Re: RARA-AVIS: Ross MacDonald--the Two Faces

From: Patrick King (
Date: 07 Jan 2010

  • Next message: phred deVecca: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Ross MacDonald--the Two Faces"

    Hi: In a recent post regarding Ed McBain, a couple of members noted they found Ross MacDonald "preachy", etc. This is not exactly the way I would describe his last 3-4 books, which I found almost unreadable, although I was--and am-- a great Ross MacDonald/Kenneth Millar fan. I found these last few books infused with a compulsion to show the disfunctional California family at any cost to realism/narrative flow. His publisher it seemed wanted his books also to be publicized as "novels" rather than detective/crime fiction. It has been many years since I read these, but these last few books are the only ones of his that I am willing to dispose of.


    I'm sorry, Ken, but Ross MacDonald wrote the same story over and over and over. If you've read one, you've read 'em all.

    As for John D. MacDonald, it doesn't get much preachier or more self-pitying than poor, old McGhee. The stories are often good, though, but his sentimentality destroys the hard boiled effect.

    Patrick King


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