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The Ivory Grin Mass Market Paperback – Aug 1 1988

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (Aug. 1 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553273523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553273526
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.4 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,664,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Macdonald's spare, controlled narration, built for action and speed, conveys the world through which the action moves and gives it meaning, [bringing] scene and character, however swiftly, before the eye without a blur.”—Eudora Welty, The New York Times Book Review"Archer-Macdonald are working together at their peak, piecing together a most modern American tragedy, making literature out of the thriller form, gazing more clearly the ever into the future as it rolls through the smog.” —Newsweek“Ross Macdonald must be ranked high amongst American thriller-writers.”—Times Literary Supplement --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ross Macdonald's real name was Kenneth Millar. Born near San Francisco in 1915 and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Millar returned to the U.S. as a young man and published his first novel in 1944. He served as the president of the Mystery Writers of America and was awarded their Grand Master Award as well as the Mystery Writers of Great Britain's Silver Dagger Award. He died in 1983. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on Feb. 23 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
the cynical private eye is at his usual get-under-your-skin and you wonder what makes lew archer the most intriguing yet lovable character of mystery books
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa4f926f0) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa46753b4) out of 5 stars As current a mystery as you would want Aug. 1 2007
By Armchair Interviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer is one of the most famous characters in all of detective fiction, and The Ivory Grin quickly shows the reader why. Archer is hired by the archetypal mystery client who won't tell him anything about herself, to find a young woman she won't tell him much about either. Archer knows from the first moments that he is being conned, but he's both a little short on cash and a romantic at heart, and he just can't resist the challenge that goes with the $100.

If you're afraid that a novel written and first published in 1952 will seem dated, you'll be both right and completely wrong. Of course, the clothes, cars, telephones, and even some of the geography no longer apply, but the motives and deception, the danger and the twists and turns of a first-rate detective novel are timeless. Macdonald carries it all off with a flair and a high sense of style that have kept his novels in print and his readers wishing he could have lived and written forever. When he died in 1983, Macdonald - a pseudonym for Kenneth Millar - left behind what critic William Goldman called "the finest series of detective novels ever written by an American author."

Archer has a dry wit and no overly developed sense of his own importance. His observations of his clients, his surroundings, and the events he becomes part of are smart and wise. In this novel, Archer starts out in his hard-boiled detective office, but spends little time there as he travels between Los Angeles and one of those hot and dusty inland California towns where his clients and the people they're seeking always seem to end up. He runs up against desperate people, motivated by greed and unloosed from whatever moral compass they may have started with long ago in some other existence. He struggles at each point to see who might be on the right side of things, and in almost every case he is disappointed. In The Ivory Grin, there are no heroes, except perhaps Lew Archer himself, and he lays no claim to that title.

Armchair Interviews says, "If you're looking for a detective, a story, and a writer that won't disappoint you, pick up Ross Macdonald's The Ivory Grin--and then prepare to rush out for more."
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa45190a8) out of 5 stars Really good. June 27 2006
By Michael G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this early (1952) Lew Archer mystery, author Ross Macdonald does a great job of storytelling. The descriptive passages are original and highly evocative, the dialogue is first rate and the intricate plotting is very compelling. Macdonald introduces a number of interesting, realistically crafted characters from many different walks of life and masterfully weaves their individual stories together to create a literary tapestry that is quite satisfying.

The Ivory Grin is a remarkable example of detective fiction. Its two greatest strengths are the vividness with which the characters are drawn and the precision with which the multiple plot threads blend together. Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7e0e270) out of 5 stars Obsession or Love Aug. 28 2010
By Nash Black - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
THE IVORY GRIN demonstrates the creative power of Ross MacDonald. Lew Archer is hired to find a mysterious young woman by an equally mysterious older woman. Soon after Archer finds her in a sleazy motel the young woman is murdered and an innocent young man flees the scene. The police want a quick wrap up to a crime, which they see as love gone wrong.
For Archer there are too many loose threads, which unravel to no end. This novel written in 1952 still has the power to enthrall sixty years later. Detective fiction at its classic best.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists WRITING AS A SMALL BUSINESS and HAINTS.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa46750c0) out of 5 stars The Ivory Grin Jan. 23 2010
By John Gill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First published in 1952, The Ivory Grin, remains a classic of crime fiction. MacDonald's Lew Archer is a private investigator working with a post WWII cast of characters as weird as strawberry flavoured onions. Lew's client is less than frank. The young suspect, passing as white, soon becomes a victim. There is an odd tie in to another missing person case and then a spate of murders. Lew puts the jigsaw together, tracking towards a big reward, but with a host of hostile parties to negotiate. In my view a great read, but I'm damned if I can understand the relevance of the title.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4d1415c) out of 5 stars Satisfying but not superlative May 8 2015
By Allen Smalling - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This 1952 Lew Archer detective novel by Ross Macdonald is suspenseful and unfolds in the space of two days. Even for a work this early, the settings (exurban and small-town California) and concerns (which include racism, class conflict and mental illness) are hallmarks of Macdonald. The crisp pacing is satisfying, but frequently new characters are introduced -- and old ones reappear -- in too metronomic a fashion. Sometimes the tough-guy similes -- "His uncombed hair was a fringe of withering grass around the pink desert of his scalp"; "Lights shone like wit in a dowager behind the windows of the Palladian villa" betray an overreliance on the Raymond Chandler approach that Macdonald would move away from later in the decade. THE IVORY GRIN is a good book, but there are better to come.

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