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The Archer Files The Complete Short Stories of Lew Archer Private Investigator

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Of Lew Archer s cases in novel format 4 stars the accomplishment of macdonald in stars The accomplishment of Ross Macdonald in true art within confines of a presumptively trivial genre the detective story cannot be over appreciated The richness of Macdonald s prose and his melancholy eye for character transcend any cops and robbers mundanity For one like me who has read all of Macdonald s novels this collection of all of his short stories and a few fragments about detective Lew Archer is like lapping p the last precious drops from a near empty canteen while stranded in the desert It s both tterly delicious and sad Macdonald s skill with the short story is on par with his novelistic talents despite the different reuirements of each form Each of the stories is satisfying and rich The fragments of nfinished novels or stories are infinitely tantalizing yet in most cases they are so intriguing and enjoyable in their mere expression that they are satisfying in their own right even without conclusions Anyone who appreciates a good tale wonderfully written will find much to love in this wonderful book If you love the detective from The Chill or The Underground Man this ain t him Nearly all the short stories come from the time Ross MacdonaldKevin Millar was following the Chandler school pre 1958 so the empathetic inuiring edition of Lew Archer is mostly absent except for a handful of stories toward the end and interestingly an npublished story from 1950 called Strangers in Town later cannibalized for The Ivory Grin and the short story Gone Girl Still some of the stories carry an emotional wallop especially The Suicide and Midnight Blue and Macdonald s penchant for intricate plotting appears in even these short pieces Also nexpectedly interesting the first pages fragments of possible Archer stories from Macdonald s notes gathered together in a back section called Case Notes All too brief but they re wonderful short pieces in themselves even if they wind p like the Sherlock stories Dr John Watson mentions but never writes I ve oft considered Ross MacDonald a solid example of a novelist who got by writing the same book over and over again That is not meant to denigrate the man s work Ross MacDonald is the Holy Spirit to Raymond Chandler s Son and Dashiell Hammett s Father in the Holy Trinity of Classic American Hard Boiled PI Detective Fiction Mickey Spillane would probably be like an Apostle or lesser but influential Pope The Lew Archer stories I ve found to be a bit melancholy or wistfulMacDonald s novels all tend to focus around the same themes eg broken families sometimes looking for their lost members and feature the same elements This recycling or literary bricolage can readily be evidenced in how ite a few of the stories in this collection are clearly rewrites of one another same basic plot same character types Also making this worth the time of any aficionado of MacDonald or detective fiction writing
In General Is That The 
general is that the section of this book features beginnings of incomplete stories fragments that MacDonald never ended p sing COUNTDOWN Mid 20th Century North American Crime BOOKNovella 111 of 250Gone Girl is the novella of focus here One must wonder how often this title has been The Ascent of Man usedHOOK 4 stars It was a Friday night I was tooling home from the Mexican border in a light blue convertible and a dark blue mood That second line is so typical of Ross MacDonald an author light on style and heavy on substance and for me it s worth a 4th star it doesn t call attention to itself doesn t feel overwrought like Chandler or Hammett at times it just reads really nice I think with just a hint of hard boiled I had followed a man from Fresno to San Di. The first time collects all the brief Archer fiction the stories from Macdonald s 1955 paperback original The Name Is Archer the additional tales included in the Otto Penzler edited 1977 volume Lew Archer Private Investigator and the three thennknown novellas presented in Crippen Landru s 2001 book Strangers in Town Also included in The Archer Files are several lengthy never before published fragments of nfinished Macdonald stories case. These are almost novella rather than short story length and they follow macdonald s sual pattern of mysteries with buried domestic secrets crimes hiding each other For me they are also a cultural history of developing California post war as the state was taking off the motels roadhouses cars and free ways as well as a population of people coming out of the depression and WWII along with the wealthy There is also something slightly febrile even neurotic
About The Atmosphere Mid Century 
the atmosphere mid century and a society just getting sed to psychoanalysis so that everyone including archer is a bit brittle I ve been reading Ross Macdonald for 40 years since I read my first The Instant Enemy It was a great Saturday that I dedicated reading one of his books in a day a great journey through the backwaters of California and a hidden history Less showy than Chandler but with interesting plots that resonate His writing is smooth and entertaining and Lew Archer a great companion to Philip Marlowe Here Tom Nolan prefaces the collection with an intriguing biography of Archer pieced together from a sharp study of the works and then we dive into the short stories All enjoyable as they are it is the case notes that intrigue starts of books that were never finished They could just as easily be first the case notes that intrigue starts of books that were never finished They could just as easily be first cut from published works they feel so much like first chapters in final form and what books they would have led to They are such teases to great investigations that didn t happen But they inspire me to go back and start at Ross Macdonald s Lew Archer short stories display the same niform excellence as his novels The stories contained in THE ARCHER FILES have lesser build O viziune a sentimentelor up time than the novels however Macdonald s private eye thrives in the short form too THE ARCHER FILES is all the proof anyone needs every story is good Gone Girl and The Suicide are astonishingly superb There s no fillernless you categorize the 11 Harveys Revised English Grammar unfinished tales as such I consider them a bonus I paid twenty bucks for FILES the fragments alone are worth a hundredIn the beginning the publishing industry was not kind to Lew Archer Early paperback covers The Archer Files The Complete Short Stories of Lew Archer Private Investigator by Ross Macdonald is my first exposure to MacDonald s writing I have enjoyedite a few books by his wife fellow mystery writer Margaret Millar and have wanted to explore the world of Lew Archer as created by MacDonaldThe book is a series of short stories featuring PI Archer and also a number of Como agua para chocolate unfinished stories showing some of the other cases that Archer might have been involved inI enjoyed MacDonald s writing in the style of Dashiell Hammett and John D MacDonald and enjoyed PI Archer Archer takes on cases where he feels a responsibility to the person hiring him or the person being investigated In a number of cases he just falls into by accident and wants to correct a wrong or just help a person in need He never overcharges 50 a day plus expenses and he doesn t like helping the Mob or being bought He s an ex boxer and officer from WWII and knows how to handle himself in a bad situation He works in California with a small office on Sunset Boulevard The book starts off with a nice biography of Lew Archer his past and what makes him tickPeople get killed in his cases sometimes by him sometimes by someone else There are nice little twists in each one some not complex You can figure out who is responsible but the explanations are always interesting MacDonald s description of the people and the surroundings are always on point and he has a nice tidy way of getting out the facts and the stories I enjoyed very much and now look forward to trying one. Ross Macdonald 1915 1983 was the author of eighteen books that a New York Times critic called the finest series of detective novels ever written by an American the Lew Archer canon which included such breakthrough best sellers as The Underground Man The Goodbye Look and The Blue Hammer Macdonald born Kenneth Millar also wrote several novelettes and short stories involving Southern California private detective Lew Archer The Archer Files for. Ego and lost him in the maze of streets in Old TownHe had crossed the border and my instructions went no further than the United States Lew then finds himself on the freeway with the worst driver in the worldthe heavy car Cadillac wove back and forth across the freewaysing 2 of its 4 lanes sometimes 3 Eventually Lew Archer exhausted pulls off the freeway to the first motel he comes to the Siesta And there he finds trouble PACE 4 I ve read 7 Ross Macdonald novels and he almost has one here a subject matter easily expandable into a novel But he made the right choice imoPLOT 3 Lew finds evidence of a made the right choice imoPLOT 3 Lew finds evidence of a at the Siesta motel and reason to check around the seaside area for someone who has lost a lot of blood and may be dead Yes he finds the Cadillac from of blood and may be dead Yes he finds the Cadillac from opening page parked and a dead man inside a man who had been dying from a gunshot wound as he drove on the freeway page 1 The owner of the hotel begs Lew not to report the murder to the cops and Lew agrees to at least investigate the situation for a fee PEOPLE 4 Lew Archer to me is the smartest of all the series private investigators He s not the toughest but he sees people their truths and lies ickly And he is tough enough to survive the bad guys The motel
Owner Mr Salanda Is Desparately 
Mr Salanda is desparately of his young daughter Ella and she is just old enough to get into all sorts of problems A sensitive kid named Donny has a big time crush on her And Mrs Mabel Salanda a big forceful blonde practically steals the show But then there is Mr Funk in Vegas with his gang of hoodsATMOSPHERE 2 Room fourteen was like any other middle class motel room touched with the California Spanish maniaA Rivera reproduction of a sleeping Mexican hung on the wall over the bed A description today that we d call politically incorrect and if you ve never lived in Southern California this description is a bit short But in the book Macdonald doesn t spend much time on atmosphere than this brief description of a motel room And the story could take place anywhere the author doesn t integrate the story with the placeSUMMARY My rating is 34 Macdonald delivers as sual a solid plot with some surprises and a good set of characters Four stars is how much I enjoyed this though in the end most of the stories were just okay There were however a few that felt very full with satisfying mysteries The Bearded Lady from 1948 The Angry Man 1955 and Midnight Blue from 1960 This book is essential to anyone who has a serious interest in the evolution of Ross Macdonald s Lew Archer his origins and development It contains the complete text of the first Archer anthology of stories The Name is Archer 1955 two lost early works Death by Water and Strangers in Town and three later short stories first printed in Lew ArcherPrivate Investigator1977 In addition it offers sixty pages of Case Notes fourteen separate expositions for ncompleted Archer novels or stories some merely abandoned and others later re sed and transformed Of the new completed stories I found Strangers in Town the most interesting Some of Strangers Macdonald re Multiple Mayhem (Gabby Duran used in one of the best short works of his early period Guilt Edged Blonde and the rest he transformed into The Ivory Grin one of his successful early novels The changes are all for the better as always it is gratifying to observe a master craftsman at work The fourteen fragments vary inality but each is so characteristically Archer that I found myself thoroughly enjoying each of them even though I knew none of them would ever be brought to a satisfying Ross Macdonald conclusionThen again I m a die hard Macdonald fan For anybody else My Name of Archer is a sufficient sample of his shorter fiction. Notes as it were from the files of Lew Archer Edited by Macdonald biographer Tom Nolan The Archer Files is prefaced with Nolan s biographical sketch of Lew Archer himself the character Eudora Welty described as a champion and a distinguished creation As a detective and as a man he takes the human situation with full seriousness Jeff Wong s cover is adapted from the 1955 paperback original but depicting Ross Macdonald rather than Lew Archer.