Fewer Calories and Still Tastes Great




For two years I have been following a long-form approach, devoting between ten and twenty posts to each book and analyzing the plots in detail. It’s been hard but satisfying work, and I have to admit that it’s forced me to sharpen and reconsider my own views on Macdonald’s work. It’s true that you never really learn a subject until you have to teach it.  There is only one problem.

Nobody’s reading it.

A reviewer of a book on penguins famously said that no one needs to know this much about penguins.  Apparently no one is interested in my granular analysis.


                                                I Have a New Plan


I will write one post per book, briefly summarizing the plot without spoilers. I will start again at the beginning, with The Dark Tunnel.  The follow up posts, released every five days, will be posts on specific subjects related to the book under discussion. No more chapter-by-chapter summaries; if you want to see those, they will remain available and are searchable.  I expect to have two or three follow up posts per book.

At this point, I have done long form blogs on 16 of the 24 books but when the last posts for The Zebra-Striped Hearse are out, I will move to the new, short format.  I hope the readership finds it more agreeable.  Ross Macdonald deserves to be remembered one way or another.


                                          Who am I to be Writing This?


I have no formal background in English Literature, a fact which will become very obvious soon enough. My degrees were in philosophy and psychology. I have been a trial lawyer for forty years; mostly civil cases, but in my younger years I handled plenty of the kinds of criminal cases that are the warp and weft of Archer’s life. Mainly, I am a writer, primarily of mysteries but other genres as well, and I like to think I have something to say about what makes a good story. And I hope you do as well. I start this blog with the hope that, in time, it will turn into a conversation.

I close with an adaptation of a remark that Lawrence Durrell made about D.H. Lawrence, a writer that Macdonald very much admired:

“Ross Macdonald, so right, so wrong, so great, may his ghost breath on us all.”


                                                   A Technical Note


My site became a target for Russian spammers, forcing me to spend time daily deleting posts about porn and dodgy business opportunities. I have been forced to disable the comments feature. I did this with regret—I sincerely enjoyed interchanges with followers about matters other than hot nude girls. If you want to contact me you can still email me at and I will post your comment. Unless it’s about hot nude girls.



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