Re: RARA-AVIS: McBain / John D. MacDonald and Ross MacDonald. Also a question for Jim Doherty.

From: James Michael Rogers (
Date: 22 Jul 2010

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    I is a-gunna stick up a bit for John D.. Yes, the authorial intrusion is a bit much and the Papa Hemingway act gets a tad old. And Ed McBain is consistently good, though I don't think he is the best Procedural guy (that's Hilary Waugh), but I will allow that he is a more dependable read than MacDonald. John, however, could sometimes sort of write beyond himself.....When he's on he's untouchable. I think his best books top McBain, which is saying something.

    To Jim Doherty. Speaking of untouchables, is there a really good biographical source for the life of Jack McGurn? All the stuff I have seen fades out after the Capone days and I am particularly interested in the days of his decline.


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Jack Bludis
      Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 18:11
      Subject: RARA-AVIS: McBain / John D. MacDonald and Ross MacDonald

      McBain was ten years younger than John D. and he virtually invented the police procedural. (God know there was little procedure to Georges Simenon other than an all-but clairvoyant solution to the crime.) I think the age difference helped McBain to be far fresher than John D.

      John D. tried to handle relationships without commitment, something that in the context of the times, I believe, was accurate. Modern female readers consider his sexist.

      I had John D. ranked with Hammett and Chandler for years until I reread some of John D. MacDonald. Nope, not even close, but my opinion is that John D. is as good as, if not better than Ross MacDonald, who never passed up a metaphor or simile, no matter how awful, complex, or unnecessary.

      Chandler got in, got out, and got on with it.



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