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The Wycherly Woman Paperback – Mar 3 1998

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; Reprint edition (March 3 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375701443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375701443
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #74,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.


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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 17 1999
Format: Paperback
This is only the second book I have read by MacDonald but it certainly won't be the last. The plot and characterizations were both very strong. From what I have read so far, MacDonald compares very favorably with Hammett and Chandler. The thing that I probably like best about MacDonald is that his detective, Lew Archer, seems more like a real person than most of the detectives in this genre. He is tough, but he also shows some sensitivity and human emotion.
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Format: Paperback
This was my third Ross MacDonald/Lew Archer mystery and probably my last. As with all detective series type novels, they are starting to lose their luster. As a stand-alone mystery novel it is top-notch in both story and charactarization, although the plot wandered a bit. I don't have the deep insight provided by the previous reviewer, but I can say that if you like Chandler style LA Noir, this one is as good as it gets.
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Format: Paperback
Ross MacDonald is an accomplished mystery writer, but this novel, while entertaining, is the most contrived of his many books. It rests on a case of mistaken identity that could not possible have occured, given the ages of the two characters involved. Sadly, this novel offers the first sign that MacDonald was losing his great gifts as a writer.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d42b8a0) out of 5 stars 17 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d489438) out of 5 stars Very well done May 17 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is only the second book I have read by MacDonald but it certainly won't be the last. The plot and characterizations were both very strong. From what I have read so far, MacDonald compares very favorably with Hammett and Chandler. The thing that I probably like best about MacDonald is that his detective, Lew Archer, seems more like a real person than most of the detectives in this genre. He is tough, but he also shows some sensitivity and human emotion.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d4898a0) out of 5 stars One of his very best efforts. March 13 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This novel includes everything MacDonald is best known for: far-flung sagas of wealthy families, gritty portrayals of California's marginal sectors, memorable characters, moral dilemmas, and a twist-filled plot leading to an irresistable climax. Worth a try even if you don't like mysteries or detective novels
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d48981c) out of 5 stars Sad story...sad people...don't know why it works so well... Oct. 18 2008
By Mark Town - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I enjoy Ross Macdonald. I have probably read all the Archer books over the last twenty years. They fit a certain mood. I cannot explain why I like him so much, mostly that melancholy mood that he creates, I think. Archer is a good man, but not too good. The other characters in the books are almost all screw-ups who make their own trouble or are victimized by the trouble created by others. The world they inhabit is vacuous and headed no where good. Although written long before American decline gained the unstoppable momentum of the current moment, these novels seem to anticipate that decline and chronicle it as well. Sad American stories of how money cures almost nothing, despite our lust for it, and how what might actually make us happy is all the more elusive because we do not value it sufficiently until it is too late. The Wycherly Woman is not the best of the lot but not the weakest either. Time with it is far better spent then 98% of the other "mysteries" out there.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d489be8) out of 5 stars After one big step forward, two unconvincing steps back Aug. 30 2014
By Jay Dickson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although THE GALTON CASE represents Ross Macdonald's breakthrough where he really found his voice as a crime novelist, his next Lew Archer book, THE WYCHERLY WOMAN, was a genuine setback. It starts out like most of Macdonald's Archer novels do, with his detective hero called in by a wealthy Californian to solve family trouble, but instead of dwelling on the lives and the psychology of the wealthy (as THE GALTON CASE and his other later mature novels do), THE WYCHERLY WOMAN gets drawn instead into an unconvincing, vaguely Chandleresque world of wiretappers, blackmailers, and sleazy hotels. It has a murder plot that's much too complex (again showing the influence of Raymond Chandler) and some inauthentic dialogue among lowlifes, and it becomes very hard to care about the characters. And it's also very hard to see why Archer, who gets so easily impatient with his clients in all the other books, would ever stay on Homer Wycherly's payroll given how unbelievably secretive and witholding the millionaire is (at several points in the novel he would have certainly at least threatened to quit the case had he been written fully in character).

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?)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d489b94) out of 5 stars Fast paced, suspenseful. Jan. 9 2006
By Michael G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
College senior Phoebe Wycherly has gone missing and her wealthy father, California oilman Homer Wycherly is desperate to find her. So, he hires veteran PI Lew Archer to track her down. Most of the narrative unfolds in northern California, many miles away from Archer's home base in Los Angeles.

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.


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