Monday, September 06, 2021

54. The Galton Case by Ross Macdonald

I think I haven't been fair in my own mind about Ross Macdonald.  It's not his fault that his name remains as a pillar of the detective genre while his wife, whom I consider a better writer, is only remembered by a minority of genre fans.  I am also tainted by the last book of his that I read that I found to be overly melancholic.  I found The Galton Case at Valu Village in Toronto for a buck so had to take it, especially with this cool cover.  This is a paperback on its last legs, with pages ready to fall out, but it got one more read out of me and my friend wants it afterwards.

And I am glad I did read pick it up because it was really good and reminded me why Macdonald has his reputation.  There is a lot of detecting in The Galton Case!  Macdonald is hired by a lawyer to find the long lost son of the elderly matron of a vast fortune.  The investigation takes him up and down California, from hipster jazz bars and seedy hotels in San Francisco to new housing developments in mid-coast towns.  The first half of the book is a very enjoyable hunt for this missing man.  Once he is sort of found and a rough narrative of what happened to him becomes clear, we then move into another mystery of what did actually happen to him and if the newly discovered grandson is indeed who he says he is. There is even a strong Canadian connection, with Macdonald maybe even making a brief detour back to his own personal background.

This is pretty much a classic P.I. book, with the obligatory beatdown and unconsciousness (Archer actually gets knocked out 3 times in succession, which really can't be healthy), multiple twists that of course bring it all back home and just a lot of great dialogue.  The way that he talks to people to get information from them is particularly well done here.  Great stuff, I am glad to have re-opened my reading to Ross Macdonald.

No comments: