I just saw the Paul Newman movie Harper at the American Film Institute in Maryland and was pleasantly surprised. I have never read a Ross MacDonald novel and was wondering if the movie's ironic tone and the witty banter between the main character (Harper in the movie, Archer in the novels) and the different people he interacts with is also an important element in the books. It seems to me the producers intended to launch a series of Harper movies and if that's the case I don't know why this never happened. The movie was a solid detective flick with an excellent script by William Goldman and strong performances by Newman, Richard Wagner and the rest of the cast. I understand Newman reprised his Harper role nine years later. Who knows why it took them so long to shoot a sequel.
I am now interested in reading some Lew Archer books. I only have the Crippen & Landru collection of short stories. Would that be a good starting point or is there one title that's generally considered the best in the series?
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