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The Turquoise Lament (1973)

by John D. MacDonald

Series: Travis McGee (15)

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652825,780 (3.85)25
"One of the most enduring and unusual heroes in detective fiction." THE BALTIMORE SUN Now that Linda "Pidge" Lewellen is grown up, she tells Travis McGee, once her girlhood idol, that either she's going crazy or Howie, her affable ex-jock of a husband is trying to kill her. McGee checks things out, and gives Pidge the all clear. But when Pidge and Howie sail away to kiss and make up, McGee has second thoughts. If only he can get to Pidge before he has time for any more thinking....… (more)
Recently added byGeraldineG, DuffDaddy, drrico, jcoyte, wearyhobo, phcallefr, Jelgava, private library, Lorentz

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Many of the plot elements Are standard: girl in danger, Travis investigating a bad guy, etc. enough uniqueness to keep the suspense mounted. Trav’s style of investigation continues to set him apart. ( )
  waldhaus1 | Feb 14, 2020 |
As he gets older, Travis McGee seems to become more and more maudlin--or perhaps it is his creator's fault. In this, the 15th entry in the series, McGee is called to help out the daughter (Pidge, later renamed Lou Ellen) of a deceased (naturally) former business partner who thinks that either she is going crazy--or her husband is trying to kill her. So Travis flies to Honolulu to investigate, or to put it more accurately, to practice his amateur psychology on the girl, who is in her early twenties, and her husband, an affable 270-pound former football player whom she married on the rebound not long after her father's tragic death in a motorcycle accident. Her mother died from cancer when she was much younger. It's that kind of book. Death is everywhere. Even in passing, MacDonald manages to tell about as many horrific deaths as he can. Characters we meet briefly turn out to have met tragic ends--and not just the character, but "him, his wife, and two of their four children." It is way way too much and one begins to wonder if the book even has a plot or if it is just going to be about McGee's obsession with the girl, because, yes, he is the one she really wants and even ran away when she was 17 and stowed away on his boat. But as McGee tells her later, statutory rape was not his thing. In any case, nothing is stopping him now. But of course we know that by the end of the book either something awful will happen to her as well or she and McGee will be somehow parted, despite McGee confessing to Meyer that this is a woman he could actually spend the rest of his life with. If it sounds like a soap opera, it is. Eventually, we find that there is more than a little skullduggery going on, relating to a "treasure book" the girl's father put together with information about where valuable ship wrecks might be found. After his death, it goes missing.

Meanwhile, Pidge and her husband are traveling alone on their boat from Hawaii to Pago Pago in American Samoa. As McGee and Meyer unravel the mystery of the missing treasure book, Travis begins to fear for her life (as we readers familiar with the fate of anyone who sleeps with Travis have been doing all along.) As a result, this is a very annoying book, since Travis can't do much to protect her while she is in the middle of the Pacific and basically out of communication. Remember, this book was published in 1973. He does take out some of his frustrations on a crooked lawyer in the book's best scene, which highlights McGee's remorseless, creative, cruelty. The lawyer deserves it, however, so at least this is one book where McGee himself isn't the biggest SOB. I haven't spoiled anything so far, and I won't talk much about the rest of the plot, but I will say that the ending is really a pitiful job of writing. Surely MacDonald could have come up with something a bit more clever than what he did. The reader is asked to have sympathy for poor Travis McGee, a man who in the course of the book spends as much time having sex with various women as he does solving the mystery. Obviously, this is not one of the better books in the series, though it certainly is high in grim fascination and creative ways to kill people. ( )
  datrappert | Aug 29, 2018 |
A slow start but plenty of mystery and suspense once it got going. In this one we find Travis going to the aid of a previous acquaintance who feels like shes losing her mind and hearing voices whilst also chasing down a valuable item missing from her fathers estate.

Pretty good overall but quite a lot of time spent on the backstory of certain events. ( )
  HenriMoreaux | May 23, 2017 |
Very suspenseful! And what a nice surprise that for once McGee is in time to save the girl rather than having to revenge her! ( )
  leslie.98 | Mar 20, 2017 |
23 December 2016

Big Ship ( )
  bigship | Dec 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
The most notable thing here is that this is the first time MacDonald has appeared initially in hardcover ... MacDonald has been well established as one of the real hellbent storytellers in the business. Anyway it has something to do with fishing, of course, and salvage, of course ... But there's a smashing scene at the end to make up for all that lost time when in McGee's own inimitable words life has been "running out the bottom of the tube."
added by Roycrofter | editKirkus Reviews (Oct 1, 1973)
 
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For Dorothy, Again
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The place Pidge had borrowed was a studio apartment on the eleventh floor of the Kaiulani Towers on Hobron Lane, about a hundred yards to the left off Ala Moana Boulevard on the way toward downtown Honolulu.
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Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn't blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won't cheat, then you know he never will. Integrity is not a search for the rewards of integrity. Maybe all you ever get for it is the largest kick in the ass the world can provide. It is not supposed to be a productive asset. Crime pays a lot better. I can bend my own rules way, way over, but there is a place where I finally stop bending them. I can recognize the feeling. I've been there a lot of times.
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"One of the most enduring and unusual heroes in detective fiction." THE BALTIMORE SUN Now that Linda "Pidge" Lewellen is grown up, she tells Travis McGee, once her girlhood idol, that either she's going crazy or Howie, her affable ex-jock of a husband is trying to kill her. McGee checks things out, and gives Pidge the all clear. But when Pidge and Howie sail away to kiss and make up, McGee has second thoughts. If only he can get to Pidge before he has time for any more thinking....

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