The Way Some People Die

The Way Some People Die

A Lew Archer Novel

Book - 1951
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In a rundown house in Santa Monica, Mrs. Samuel Lawrence presses fifty crumpled bills into Lew Archer's hand and asks him to find her wandering daughter, Galatea. Described as 'crazy for men' and without discrimination, she was last seen driving off with small-time gangster Joe Tarantine, a hophead hood with a rep for violence. Archer traces the hidden trail from San Francisco slum alleys to the luxury of Palm Springs, traveling through an urban wilderness of drugs and viciousness. As the bodies begin to pile up, he finds that even angel faces can mask the blackest of hearts.Filled with dope, delinquents and murder, this is classic Macdonald and one of his very best in the Lew Archer series.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, c1951.
ISBN: 9780307278982
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY MACD
Characteristics: 245 p. ; 21 cm.


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Feb 24, 2018

Ross MacDonald writes in the noir vision of Southern California tradition of Raymond Chandler. He has a flair for language, although he does not reach Chandler's heights of lyricism. His characters have more realistic depth of detail than Chandler's. They come from the seedy 50's and 60's and evoke the post-war hard edged naiveté of the era strongly .

Lew Archer, MacDonald's private detective, is a knight errant like Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade, but, for me, MacDonald does not push the archetype to the extent of Chandler and Hammett. I rate Ross MacDonald high in the pantheon of twentieth century mystery writers-- not quite up to Chandler, Hammett, and Stout, but excellent nevertheless.

The Way Some People Die has a well-crafted and dramatic plot and some excellent characters. The anti-heroine, Galley Lawrence, is cynical, naive, crafty, and deadly. I found Galley's brittle mother believable and a fascinating glimpse of a certain type of character. Dowser, the boss gangster, is perhaps the weakest, yet brutal, strongman I have ever encountered in literature. The book paints a dreary picture of an evil psychopath and the drug racket in the 50s, but the protagonist, Lew Archer, stays true.

Jun 21, 2017

A fun read, a sample of his writing: an ingot of sunlight shone across the floor, my tongue was already furred with the dregs of a long bad evening, her type had been invented to make men feel comfortable...

It's the best, very 40's noir, wonderful.

Mar 01, 2016

First published in 1951, "The Way Some People Die" is the third novel in the Lew Archer series. Author Ross Macdonald delves into the motivations of his criminal characters. For fans of the hardboiled private eye genre, I would rate this novel at 4.25 stars.

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