Novels were products of the thirties while Macdonald s novels reflect a slightly enlightened post World War II mindset Seen from inside by daylight the room was spacious and handsome in an old fashioned way Kept p it might have been beautiful But the carpets and the surfaces of the furniture were gray with dust strewn with the leavings of weeks torn magazines and crumpled newspapers cigarette butts nwashed dishes A bowl of rotting fruit was
alive with insects The wall plants had drooped and died Cobwebs hung with insects The wall plants had drooped and died Cobwebs hung shaggy strands from the ceiling It was a Roman villa liberated by Vandals This novel has it all It s a fast mover with abrupt changes of scenes and moods interactions between Archer and other characters blood and tears and crimes within crimes The eventual solution of the various murders that occur throughout the novel are just thrillingly ingeniousI loved this novelI would recommend this novel to newcomers to the Lew Archer series COUNTDOWN Mid 20th Century North American CrimeBOOK 74 of 250He Alex seemed to be seeing himself for the first time as he was a black boy tangled in white law so vulnerable he hardly dared move a muscle This line comes early in this novel and what a premise But the author doesn t deliver on that premise Perhaps Ross Macdonald would have liked to but it s 1952 and we re a long way from the Civil Rights Act most ideas would have fallen on deaf ears So Macdonald delivers his trademarksHOOK 3 I found her waiting at the door of my office is the opening line Una wants Archer to find a colored girl who sed to work for Una According to Una Lucy had left and taken ruby earrings and a gold necklace Archer tells her to go to the police Una says no Archer won t take the case he even suggest Una take out an ad in a newspaper Then Archer realizes this isn t about the jewelry at all but perhaps something big Una is hiding He takes the case Standard opener for the genrePACE 3 The plot is complicated I like to take notes and try to figure everything out before the PI does And I did get a lot of it right but with 8 pages of notes cross references timelines etc this turned into a lengthy read I enjoy these brain exercises though But Macdonald doesn t write sually one sit lightning bolt thrillers as opposed to say Mickey SpillanePLOT 3 It s as convoluted as one would expect Una isn t interested in jewelry And Archer soon learns she isn t really interested in Lucy nor Lucy s boyfriend Alex Nor Alex s mother But Lucy has friends and Lucy knows things Una has an insane man locked in her attic so we re headed into gothic territory A back cover blurb reads Traveling from sleazy motels to stately seaside manors The Ivory Grin is one of Lew Archer s most violent and macabre cases ever Macdonald delivers on violence and weirdness certainly And this really isn t even close to his complicated novelsCHARACTERS 4 Archer is in superb form in action and thoughts I ve noticed in this series there is a recurring type of lineexhange like this one appearing hereArcher There s a chance that Alex may be railroaded for murderMrs Norris Alex s mother I believe you are a righteous man Mr ArcherArcher thinks to himself I let her believe itArcher is as hard boiled as they come and he s probably the smartest of all the hard boiled PIs
In American Crime Literature And American crime literature And knows itMrs Norris is portrayed beautifully here Last night a murder was like all the things I d dreaded for myself and AlexLucy Champion was from Detroit and I lived there myself when Alex was an infantwe were moving from city to city trying to find a living in the depression She s spent her life trying to do all the right things and then out of the blue her son is arrested for a murder he didn t commit Readers know this early that Alex is innocent as does Archer so I m not giving anything away Mrs Norris though sees the race issue hanging over it all yes white law wants to convict Alex and move on Una is off her rocker completely lying to Archer hiding out in her mansion with the insane man in the attic During a visit by Archer Una in red Japanese pajamas she looked less like a woman than a sexless imp who had grown old in hell Dr Benning marrys a beautiful blond. Better of him and he accepts the case He tracks the wayward maid to a ramshackle motel in a seedy run down small town but finds her dead in her tiny room with her throat slit from ear to ear Archer digs deeper into
free read The Ivory GrinUnlike the recent Thompson book The Grifters set in
the same time period and locations which I found a bit too Dostoevsky like Ross MacDonald deliverssame time period and locations which I found a bit too Dostoevsky like Ross MacDonald delivers crafted excellently plotted novels that leave one little to doubt as to the skill of this author Many a writer of mysterycrime novels have MacDonald on their favorites reading list I researched this and in fact came to MacDonald because of thisUnlike Burke who brings a certain sense of literature to his Robicheaux novels MacDonald s Lew Archer series are straight forward hard boiled mysterydetective novels all the way Just when you think you could se a little dialogue MacDonald delivers Just when you think you know what ll happen next MacDonald dispels everything you thought you knew Just when you think you could The Water Of Life use a bit exposition MacDonald delivers finely honed sentences that make the novel come alive in your mind The pacing of his style is superb timed just right delivering punch bowls of satisfaction to sip fromLew Archer is a curious private eye seeming to shun involvement with women though he is attracted to them which leaves tension in the minds of the reader Women often are the culprits in his novels and Archer seems to have a sixth sense about them providing both comfort and a hefty dose of suspicion where it comes to dealing with the dames He has a good relationship with the various police forces Archessed to be a cop often teaming The Year of Living Biblically up with law enforcement and sonlike the traditional rivalry between the private eye and the police in other detective novels Lew Archer delivers justice every time for both the private citizens and the police forces with whom he worksI highly recommend reading the Lew Archer series And for those reading this reviewif you ve read this review you ve read all the Lew Archer reviews The best entry I ve read so far in Ross Macdonald s Lew Archer series Archer is hired to find a missing African American woman by an odd woman with a mannish appearance and the manners of a brute She claims the colored girl is a former employee and that she stole a few pieces of jewelry not valuable items but they have sentimental value to this potential clientArcher reluctantly takes the caseAfter a few chapters Archer picks p a second missing persons case He s hired to find a missing man the scion of an old California family who own original Spanish land grants Eventually it so happens that both missing persons cases are intertwined in a way What were you treating her forIt amounted to nothing really do you follow mePartly Her symptoms were caused by nervesI wouldn t say nerves The doctor was expanding in the glow of his superior knowledge The total personality is the cause of psychosomatic ills In our society a Negro and especially a highly trained Negro woman is often subjected to frustrations that could lead to neurosis A strong personality will sometimes convert incipient neurosis into physical symptoms I m stating it crudely She felt cramped by her life so to speak and her frustration expressed itself in stomach cramp The doctor being interrogated by Archer in the exchange oted above is of course a white guy I can t say whether an African American reader would find these sorts of descriptions that are occasionally dropped in this novel observations by a white narrator of societal situations of minorities offensive but ArcherMacdonald seems to speak from a place of liberal sincerity Her diffident black hand touched my arm very softly and retreated to her bosom A thin gold wedding band was sunk almost out of sight in the flesh of its third finger You are on our side Mr ArcherThe side of justice when I can find it When I can t find it I m for the nderdog After such a delivery you half expect Archer to leave behind a silver bullet and ride away on a white horse p into the
hills of Chatsworth California But in the end Lew Archer is theof Chatsworth California But in the end Lew Archer is the decent man in what so often is a shabby professionI guess my point is nlike Raymond Chandler s Philip Marlowe novels which I love and find superior to the Archer series intentionally racist terms and views are never expressed in the Macdonald novels I ve read so far But then Chandler s original stories early. A hard faced woman clad in a blue mink stole and dripping with diamonds hires Lew Archer to track down her former maid who she claims has stolen her jewelry Archer can tell he's being fed a line but curiosity gets the. Scary Stories 3 under rolled jeans Los Angeles portrayed as filthy mess of crime has been done at this point 1952 many times by many authors But here Macdonald paints a picture that might surprise some Southern California has always been as diverse as it is now And for that portrait of diversity plus the insanity the crimes and even yes a real skeleton in a closet I gotta give Macdonald 5 stars for placing the reader dead center in it all SUMMARY My overall rating is 36 This is to me the most atmospheric of all the Ross Macdonald s I ve read The author ensures wenderstand the racial tensions but doesn t dwell on it ONE single line Alex s situation above says about race than the entire novel The Hate U Give which plummets and hammers s relentlessly and turns into a racist philosophy itself But the plot of The Ivory Grin Macdonald has completeed about half dozen plots that are better Still here atmosphere done by a master author is worth the read itself Perhaps high expectations of Ross MacDonald s stuff is responsible for this book not rocking my world I enjoyed it but there was something lacking that would ve made me love it So far I can t really put my finger on what it wasLew Archer is a great protagonist for the genre a mean self serving PI with a penchan A wealthy looking woman came to hire Lew Archer to find her missing
maid who supposedly stole some of her jewelry She sounded fishy for everybody with intellect higher than that of a sixwho supposedly stole some of her jewelry She sounded fishy for everybody with intellect higher than that of a six old child so Archer had his reservations about taking the assignment but it sounded simple and harmless enough he was to just tail the maid and report on the people she saw to his client so he accepted As a special bonus for accepting the estionable assignment he gets to witness and participate in the full set of noir tropes first hand Please note that the only reason I talk about standard tropes here is to avoid spoilers as much as possible Ross Macdonald can and does make them all look fresh and "Exciting Femme Fatale I Felt " Femme fatale I felt for her she was just a woman trying to survive in a hostile environment Tough gangster I cannot say anything without giving huge spoilers but take my word for it he is not The Bartender usual run of the mill noir gangster Families with skeletons in the closetPlenty of them in here and I think the author is the grand master when it comes to this particular trope he might have not invented it but he most definitely perfected this one This novel made menderstand something which puzzled me for a long time As much as I like classic noir I really could
Not Care Less Aboutcare less about thrillers despite the fact that these two genres are fairly close related to each other like cousins Most of the modern thrillers are as straightforward as a shortest path between two points in Euclidean geometry The hero moves in straight line literally crashing everything which stands in hisher way Tono Bungay until the happy end I have troubles suspending my disbelief as I know this is not how real life worksTake this book It took me about three fourths of it just tonderstand what is going on people with no connections to each other kept dying for seemingly no reason This is coming from a person who played guess the villain with Agatha Christie books with some degree of success I also challenge anybody to call this particular ending Happily Ever After and keep a straight face So to summarize this is the second book of the series in the row which confirmed my opinion of Ross Macdonald as a classic of noir. He case and discovers a web of deceit and intrigue with crazed number runners from Detroit gorgeous triple crossing molls and a golden boy shipping heir who’s gone mysteriously missing From the Trade Paperback editi. .