Ross MacDonald
  • Author : Tom Nolan
  • Release Date : 07 July 2015
  • Publisher : Simon and Schuster
  • Genre : Biography & Autobiography
  • Pages : 496
  • ISBN 13 : 9781501120442
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Book excerpt: When he died in 1983, Ross Macdonald was the best-known and most highly regarded crime-fiction writer in America. Long considered the rightful successor to the mantles of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald and his Lew Archer-novels were hailed by The New York Times as "the finest series of detective novels ever written by an American." Now, in the first full-length biography of this extraordinary and influential writer, a much fuller picture emerges of a man to whom hiding things came as second nature. While it was no secret that Ross Macdonald was the pseudonym of Kenneth Millar -- a Santa Barbara man married to another good mystery writer, Margaret Millar -- his official biography was spare. Drawing on unrestricted access to the Kenneth and Margaret Millar Archives, on more than forty years of correspondence, and on hundreds of interviews with those who knew Millar well, author Tom Nolan has done a masterful job of filling in the blanks between the psychologically complex novels and the author's life -- both secret and overt. Ross Macdonald came to crime-writing honestly. Born in northern California to Canadian parents, Kenneth Millar grew up in Ontario virtually fatherless, poor, and with a mother whose mental stability was very much in question. From the age of twelve, young Millar was fighting, stealing, and breaking social and moral laws; by his own admission, he barely escaped being a criminal. Years later, Millar would come to see himself in his tales' wrongdoers. "I don't have to be violent," he said, "My books are." How this troubled young man came to be one of the most brilliant graduate students in the history of the University of Michigan and how this writer, who excelled in a genre all too often looked down upon by literary critics, came to have a lifelong friendship with Eudora Welty are all examined in the pages of Tom Nolan's meticulous biography. We come to a sympathetic understanding of the Millars' long, and sometimes rancorous, marriage and of their life in Santa Barbara, California, with their only daughter, Linda, whose legal and emotional traumas lie at the very heart of the story. But we also follow the trajectory of a literary career that began in the pages of Manhunt and ended with the great respect of such fellow writers as Marshall McLuhan, Hugh Kenner, Nelson Algren, and Reynolds Price, and the longtime distinguished publisher Alfred A. Knopf. As Ross Macdonald: A Biography makes abundantly clear, Ross Macdonald's greatest character -- above and beyond his famous Lew Archer -- was none other than his creator, Kenneth Millar.

Ross MacDonald

Ross MacDonald

Author : Tom Nolan
Publisher : Simon and Schuster
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
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When he died in 1983, Ross Macdonald was the best-known and most highly regarded crime-fiction writer in America. Long considered the rightful successor to the mantles of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald and his Lew Archer-novels were hailed by The New York Times as "the finest series of detective ...

Trouble Follows Me

Trouble Follows Me

Author : Ross Macdonald
Publisher : Open Road Media
Genre : Fiction
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In the last days of World War II, a sailor discovers a transcontinental conspiracy in this classic from “the greatest mystery novelist of his age” (John Connolly, author of Every Dead Thing). It is February 1945, and the war in the Pacific is nearing its climax. In Hawaii on his way ...

The Moving Target

The Moving Target

Author : Ross Macdonald
Publisher : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Genre : Fiction
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The first book in Ross Macdonald's acclaimed Lew Archer series introduces the detective who redefined the role of the American private eye and gave the crime novel a psychological depth and moral complexity only hinted at before. Like many Southern California millionaires, Ralph Sampson keeps odd company. There's the sun-worshipping ...

The Galton Case

The Galton Case

Author : Ross Macdonald
Publisher : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Genre : Fiction
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Lew Archer returns in this gripping mystery, widely recognized as one of acclaimed mystery writer Ross Macdonald's very best, about the search for the long lost heir of the wealthy Galton family. Almost twenty years have passed since Anthony Galton disappeared, along with a suspiciously streetwise bride and several thousand ...

Black Money

Black Money

Author : Ross Macdonald
Publisher : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Genre : Fiction
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When Lew Archer is hired to get the goods on the suspiciously suave Frenchman who's run off with his client's girlfriend, it looks like a simple case of alienated affections. Things look different when the mysterious foreigner turns out to be connected to a seven-year-old suicide and a mountain of ...

The Drowning Pool

The Drowning Pool

Author : Ross Macdonald
Publisher : Taylor & Francis
Genre : Fiction
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Out of print since 1988, here is a classic Lew Archer thriller by Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Ross Macdonald. When an iron-willed matriarch with an oil field in her backyard is found floating in the pool, Lew Archer ventures into the bizarre world of her family. Previous publisher: Bantam. ...

The Chill

The Chill

Author : Ross Macdonald
Publisher : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Genre : Fiction
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In The Chill a distraught young man hires private investigator Lew Archer to track down his runaway bride. But no sooner has he found Dolly Kincaid than Archer finds himself entangled in two murders, one twenty years old, the other so recent that the blood is still wet. What ensues ...

The Way Some People Die

The Way Some People Die

Author : Ross Macdonald
Publisher : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Genre : Fiction
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In a rundown house in Santa Monica, Mrs. Samuel Lawrence presses fifty crumpled bills into Lew Archer's hand and asks him to find her wandering daughter, Galatea. Described as ‘crazy for men’ and without discrimination, she was last seen driving off with small-time gangster Joe Tarantine, a hophead hood with ...

The Underground Man

The Underground Man

Author : Ross Macdonald
Publisher : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Genre : Fiction
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While a mysterious fire ravages an affluent community in Southern California, Lew Archer searches for a missing child and discovers a secret history of wayward parents, wounded offspring, and murder. Reprint. 12,500 first printing....

The Ivory Grin

The Ivory Grin

Author : Ross Macdonald
Publisher : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Genre : Fiction
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Traveling from sleazy motels to stately seaside manors, The Ivory Grin is one of Lew Archer's most violent and macabre cases ever. A hard-faced woman clad in a blue mink stole and dripping with diamonds hires Lew Archer to track down her former maid, who she claims has stolen her ...

The Ferguson Affair

The Ferguson Affair

Author : Ross Macdonald
Publisher : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Genre : Fiction
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It was a long way from the million-dollar Foothill Club to Pelly Street, where grudges were settled in blood and Spanish and a stolen diamond ring landed a girl in jail. Defense lawyer Bill Gunnarson was making the trip—fast. He already knew a kidnapping at the club was tied ...

The Drowning Pool

The Drowning Pool

Author : Ross Macdonald
Publisher : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Genre : Fiction
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When a millionaire matriarch is found floating face down in the family pool, the prime suspects are her good-for-nothing son and his seductive teenage daughter. In The Drowning Pool, Lew Archer takes this case in the L.A. suburbs and encounters a moral wasteland of corporate greed and family hatred—...

The Three Roads

The Three Roads

Author : Ross MacDonald
Publisher : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Genre : Fiction
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"[Ross Macdonald] gives to the detective story that accent of class that the late Raymond Chandler did."---Chicago Tribune --Book Jacket....

The Far Side of the Dollar

The Far Side of the Dollar

Author : Ross Macdonald
Publisher : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Genre : Fiction
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In The Far Side of the Dollar, private investigator Lew Archer is looking for an unstable rich kid who has run away from an exclusive reform school—and into the arms of kidnappers. Why are his desperate parents so loath to give Archer the information he needs to find him? ...