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"The surprise with which a detective novel concludes should set up tragic vibrations which run backward through the entire structure," wrote Ross Macdonald in his 1981 Self-Portrait. Nowhere in his work does he better demonstrate this principle than in The Chill, first published in 1964. The plot is one of Macdonald's most masterfully constructed. Private detective Lew Archer is engaged to trace a missing spouse, who has vanished--apparently of her own free will--only a day into her honeymoon. Archer begins pulling at the threads of the case, and by page 25 they're already starting to reveal a deeper, darker story involving two murders 20 years apart. As usual, Macdonald's economical prose propels the reader forward from one action-packed scene to another, while the scenes in turn pile up to paint a rich, complex picture of buried memories, anguished relations between parents and children, the arrogance of the rich, and the search for identity. Then, at the end, one of the author's best surprise reversals changes the picture's colors entirely. Even if you're one of those discerning readers who find Macdonald's lesser work superior to most other mystery writing (as does this reviewer), The Chill stands out among his books. --Nicholas H. Allison
Published in 1965, 1963, and 1950, respectively, this trio feature Macdonald's hard-boiled private detective Lew Archer. The plots involve murder, deceit, blackmail, sex, and all those other goodies that make for great crime stories.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Along with Hammett, Cain and Chandler, Ross Macdonald is a pioneer of the literate mystery novel.
In "The Chill" (written in 1963), Lew Archer has a missing persons case that... Read more
I picked this book up from a friend. My edition was copyrighted in 1963. This is a great pure mystery. Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2002
I picked this book up from a friend. My edition was copyrighted in 1963. This is a great pure mystery. Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2002 by Tina
Moody, creepy, complex, and sad, this is MacDonald's best book. I think its as good as Chandler (and that is very good indeed). Read morePublished on Feb. 12 2002 by Ken Braithwaite
The surprise with this novel was not only the ending, it was MacDonald's way with adjectives and description. Read morePublished on Sept. 12 2001 by E. Tobias
This is one novel that, although devoid of any real action scenes, comes together in a tightly wrapped package that leaves the reader dangling until the very last few pages. Read morePublished on Feb. 9 2001 by horseplaypublishing
Ross Macdonald could flat out write. His style is at times very 'Chandleresque', (he really enjoyed Chandler's books)but he brings something else to this story that even the... Read morePublished on Aug. 24 2000 by John J. Raspanti
Reading Ross MacDonald is a voyage into the past. His work is evocative of bygone eras and landscapes, and even on initial publication there was something decidedly old-fashioned... Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2000
Not a good read. Lacks any suspense or thrills. I know this is supposedly "vintage" but I have read alot of vintage with real character development and thrills both. Read morePublished on Sept. 2 1999