The short stories are lacking in language and details, while the second half of the book, which contain never-used opening chapters, are a tease to something never realized. Still worth it for the fans, thought. Feb 24, John rated it it was amazing. Gets five stars not because of the quality of the stories, per se.
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The first several are pretty bad actually. This collection of Ross Macdonald's stories is a showcase of how great and literary a writer he was. Included at the end of the book are a number of tantalizing sketches of books or stories he left unfinished when he died.
I would have liked to have seen where he took quite a few of them.
Apr 18, Daniel rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery , collection. A good collection of short stories by Macdonald, written between the late 40s and mid 60s. The last 60 pages consists of eleven fragments or unfinished stories found among his papers. A much more decent collection of short stories than I was expecting.
Raymond Chandler he ain't. The writing has little flair, and the occasional use of an esoteric or comlex word seems self-conscious on the part of the writer. The actual mysteries are fairly edestrain and solvable, but these aren't whodunnits in the Agatha Christie Mallowan sense.
Nor do they have realism of Dashiell Hammett. They do have some sense of a more modern Los Angeles than Chander wrote about. The editor does an excellent job of gathering all the data from the stories into a oherent biography of lew Raymond Chandler he ain't.
The editor does an excellent job of gathering all the data from the stories into a oherent biography of lew Archer, so that's interesting. The sort of thing you can't do for either Marlowe or Spade. It's testament to William Goldman 's ability as a screenwriter that he wa able to take the character and one novel and get such a good movie as Harper out of them. The final piece in this book "Winnipeg " is actually pretty god and moving and I do wonder what McDonalds might have been if he had steered away from detective fiction and swum more in the mainstream.
May 19, Jim Davis rated it liked it. Very disappointing, but not because the stories weren't very good. Unfortunately I found that I had read most of these stories at some time in the past. I still reread them anyway and enjoyed them the second time around.
MacDonald has often been compared to Raymond Chandler and I can see the similarity more in the short story form than in MacDonald's novels. If you like one you are sure to like the other. Both writers are known for their visual imagery and use of metaphor although I have to give Very disappointing, but not because the stories weren't very good. Both writers are known for their visual imagery and use of metaphor although I have to give Chandler the edge here.
His use of language was amazing. MacDonald occasionally tried too hard and stumbled over some awkward similes and unclear figures of speech. But I give MacDonald the edge on plotting. I sometimes found Chandler's plots to be a little meandering but the wonderful characters and Marlowe himself made up for any lapses there. MacDonald's plots are clear and drive the stories from start to finish no matter how many elements are included. The 12 stories here cover the years from to and give a good view of Archer's evolution over the same period.
Tom Nolan wrote a biography of Ross MacDonald and provides many interesting insights in his introduction. I was having trouble deciding whether to give this 3 or 4 stars. There were a few 4 star stories plus the introduction but there were more 3 star stories so it works out to around 3. Jul 08, Ethan rated it really liked it.
This collection of short stories was my first encounter with Macdonald, and I'm looking forward to digging into the novels. I don't mean to damn with faint praise by saying Macdonald is absolutely first-rate second-rate Chandler, but that's the most succinct observation I can make. Macdonald's own voice does come through - if anything it's a little more general, less specific than Chandler's - but on the whole, the it's the vibe of the hard-bitten PI observing a corrupt world and going a bit too This collection of short stories was my first encounter with Macdonald, and I'm looking forward to digging into the novels.
Macdonald's own voice does come through - if anything it's a little more general, less specific than Chandler's - but on the whole, the it's the vibe of the hard-bitten PI observing a corrupt world and going a bit too far out of his way to make it better. Though there's an omnipresent post-war Los Angeles backdrop, the city and the broader Southern California milieu are much less of a character than in Chandler's work.
I'm almost reminded of Asimov in the subtle timelessness of the writing - there are very few cues to specific locality or technology.
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My favorite part of this volume was the "Case Notes" - a collection of several quite polished beginnings of stories that MacDonald never fleshed out. Some of the best writing in the book, superb by any measure. If you're into this genre, Macdonald should be next on your list after Chandler and probably Hammett or after Cain and Thompson if you enjoy digging into the grittier, detailed unpleasantness of desperate people. I'm not yet familiar with the lengthier works, but I have to think these short stories would be a great and enjoyable introduction.
May 30, Roger rated it liked it. When I was in my mid twenties I decided to to stop reading science fiction and fantasy for a while. Macdonald's Lew Archer soon grew to be a favorite of mine. Archer is a slightly tarnished knight and private eye operating in Southern California. I devoured his adventures as fast as I could find them.
I was delighted to learn there were some previously uncollected and therefore unread by me stories featuring Archer in an anthology called logically enough The Archer Files. However I was surprised to find I did not enjoy these stories as much as I expected. I think the problem was that Archer is a character that does not "work" as well in the form of a short story as he does in a novel.
Lew needs room to spread out and he just does not get that here. So the stories never fully click even though they are still of interest. Unless you are a completist like me you can probably skip this one Constant Reader. Mar 11, Kate rated it really liked it Shelves: hardboiled. Yes, it's kind of the same story over and over again, but I really didn't care.
Your sister's in some kind of a jam. Is it sexual trouble she's in? In fact, the whole thing is cheesy. Time is what hangs heavy Dude. Time is what hangs heavy on my hands. I have my own definition.
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So, I assume, it's authentically cheesy. It's well aged cheese. Tangy and tasty. I'll stop now. Aug 26, Michael Fredette rated it really liked it. The edition from Vintage Crime Black Lizard expands this volume to over five hundred pages. The bulk of the text is thirteen Lew Archer stories and they are excellent, essential reading for fans of post-War i.
WW II detective fiction. In my view, though, MacDonald was served better by the medium of the full-length novel because of the scope of his plots. By his own admission, his stories "don't belong among my mature work.
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Lastly, there is an autobiographical fragment "Winnipeg, Aug 03, Riju Ganguly rated it it was amazing. A classic: that's the only way to describe this volume. Not only does it resurrect all the long-lost or hidden shorter works concerning Lew Archer, but it also helps us get a complete picture of the enigmatic man who could have been the last action hero in the style of the Continental Op, but remained a gentle narrator as well as a damn good detective till the end of the fascinating series penned by Ross Macdonald.
Highly recommended, not only to lovers of hard-boiled or detective stories, but a A classic: that's the only way to describe this volume.
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Highly recommended, not only to lovers of hard-boiled or detective stories, but also to any lover of sharp-smart- and yet -lyrical fiction. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Buy Online, Pick up in Store is currently unavailable, but this item may be available for in-store purchase.