In the character of Lew Archer, Ross Macdonald redefined the private eye as a roving conscience who walks the treacherous frontier between criminal guilt and human sin—and in so doing, gave the American crime novel a psychological depth and moral complexity that his predecessors had only hinted at. Deliciously devious and tersely poetic, The Galton Case displays Ross Macdonald at the pinnacle of his form.
Almost 20 years have passed since Anthony Galton disappeared, along with a suspiciously streetwise bride and several thousand dollars of his family’s fortune. Now Anthony’s aging and very rich mother wants him back and has hired Lew Archer to find him. What turns up is a headless skeleton, a boy who claims to be Galton’s son, and a con game whose stakes are so high that someone is still willing to kill for them.
More mayhem? Try our other Lew Archer mysteries.
©1959 Ross MacDonald, copyright renewed 1987 by Margaret Millar (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Exciting, beautifully plotted, and written with taste, perception and compassion.” (New York Times Book Review)
“A model of intelligently engineered excitement." (New Yorker)
“One of his best….The Macdonald depth of understanding and dispassionate charity come out well, and the story…is richly plotted.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
Ross Macdonald definitely dances down the same literary streets as Hammett and Chandler. This hardboiled detective novel, the 8th in the Lew Archer series, feels like it was written in one continuous sitting (that is a good thing).
'The Galton Case' has a naked narrative intensity that is well-supported by its witty dialogue and California Noir setting. Macdonald is one of those authors who is so spare and bare that it is hard NOT to be impressed by the clean, minimalist architecture of his writing. If Proust was edited by Hemingway, liked bad girls (well OK, sometimes Proust liked bad girls) and wrote hardboiled novels, he'd be Ross Macdonald.
This fascinating Lew Archer adventure features intriguing characterizations, compelling mystery, and our hero's usual mixture of intelligence, sardonic wit, and compassion. The story really does keep the reader guessing up to the very end. However, the denouement is rather muddled, so contrived as to seem forced, and actually somewhat implausible. As you may correctly conclude, I found the ending unsatisfying and disappointing...in its telling. This is too bad because I am a huge fan of Ross Macdonald's intrepid and relentless private detective Lewis Archer. I hope I have better luck with THE BLUE HAMMER. By the way, Grover Gardner's reading was superb!
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