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The Ivory Grin [Mass Market Paperback]

Ross Macdonald
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Aug. 1 1988
Private eye Lew Archer is hired by the rudest woman he has ever met to find a girl. This he does, but unfortunatley she has just had her throat cut, and then to complicate matters, his client disappears. Other work by the author includes "The Blue Hammer" and "The Moving Target".
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

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“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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Customer Reviews

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ross grins again Feb. 23 2000
By A Customer
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 (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As current a mystery as you would want Aug. 1 2007
By Armchair Interviews - Published on
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good. June 27 2006
By Michael G. - Published on
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obsession or Love Aug. 28 2010
By Nash Black - Published on
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You can't stand the human idea." Sept. 28 2008
By frumiousb - Published on
The Ivory Grin (also published under the title Marked for Murder) was the fourth Lew Archer novel and was released in 1952. It's classic hard-boiled territory-- a dubious case, a lying client, a need for cash, and a vicious murder. Lew Archer gets a taste what men will do for love in a town where it seems like anything goes.

Macdonald is one of my favorite of the hard-boiled writers, and The Ivory Grin is an exceptionally good example of the Archer books. It may not stack up against the absolute best in the series (so far, my favorite is the 1st-- The Moving Target) but is still a fine fine book.

Recommended. Particularly for fans of the genre.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ivory Grin Jan. 23 2010
By John Gill - Published on
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.
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