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Meet Me at the Morgue Paperback – December 7, 2010
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“[The] American private eye, immortalized by Hammett, refined by Chandler, brought to its zenith by Macdonald.” —New York Times Book Review
“Macdonald should not be limited in audience to connoisseurs of mystery fiction. He is one of a handful of writers in the genre whose worth and quality surpass the limitations of the form.” —Los Angeles Times
“Most mystery writers merely write about crime. Ross Macdonald writes about sin.” —The Atlantic
“Without in the least abating my admiration for Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, I should like to venture the heretical suggestion that Ross Macdonald is a better novelist than either of them.” —Anthony Boucher
“[Macdonald] carried form and style about as far as they would go, writing classic family tragedies in the guise of private detective mysteries.” —The Guardian (London)
“[Ross Macdonald] gives to the detective story that accent of class that the late Raymond Chandler did.” —Chicago Tribune
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Ross Macdonald is top shelf when it comes to detective fiction. Unfortunately, he is sometimes overshadowed and overlooked by more popular Hardboiled mystery writers like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett . Zebra-Striped Hearse was the first Ross Macdonald book I ever read and I've been hooked ever since.
Meet Me at the Morgue is a pager-turner and continuously challenges the reader and seldom disappoints. Unlike Macdonald's other work, Detective Lew Archer, the main PI of his books, is absent (also in The Ferguson Affair). However, the plot and characters are still equally engaging. In this case, Howard Cross is the main character. He is a County Probation Officer. The crime: Kidnapping. The victim: a four-year old kid. Ransom: $50,000. (hey, the book was published in 1953). By the time this crime is solved four murders will stack up in the Southland.
The mastery of Macdonald's storytelling is that he can spin a yarn in 184 terse and tight pages and pacing that take most writers triple the amount of pages that often results in a turgid plot.
Memorable line: "You never can tell about these private operators. The dirt they work in is always rubbing off on them."
Great retro-cover of PCH and the Mailbu coast from Vintage. One critique: The editor should keep the original "Cast of Characters" like in the Bantam pocketbook editions of yesteryear that was typical of pulps. Multiple characters are introduced and it provides a good reference for the reader.
Read Ross Macdonald once and you'll return to him years later again and again...
When Fred Miner, a chauffeur, disappears with his employer's four year-old son, he hasn't been acting like a criminal, although something has clearly made him nervous. When a ransom note arrives, clearly mailed before the disappearance, no one is above suspicion.
This book had a nice atmosphere- more midnight blue than out-and-out noir. Macdonald was straining to break the bounds of the detective novel formula, and writing this standalone probably led him to see possibilities which he made actual when he returned to Lew Archer
If you like Chandler you will like McDonald.
Southern Ca. locales, taking place in the late 40's and 50's, complex plots revolving around the past and dysfunctional families, and best of all no technology, just humans doing human things.
Very old fashioned in the best of all ways.