Re: RARA-AVIS: Macdonald, Hammet, Chandler, Compassion, et al

From: Doug Bassett (
Date: 03 Dec 2004

> If we're only going to read one Archer, I'd
> recommend
> best
> private eye short story collections ever. If it has
> to be a novel, why not the first, THE MOVING TARGET,
> which was the basis for the biggest PI film of the
> '60's, HARPER? If it has to be post-GALTON, I'd
> personally choose THE ZEBRA-STRIPED HEARSE, but I've
> heard that Macdonald himself once said that he
> regarded BLACK MONEY as his best effort.

I'd personally go with THE CHILL, which I think is a nice working out of the MacDonald formula, although ZEBRA is good, as is BLACK MONEY. They're all pretty decent -- yet strangely hard to distinguish. Although people overstate it, in a way it's true what they say, if you've read one post GALTON you really have read them all.

That doesn't mean they're bad, at all, but they are very highbrow-formulaic.

MOVING TARGET is a fun book but reads like what it is, a Chandler imitation, and doesn't really have much to do with MacDonald as a fully developed writer.


===== Doug Bassett

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 03 Dec 2004 EST