The Wycherly Woman Paperback – Mar 3 1998
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From Library Journal
Published in 1949, 1961, and 1962, respectively, these three titles find gumshoe Lew Archer up to his neck in murder, kidnapping, and blackmailAjust another day at the office. This is hard-boiled detective writing at the top of its form.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It's not until his next novel, THE ZEBRA-STRIPED HEARSE, that Macdonald seemed confident in the new direction in which he was moving and assumed full control of his mature style. No Lew Archer novel is unreadable, but this is not one of Macdonald's strongest books, and shows few of his genuine strengths as a mystery writer. (And what is up with that cover?)
Reading The Wycherly Woman is a real joy because the plot, though complex, is smoothly laid out with each chapter logically leading to the next. Also contributing to this novel's enjoyment quotient is the smart and plentiful dialogue Macdonald provides his characters.
As Archer steadfastly pursues the facts behind Phoebe's disappearance, the suspense builds and builds. This has the effect of making The Wycherly Woman one of Ross Macdonald's most engaging mysteries. I do, however, have to deduct one star from the rating. The plot device on which the solution to the mystery rests, is based on one character assuming the identity of another with the use of a rather transparent form of disguise. Though one could believe that some might be fooled by this, Macdonald has structured the plot such that Archer himself is also taken in. And that goes against everything we know about the ace detective's ultra acute powers of observation, especially when it comes to "reading" people.
A flawed yet extremely well written example of hardboiled detective fiction.