Continuing with literature porn from the book sale, here are two hardboiled greats with similar last names. Ross Macdonald (born Kenneth Millar) is widely regarded as the third member of the hardboiled trinity, right alongside Hammett and Chandler. I’m not so sure if he deserves such a lofty perch, but Macdonald is certainly one of the greats. Here we have Lew Archer novels The Doomsters, The Galton Case and The Wycherly Woman. Early Lew Archer short stories were collected as My Name is Archer. And The Ferguson Affair is a rare non-Archer mystery from Macdonald.
Ross Macdonald originally wrote under the name John Macdonald (and then John Ross Macdonald) so his writing would be considered on its own merits—and not because of his wife Margaret Millar’s popular mysteries. Macdonald switched from John to Ross so as not to be confused with established pulp and hardboiled scribe John D. MacDonald.
John D. MacDonald does not enjoy quite the critical esteem that Ross Macdonald does. Nonetheless, his Travis McGee novels are genre classics. Here we have The Deep Blue Good-by, The Scarlet Ruse, Cinnamon Skin and The Lonely Silver Rain.
John D. MacDonald and Ross Macdonald both wrote hardboiled fiction, but were very different otherwise. Macdonald’s Freudian Archer is a far cry from the more heroic McGee. But both are important in the development of hardboiled crime fiction.