Hammet, Chandler, McBain, Pronzini, Block and Parker are all masters of the American detective novel. The first two created the form, the last four continue to carry it out with both continued freshness and comfortable familiarity. The most perfect form, however, is the series of Lew Archer stories and novels written by the late Ross MacDonald. Like Chandler an immigant, he caught the smell and the feel of Southern California better than a native. He also crystalized the inner calmness and unwavering honor of the classic private eye, without awkwardness and sentiment. Perhaps the greatest tribute that could be given to MacDonald the writer is that he only wrote one story, but wrote it so well that each time was a new experience. This story is just that, a fresh look at the classic life and conflict in a Southern California that never existed but is real and beloved to everyone who admires and appreciates this very American form of literature.