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The Scarlet Ruse [Mass Market Paperback]

John D. MacDonald
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 9 1996
Travis McGee is too busy with his houseboat to pay attention to the little old man with the missing postage stamps. Except these are no ordinary stamps. They are rare stamps. Four hundred thousand dollars worth of rare. And if McGee doesn't recognize their value, perhaps Mary Alice McDermit does, a six-foot knockout who knows all the ways to a boat bum's heart. Only it's not McGee's heart that's in danger. Because a syndicate killer has put a contract on McGee. A killer who knows something about stamps . . . and even more about McGee.

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Praise for John D. MacDonald and the Travis McGee novels
The great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller.”—Stephen King
“My favorite novelist of all time . . . All I ever wanted was to touch readers as powerfully as John D. MacDonald touched me. No price could be placed on the enormous pleasure that his books have given me. He captured the mood and the spirit of his times more accurately, more hauntingly, than any ‘literature’ writer—yet managed always to tell a thunderingly good, intensely suspenseful tale.”—Dean Koontz
“To diggers a thousand years from now, the works of John D. MacDonald would be a treasure on the order of the tomb of Tutankhamen.”—Kurt Vonnegut
“A master storyteller, a masterful suspense writer . . . John D. MacDonald is a shining example for all of us in the field. Talk about the best.”—Mary Higgins Clark
“A dominant influence on writers crafting the continuing series character . . . I envy the generation of readers just discovering Travis McGee, and count myself among the many readers savoring his adventures again.”—Sue Grafton
“One of the great sagas in American fiction.”—Robert B. Parker
“Most readers loved MacDonald’s work because he told a rip-roaring yarn. I loved it because he was the first modern writer to nail Florida dead-center, to capture all its languid sleaze, racy sense of promise, and breath-grabbing beauty.”—Carl Hiaasen
“The consummate pro, a master storyteller and witty observer . . . John D. MacDonald created a staggering quantity of wonderful books, each rich with characterization, suspense, and an almost intoxicating sense of place. The Travis McGee novels are among the finest works of fiction ever penned by an American author and they retain a remarkable sense of freshness.”—Jonathan Kellerman
“What a joy that these timeless and treasured novels are available again.”—Ed McBain
“Travis McGee is the last of the great knights-errant: honorable, sensual, skillful, and tough. I can’t think of anyone who has replaced him. I can’t think of anyone who would dare.”—Donald Westlake
“There’s only one thing as good as reading a John D. MacDonald novel: reading it again. A writer way ahead of his time, his Travis McGee books are as entertaining, insightful, and suspenseful today as the moment I first read them. He is the all-time master of the American mystery novel.”—John Saul

About the Author

John D. MacDonald was an American novelist and short-story writer. His works include the Travis McGee series and the novel The Executioners, which was adapted into the film Cape Fear. In 1962 MacDonald was named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America; in 1980, he won a National Book Award. In print he delighted in smashing the bad guys, deflating the pompous, and exposing the venal. In life, he was a truly empathetic man; his friends, family, and colleagues found him to be loyal, generous, and practical. In business, he was fastidiously ethical. About being a writer, he once expressed with gleeful astonishment, “They pay me to do this! They don’t realize, I would pay them.” He spent the later part of his life in Florida with his wife and son. He died in 1986.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Of stamps, women, and introspection. July 2 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Travis McGee embarks on another of his trademark "salvage" missions involving a fortune in missing rare stamps. McGee's ruminations on people, relationships, human aspirations, money, politics, etc. are amusing social commentary, albeit thirty years later. Some of the observations of life in the '70s seem dated, but not enough to matter. Beyond this slight quibble, there is the vicious killer, and the complex mystery of the missing stamps. In addition, we have Mary Alice McDermit, a dark-haired giant of a woman with a healthy sex-drive and a troubled past. The lovable Meyer is present, still pontificating on economics and human foibles. As mystery-suspense novels go, the Travis McGee series is a perennial favorite. John D. MacDonald stresses introspection and character development rather than blood and thunder action. The typical Florida setting is exotic. Altogether, good lightweight reading material for summer vacations or anytime. ;-)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Better than buttered popcorn! Dec 17 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Number fourteen in the Travis McGee series, and I continue to devour the things like they were popcorn, even though I want to slow down and examine how MacDonald can be so amazingly readable page after page. Maybe a MacDonald novel is like light in that famous physics conundrum (Michaelson-Morley?)--to define light, one must "stop" it in its tracks, and then it isn't light anymore, i.e. the observation of it affects it.
This time McGee is trying to recover some stamps that have gotten switched for cheaper versions. Along the way McGee makes his typical observations about life and politics, adds a few more scars to his battered body, and becomes a little wiser.
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3.0 out of 5 stars After the Fall April 8 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A more pessimistic MacDonald (and McGee) emerges after a writing hiatus of some years. The difference between earlier McGee stories and the 'new' series beginning with Scarlet Ruse is palpable to the devoted fan but not necessarily objectionable: McGee is growing older and so are we; not simply closer to the bone now (McDonald could always take us there) but closer to the end. Yet McDonald's exploration of a free life amidst its war with self and the criminal mind still entertains and instructs. We are not through yet and neither is our favorite beach-bum. See you in Lauderdale.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A McGee of a different color Sept. 8 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This reads like an excellent MacDonald suspense novel. You know, those stories he wrote before McGee where a bunch of nasty characters get caught in some nefarious scheme. But it's subpar McGee. It's like MacDonald Started one type of novel and finished with another. Don't get me wrong, if McGee and Meyer had been replaced by characters named Joe Smith and Fred Jones, it would have been great. It just ain't McGee.
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