RARA-AVIS: Blue City by Kenneth Millar (Ross Macdonald)

From: Ed Lynskey ( e_lynskey@yahoo.com)
Date: 25 Mar 2007

Back in October, I posted to rara-avis re: BLUE CITY (Dell, 1947) by Kenneth Millar (Ross Macdonald), his third and a pre-Lew Archer standalone. Tapani mentioned an Oedipus theme and it was RM's first crime novel. Wikipedia cites Blue City was made into a film in 1986, starring Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and David Caruso, three years after RM died. I haven't seen the film.

BC's plot in a nutshell finds John Weather returning home from the army to find his father, J.D. Weather, was shot and killed two years before. The rest of the book centers on John digging into his father's unsolved murder and exposing the seedy, corrupt town.

Besides the novel's hardboiled tone, I was struck by the Chandleresque metaphors RM used. My guess is that in 1947 the device was still fresh and interesting in crime fiction. It's a fun, h-b read written before the author started the long Lew Archer series.

Ed Lynskey


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