Oh, that southern California sun – now shining like a spotlight, now hanging in the sky like an angry red blob by Turner – there’s something about it that provides the perfect lighting for these tales of mid-century, Hollywood noir. Early Macdonald is preferable to the later stuff, and this is a fairly representative example of what he’s all about. The noble Lew Archer again has “trouble walking out on bad luck” and so gets stuck in another long-running (and insanely complex) family soap opera. The usual rules apply: (1) heavies may be decent people who have just had a lot of hard breaks in life; and (2) it’s best not to trust decadent intellectuals (the one who read too much) and old money. In fact, you probably shouldn’t get too closely involved with anyone. Even the innocent are stinkers.