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

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 04 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.

I'd like to chime in and add my vote for BLACK MONEY, for three reasons. First, I've read all of the others you mention above. I agree that (in my opinion) THE CHILL is the best, or at least my favorite. Second, I've got a copy of BLACK MONEY, so no need to hunt for one. Third, this conversation nudged me to get it off the bookshelf and start it. I'm on page 22 and it's terrific, so I'm thinking I won't be putting it down any time soon. So for me, that's a perfect storm of reasons to vote for it!

All the Best-

Brian Thornton

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