Ross MacDonald And “Lew Archer” Detective Extraordinaire


Writer’s of the 1940’s period, the golden era of hard boiled detective fiction, really understood how to express themselves.  What I admire so much is their brevity, their modicum of  prose flourish.

Here is a favorite excerpt from Ross MacDonald’s short story ” Midnight Blue “,


While I was loading it, something caught my eye–something that glinted red, like a ruby among the leaves.  I stooped to pick it up and found that it was attached.  It was a red-enameled fingernail at the tip of a white hand.  The hand was cold and stiff.




Macdonald is the primary heir to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler as the master of American hardboiledmysteries. His writing built on the pithy style of his predecessors by adding psychological depth and insights into the motivations of his characters. Macdonald’s plots were complicated, and often turned on Archer’s unearthing family secrets of his clients and of the criminals who victimized them. Lost or wayward sons and daughters were a theme common to many of the novels. Macdonald deftly combined the two sides of the mystery genre, the “whodunit” and the psychological thriller. Even his regular readers seldom saw a Macdonald denouement coming.

Inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Macdonald’s writing was hailed by genre fans and literary critics alike. Author William Goldman called his works “the finest series of detective novels ever written by an American”.   FROM Wikipedia


Bye,  ( She had legs like slivers of almond that just wouldn’t quit! )

One Response to “Ross MacDonald And “Lew Archer” Detective Extraordinaire”

  1. In studying the Lew Archer novels of Ross Macdonald I’ve tried to identify certain characteristics, themes, motifs, images – call them what you like – that crop up frequently throughout the various books. I don’t claim that the following are particularly important or have any special significance or meaning; nor do I say this is a comprehensive list. They are simply some things I’ve noticed in more than one of the novels.

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