wasn't the only one. It was the only series my ex-wife and I both regularly read (she was more of a Ruth Rendell/PD James fan). I had also hooked both of my college roommates.

As for MacDonald giving in to writing a series for monetary reasons
(with the implication of sellout), the McGees may have given him higher visibility, but it was his "blockbuster books," like Condominium that really first gave him bestseller status in the US. If I recall correctly, only then did the McGees start showing up on the bestselling lists, too.

Finally, as for Etienne's implication about series characters being a concession to US readers, I don't notice any dearth of them in other countries: Simenon, Malet, Rankin, PD James, Christie, etc.


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