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Publisher's Summary

Travis McGee is too busy with his houseboat to pay attention to the little old man with the missing postage stamps. Except these are no ordinary stamps. They are rare stamps. Four hundred thousand dollars worth of rare. And if McGee doesn't recognize their value, perhaps Mary Alice McDermit, a six-foot knockout who knows all the ways to a boat bum's heart, will. Only it's not McGee's heart that's in danger. Because a syndicate killer has put a contract on McGee. A killer who knows a thing or two about stamps...and even more about McGee.

©1973 John D. MacDonald Publishing, Inc. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

This Is Not Great Literature, BUT..........

JDM's McGee books are all essentially cookie-cutter versions of one another. But thay are all tremendously entertaining and as readable as books come. The difference, what makes MacDonald great, is that each one is as interesting as the last, on and on and on. Unlike the Child/Reacher series that has gone blasé and predictable to a fault, the McGee adventures never fail to entertain and enlighten.
These books are not as politically correct as most are today (so as not to offend our tender sensibilities) but frankly I don't give a damn. It is intelligent testosterone with a big spash of philosophy. I love them all.

And Robert Petkoff IS Travis and Meyer and the rest. Possibly the premier match between pen and voice to date!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 12-15-17

McGee Collects Stamps

"It's always better when you don't have to give a damn."
- John D. MacDonald, The Scarlet Ruse

If Philatelic Beach Noir is your gig, this book is for you. I guess in the age (1972) before block chain technology and Bitcoins, stamps seem a very likely avenue for moving large amounts of money from one country to the next. MacDonald flushes this idea out and weaves into it: the Mob, women, and Meyer (a trusty economist friend). MacDonald is hanging out in Florida, which usually is my favorite setting for the owner of the Busted Flush.

The plot is interesting and novel, the characters are round, and MacDonald nails the details. I enjoyed it and don't remember being too turned off by MacDonald's usual treatment of women.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A fun book

I first read most of John D McDonald's novels at first printing. This book was a fun read then. Today, I listened to the audio version and enjoyed it for some of the same reasons, but I found any references to cost, technology, and the relative values of the time most interesting. To say I was impressed with the plot/story line, writing today as much as I did in the 60's would be misleading. JOHN D. just doesn't match up to current mystery writers like Vince Flynn, Tom Clancy, or even Clive Cussler. However, this is still a fun read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Friends help move, great friends help move bodies!

Starts off slow, but builds to a VERY powerful climax. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about stamp collecting, but it was worth the trip. It starts off as sort of a "locked room mystery," but soon turns into thrill ride through organized crime and psychopathic killers. The end left me wondering how in the Hell Travis is going to survive seven more books! Not my favorite overall, but this one has a lot going for it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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best of all

love the series and this one was a favorite, quaint and charming in a retro way

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forever entertaining

Would you consider the audio edition of The Scarlet Ruse to be better than the print version?

i would not know since i never read the print edition. what a wasted question.

What did you like best about this story?

the reader. as much as i love JDM - what a great job he did. pitch perfect.

Which scene was your favorite?

i liked the first scene (s) the best because they were ' fresh '. any story, how well written tends to get ' stale ' after a while. at the beginning of a story the characters are new. the plot is first being put together. the reader is just getting a feel for how the author writes.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

mr. macdonald does it again. more mystory. more suspense. more implied sex. more violence.
more terrific story telling.

Any additional comments?

yes. the first fiction book that i ever read. maybe 60 years ago. was a travis mcgee novel by john d. macdonald. and now at 74 for the first time i ' listened' to another travis mcgee novel !
what a wonderful way to ' bookend ' my life. of cause i am not finished with JDM as yet - any more then i am not finished with my life, as yet.

  • Overall
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Mediocre and Convoluted

A story about a sociopath who steals a small fortune in, of all things, stamps. Travis begins his investigation and a woman working in the shop is killed. McGee then meets her father-in-law Major General Samuel Horace Lawson who is one of the best characters in this book and provides for an upbeat chapter. One of the weaknesses of a few of the lesser McGee novels is MacDonald's attempts to substitute plot twists for a solid story. This one does so in several places and McGee's poor choice in selecting a girlfriend in this novel doesn't do much to strengthen the story. One of the low points of the middle books in the series is the increasing presence of McGee's friend Meyer without a suitable role for him in them. Unlike the better works in which he's featured i.e. Pale Gray for Guilt or Dress her in Indigo Meyer seems to lack a real role in the narrative. Maybe this story would have been smoother had his part in it either been diminished or defined in a better way. Finally the ending of this one in which a woman from a previous book serves herself up to McGee on a platter to him. It's a regular theme of MacDonald's that good women sacrifice for men. This particular woman does, even though her reason for doing is unclear. All in all this is one of the 2 or 3 weakest of the 21 McGee mysteries.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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a little convoluted but ultimately fulfilling end.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I like the small number of people in story...as it is easier to 'keep track of characters" when listening.

What other book might you compare The Scarlet Ruse to and why?

i can only compare to authors other books because his writing style is one of my favorites.
Continues to include some of same characters in other books, like old friends...

Which character – as performed by Robert Petkoff – was your favorite?

I do like his performance....but I must admit I still think of main character as performed by Darin Mc Gavin in many past books. Just part of my memories....

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not extreme but sort of shocked at extent of main characters injuries..

Any additional comments?

Love the name of his houseboat--"Busted Flush"--won it in a high stakes poker game..

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Good Book with mild performance shortcomings.

This would be a four or five star rating if rated as a traditional book. The single problem is that the book is written in the first person and the narrator just does not sound, in my opinion, like you would expect McGee to sound. Nothing wrong with his voice, but the emphasis, phrasing, etc. just does not seem to be McGee.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful