This was a complicated little crime novel. I bet I get lost in about one out of ten crime novels. By lost I mean confused. I was so confused that it made the big reveal in this novel a little strange. I felt like I was being spoon fed without any clues and that makes me feel dumb. It also disappointments me because it takes away from the novel.
I’m certainly not blaming Ross Macdonald, one of our most vaunted crime novelists. It made sense in the final few chapters as private investigator Lew Archer put things together, but it just felt a little hollow to me. Oh well. It’s just another case of me losing focus and not concentrating. I’m not taking it too hard, don’t worry.
It doesn’t matter so much. I have a lot of Lew Archer books to get through and I’ll forget about this. All was not lost, I still got some great insight into what makes this man tick. He just cares, man. He just gives a damn about other humans. I love this fruit fly analogy (first person from Lew Archer):
For two hours I drove down the white rushing tunnel carved by my headlights in the solid night. At the end of the run the unbuilt town lay dark around me, its corners desolate under the sparse streetlights. When I stepped out of my car the night shot up like a tree and branched wide into blossoming masses of stars. Under their far cold lights I felt weak and little. If a fruit fly lived for one day instead of two, it hardly seemed to matter. Except to another fruit fly.
Oh by the way, W by Sue Grafton will hit this fall I think (Macdonald was highly influential in her work).