Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Tobias Jones on Ross Macdonald in yesterday's Guardian

From: Stephen Burridge (
Date: 05 Aug 2009

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    I've read about half of Macdonald's books so far, and I expect to read them all. I find them highly readable and often very interesting, though I sometimes find the complexities of who adopted whose child and took someone else's name a generation ago a little wearisome to follow. I also sometimes don't find Archer very credible as a PI. When he starts talking about his
    "case", it can strike me as a little ridiculous, as he seems to be investigating so much more than some limited problem a client would hire a PI about. He is clearly being used as the author's surrogate to explore some tangled situation that is supposed to reveal something about the families and society of the time. And that's fine with me. I think Macdonald was a unique and highly individual writer. He obviously chose to work in the Hammett-Chandler PI tradition and make use of it in his own way. He managed to do this with considerable success.

    On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 1:56 PM, Harry Joseph Lerner <> wrote:

    > If I may put my two cents worth in...Patrick, clearly your mind is made up
    > where Ross MacDonald is concerned, and I admire your conviction (even though
    > I am an Lew Archer fan.) What I don't understand is since you are convinced
    > there is "not that much to feel strongly about" in MacDonald's work, then
    > what do you expect to get out of continuing to read or re-read his books?
    > Won't you keep arriving at the same conclusion, given your convictions?
    > Again, just my two-cents worth with a pinch of ignorance (on my part)
    > thrown in for good measure.
    > Best,
    > Harry Lerner
    > ________________________________________
    > From: <> [
    > <>] On Behalf Of
    > Patrick King [ <>]
    > Sent: August 5, 2009 1:25 PM
    > To: <>
    > Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Tobias Jones on Ross Macdonald in yesterday's
    > Guardian
    > On has to wonder why, if you don't like him, you've continued to read him.
    > I like him, but taste is taste, and you're entitled to your own. But are
    > there so few books that ARE to your taste that you have to resort to the
    > occasional Ross Macdonald whenever you really start jonesing for a crime
    > novel?
    > **************************************
    > I make a point of keeping up with successful writers in the genres I'm
    > interested in whether I like them or not. I'm curious about "popularity". I
    > absolutely hate Stark's Parker novels, for example, but I drag myself
    > through them because I know he has a million fans and I'm curious about what
    > they can possibly see in these tedious, goody-two-shoes books. I'll admit
    > for the most part I listen to them on audio books rather than spend precious
    > reading time with them, however. I don't feel as strongly about Ross
    > MacDonald because, and you seem to agree, there's not that much to feel
    > strongly about. I can more easily connect Lew Archer with Elmo & Ernie than
    > I can with Spade & Marlow.
    > Patrick King

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