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Possibly, the ultimate Ross Macdonald novel
on July 7, 2003
Fairly new to Ross MacDonald, I am finding his books superb dramatic novels told as mysteries...the pieces of the poignant story are given to you jigsaw style, but you still experience the power of the story as they are pieced together. Lew Archer's role is that of the puzzle solver, and you are not as involved with him and his character development as you are with the characters.
This is possibly his most satisfying story and like most of the other reviewers, I choose to let you discover the story for yourself. If you have read previous MacDonald, you may spot elements of the story before they're completely revealed, but this hardly will diminish your enjoyment of the book. It might even enhance it. There's much more of interest here than just the identity of the murderer. There's a lot of figuring out the essences of the people involved, and they do act consistently.
There is one minor stretch of credibility in this particular book, one rather unlikely coincidence, but it's a realistic coincidence, one which fits nicely as one of the coincidences that do occur in real life and does not seem like the author's contrivance.
I don't think it makes any appreciable difference whether or not you've read any other MacDonald works or not. This will read well as the first one or the later one.
One of the great mystery novels, for sure.