I just this minute finished Ross Macdonald's "The Zebra-Striped Hearse," a book that made me want to hide under my desk at work, George Costanza style, so I could finish it, that's how gripping it was. Macdonald's one of the big three kahunas of the hardboiled detective novel -- along with Chandler and Hammett -- and his detective,
Lew Archer, is a paradigmatic figure. I immensely enjoyed all the twists and turns the novel had to offer (a lot of ins, a lot of outs) and I like the way Macdonald handles coincidence in this one -- it's just enough to string you along but stops a hair's breadth short of far-fetched. I'd like to read more books in the series; fortunately, or unfortunately depending on where you're sitting, there are twenty-odd books in the series, meaning I'll soon need to deploy a small army of spinsters to help me read.
Incidentally, I just found out there's a book called "Maigret and the Spinster," which I can't wait to read of course. Oh, and I found out that Macdonald's fictional name for Santa Barbara was "Santa Teresa," which is what Sue Grafton calls the town in her Kinsey Milhone books (this pleases me). I'm full of wonderment today.
In any case, I hope the next one I read is also a vintage copy (my "Zebra-Striped Hearse" was a first edition if that means anything) because they're so delightfully smelly and this one came with a great publisher's note:
"Like Chandler and Hammett before him, Ross Macdonald writes for the general literate public. That mystery fans also like his work is all to the good."