RARA-AVIS: The Long Lavender Look

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 18 Oct 2003

THE LONG LAVENDER LOOK (1970) is the twelfth Travis McGee novel by John D. MacDonald. It's a good one, with McGee getting in trouble in a small Florida town. It's unusual because McGee isn't after salvage, but my memory isn't good enough to be sure it's the first like that.

Chapter 1: McGee and Meyer are taking the scenic route home from a wedding. It's late at night and the road is dark. Suddenly, a naked woman runs in front of their truck. McGee brakes, misses the woman, but the truck fishtails and goes over the edge into a river. McGee is knocked unconscious, but Meyer rescues him. They start walking to town. A truck comes along and they are shot at. The bullets miss, and they hide until it's safe. Chapter 2: They're arrested for murder.

It starts off fast, as you can see. Soon they're freed from jail and Meyer goes home. McGee sticks around, partly to beat up a policeman who worked Meyer over, but also because people are dying and there's a lot of money somewhere. The plot gets a little confused towards the end, when they're figuring out the details of a robbery and talking about people who are never seen, but it all comes to a nice conclusion.

It's similar to other McGee books where he's in a small Florida town, shakes things up, finds out secrets, sleeps with a local woman or two, gets in trouble with the cops, etc. (These are the kinds of books that make tourists stay on the main highway.) A couple of scenes seemed very reminiscent of earlier McGees. There are only a few pages of philosophizing, and there's strangely little desciption of the town. The outlying countryside gets more.

McGee only sleeps with one woman (39-22-32), but a couple of others would like to. One is a weird one, a super-strong young sadist who turns McGee on by lifting a car off the ground. Later, he punches her in the face.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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