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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

“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)

What listeners say about The Galton Case

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  • Overall
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Dances down the same streets as Hammett & Chandler

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.

13 people found this helpful

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Great writing, this guy was the best

Better than Chandler, I think. Ross MacDonald writes beautifully. Funny and smart. Grover Gardner also one of the best.

1 person found this helpful

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The Galton Gambit

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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The Galton Case---Lew Archer Still EXCELLENT

Ross Macdonald still has it after 61 years! His storytelling is excellent, his characters as fresh as when this Thriller was published in 1959! Grover Gardner made this work come alive. Sadly, when I read current detective books, I'm afraid they will lack comparison. Read Ross's brilliant words or listen to Grover's magnificent voice, you'll be moved!

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Fast and entertaining

Enjoyable noir that has lots of twists before the End. One of Macdonalds best with great dialogue and interesting characters.

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A Hardboiled Gem

Grover Gardner’s gruff and gritty baritone made me believe I was listening to Lew Archer himself narrate the twists and turns that make The Galton Case an incredibly entertaining audio book venture. Ross Macdonald’s hardboiled prose creates an ideal fit with Gardner’s deadpan delivery, and while the “big reveal” was not as big as I’d hoped, the manner by which the details leading to the solution of The Galton Case unfold testify to Macdonald’s well-deserved reputation as one of Raymond Chandler’s most gifted disciples.

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Enjoyable Archer Yarn

The Galton Case was one of the first Lew Archer stories I read when I was young. It's aged well. This was thoroughly enjoyable. I don't think there's anything that Grover Gardner can't read well. From Robert Caro to William Shirer to Ross MacDonald, I've enjoyed his narrations very much.