The Long Goodbye

The Long Goodbye
Ross Macdonald

It’s 1969, “the war” is in Vietnam and Lew Archer has a brain that operates like “a fairly early pre-binary model” computer (not saying yes and no but mainly maybe). It is, in other words, a little late for Archer (and Macdonald) to still be doing this kind of thing. The plot here is perhaps their craziest, with at least four different twisted family histories hopelessly entangled in a briar patch of false memories and disguised identities. I honestly had no idea what was going on at the end. You’d need a spreadsheet to figure it out. And yet there’s just enough of the Archer charm to carry it through. Archer doesn’t have a secret passion for justice but rather a secret passion for mercy. As an investigator of Greek tragedies this is the right approach. Justice, or fate, is just “what keeps happening to people” anyway.