Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Giving Away Books, Asking for Opinions

American novelist Ross Macdonald (1915-1983) is best known for penning 18 books about Los Angeles private eye Lew Archer, beginning with The Moving Target, which first saw print in April 1949--62 years ago this month.

However, Macdonald (whose real name was Kenneth Millar) also composed half a dozen standalone mysteries, four of which were recently reissued by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard: Blue City (originally published in 1947), The Three Roads (1948), Meet Me at the Morgue (1953), and The Ferguson Affair (1960). Although they lack Archer’s steady and oft-compassionate presence, those books still demonstrate the author’s adroitness at handling fictional homicides, much-troubled suspects, multiple clues and miscues, and the alternately rich, raucous, and ribald setting of Southern California.

Now, thanks to Craig Tenney, the late Mr. Macdonald’s literary representative at Harold Ober Associates in New York, The Rap Sheet has two sets of those four standalone works that we want to give away to readers free of charge. It’s one little way of keeping the memory of Macdonald alive for new generations of crime-fiction enthusiasts.

All you need do to have a chance at winning these sets of four novels is e-mail your name and snail-mail address to jpwrites@wordcuts.org. And please be sure to write “Ross Macdonald Contest” in the subject line. Entries will be accepted between now and midnight next Monday, April 11. Winners will be selected at random, and their names listed on this page the following day.

* * *

In association with this book-giveaway tourney, we’ve posted a new poll near the top of The Rap Sheet’s right-hand column. The question is simple: “Which was Ross Macdonald’s best Lew Archer novel?” All 18 titles are listed. Feel free to choose one book or more than one. This survey will also remain in place through next Monday. We’ll announce the winning novel, plus the next four runners-up, at the same time as we declare our two contest victors.

So why are you just sitting there, bucko? Get your contest entry in, and your vote(s) counted right away!


Fred Zackel said...

Thank you for keeping RM in people's minds. In my Detective in Lit class, I teach The Underground Man. If I didn't, my second choice would be Sleeping Beauty. But I am very partial personally to The Chill.

Evan Lewis said...

A few years ago I wanted to reread the Archer series. Since my copies are hopelessly buried in a storage garage, I looked for copies at libraries and second hand book stores, finding dang near none. It's great to see a resurgence of sorts.

Craig said...

Thanks for posting this. I thought I had read all of Ross Macdonald's books a long time ago and then last month stumbled on the new reprint of "Meet Me at the Morgue" at the bookstore. I was surprised it wasn't a story about Archer -- but once I started reading, it didn't matter. I didn't want to put it down! Can't wait to read the others (and yes, I entered the contest).