RARA-AVIS: The Instant Enemy

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 05 Jan 2003

Breaking out of the decade theme routine, I just finished THE INSTANT ENEMY by Ross Macdonald (1968). During all the discussion last month about the Ross & John D disagreements about bylines, I realized it had been ages since I had read a Ross Macdonald. My memories were positive with a preference for the earlier stories but Ross Macdonald was not among my favorites.

I picked ENEMY because I had not read it before and because I rather liked the title. It was a good choice. This is a fine novel with truly elegant writing. Archer is tough but full of warmth and complexity as he sorts through a runaway daughter case that quickly becomes very complicated with family debris that stretched across decades. As is common with Macdonald novels the keys to everything are the family secrets hidden for a generation.
 The novel deals with serious issues and themes very well and I was engrossed. Knowing that Ken and Margaret Millar were dealing with daughter issues during the period this novel was written adds to the poignancy of the writing.

Richard Moore

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