The Underground Man by Ross MacDonald
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1971. Fifth printing. Hardcover. 272 pages ; 22 cm. With price clipped dust jacket. Owner name on flyleaf. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
The Underground Man is Ross Macdonald at his most brilliant and brilliantly exciting. It is his first new novel since the best-selling and widely acclaimed The Goodbye Look—and it may well be the finest novel in what The New York Times has called "the finest series of detective novels ever written by an American."
The Underground Man brings Macdonald's cool, pragmatic detective, Lew Archer, to a tragic fire that ravages a hillside community in Southern California. It enmeshes him in the lives of a group of troubled people searching for happy endings but fatally entangled in a web of murder and extortion stretching back through fifteen years—an angry father whose whole life has been a kind of breakdown, a mother using her son as a scapegoat, a pair of alienated adolescents who believe they are rescuing a child from the adult world, and a sad woman living with a dreadful secret. The result is a novel that mingles unfaltering suspense with that extraordinary perception of an American lifestyle (West Coast Affluent) that is the hallmark of Ross Macdonald.
San Francisco in 1915. He was educated in Canadian schools, traveled widely in Europe, and acquired advanced degrees and a Phi Beta Kappa key at the University of Michigan. In 1938 he married a Canadian girl who is now well known as the novelist Margaret Millar. Mr. Macdonald (Kenneth Millar in private life) taught school and later college, and served as communications officer aboard an escort carrier in the Pacific. For over twenty years he has lived in Santa Barbara and written mystery novels about the fascinating and changing society of his native state. Among his leading interests are conservation and politics. He is a past president of the Mystery Writers of America. In 1964 his novel The Chill was given a Silver Dagger award by the Crime Writers' Association of Great Britain. Mr. Macdonald's The Far Side of the Dollar was named the best crime novel of 1965 by the same organization. The Moving Target was made into the highly successful movie Harper (1966). And The Goodbye Look (1969) was a national best seller for more than three months.
In praise of ROSS MACDONALD
"Ross Macdonald is one of the best living writers of the whipcord thriller." —The Bookman
"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." —Robert Kirsch, Los Angeles Times
"Ross Macdonald is an important American novelist." —William Hogan, San Francisco Chronicle
'Once every decade or so a mystery writer happens along who makes a decided impact on the reading public. Such a one is Ross Macdonald A new novel by Macdonald has become a sort of publishing event and a mystery reader's delight." —Detroit Sunday Times
"Without in the least abating my admiration for Dashiell Ham-mett and Raymond Chandler, I should like to venture the heretical suggestion that Ross Macdonald is a better novelist than either of them." —Anthony Boucher, The New York Times Book Review
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