Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday: Ross MacDonald, Creator of Lew Archer

Ross MacDonald (1915 - 1983), creator of one of my very favorite detectives in all fiction, the melancholy Lew Archer, was born today as Kenneth Millar. Often compared to Raymond Chandler, some think MacDonald was even better. Certainly he enlarged and furthered the cause of detective fiction and influenced many writers, among them Robert Parker, creator of the Spenser, Boston P.I. series. Today, to my mind, MacDonald remains as readable as ever. Fact is, I didn't discover Lew Archer until just a few years ago and, as usual, I went off on a binge - read as many Lew's as I could find in one fell swoop. Loved most every minute of it.
Thanks to the Thrilling Days of Yesteryear blog for the birthday scoop.

To see all of Ross MacDonald's book titles and read more about him, please go here: Fantastic Fiction.


  1. Like you, I didn't discover Ross MacDonald until sometime during the last decade, but then loved his work so much, I chased down all the Lew Archer mysteries. I'd rank him with Hammett and Chandler -- Hammett defined the conventions of modern detective fiction, and Chandler set the standard for quotable prose; MacDonald gave us, I don't know what I'd call it, psychological depth, maybe. But his work remains very modern in its feel.

  2. Mythical Monkey: Thanks for dropping by. Yes, I agree with your take on Lew Archer. Sometimes I think of him as the tragic figure in that Renaissance painting of the man tied to a stake with arrows sticking out all over his body. St. Somebody or other (Augustine?). Archer seems to absorb the pain of his clients and victims. In that he is very different from Hammett and Chandler's 'heroes'.

  3. I hadnt heard of McDonald - I really like detectives specially in series - P D James and Patricia Cornwell and Inspector Morse and Lynley both in the TV series but a melancholic detective. I am not too sure of that!!!

    Thank you for coming over.

  4. Mystica: Oh, these are wonderful private eye stories. Don't miss them. My favorite: THE GALTON CASE - but there are many, MANY terrific Lew Archer books. Once you read one, you won't be able to stop. ;)


Your comment will appear after I take a look.