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Deep Blue Good-by; a Travis McGee novel by…
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Deep Blue Good-by; a Travis McGee novel (original 1964; edition 1981)

by John D. MacDonald

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1,069217,827 (3.76)47
Member:catmeyoo
Title:Deep Blue Good-by; a Travis McGee novel
Authors:John D. MacDonald
Info:Fawcett (1981), Mass Market Paperback, original copyright 1964
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:detective and mystery stories, Travis McGee series, Florida

Work details

The Deep Blue Good-by by John D. MacDonald (1964)

  1. 00
    Your Day in the Barrel by Alan Furst (clif_hiker)
    clif_hiker: I think MacDonald's book superior... but similar styles
  2. 00
    The Mango Opera by Tom Corcoran (ckNikka)
    ckNikka: More great Florida Noir
  3. 00
    Sanibel Flats by Randy Wayne White (ckNikka)
    ckNikka: The Orginial...
  4. 00
    The Harry Chronicles by Allan Pedrazas (ckNikka)
    ckNikka: great storytelling
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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
series list (21 titles)
1964 The Deep Blue Good-By
1964 Nightmare In Pink
1964 A Purple Place For Dying
1964 The Quick Red Fox
1965 A Deadly Shade of Gold
1965 Bright Orange for the Shroud
1966 Darker than Amber
1966 One Fearful Yellow Eye
1968 Pale Gray for Guilt
1969 The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper
1969 Dress Her in Indigo
1970 The Long Lavender Look
1972 A Tan and Sandy Silence
1973 The Scarlet Ruse
1974 The Turquoise Lament
1975 The Dreadful Lemon Sky
1978 The Empty Copper Sea
1980 The Green Ripper
1981 Free Fall in Crimson
1982 Cinnamon Skin
1985 The Lonely Silver Rain
  lulaa | May 7, 2014 |
TRAVIS McGEE
He's a self-described beach bum who won his houseboat in a card game. He's also a knight errant who's wary of credit cards, retirement benefits, political parties, mortgages, and television. He only works when his cash runs out and his rule is simple: he'll help you find whatever was taken from you, as long as he can keep half....


I owned this book years ago, when I first got into crime fiction in the early 90’s. I discarded it, un-read a couple of years later on the basis that it looked old, it was old - therefore it must be rubbish. Fast forward 20 years and my outlook has somewhat changed. I’m old myself now; 50 this year and still older than the book, which by definition cannot now be dismissed automatically as rubbish on grounds of age alone. I was encouraged to give it a chance to by a friend I’ve made on the Goodreads site - Cathy from Florida.


So a big hat tip to Cathy then, as the book was extremely enjoyable. McDonald’s creation, Travis McGee is the star of the show in this his first outing. Travis is a “salvage” expert. He specialises in recovering people’s property for a 50/50 split of the spoils, but only when he needs the money. The rest of the time he enjoys a life of leisure on his boat in sunny Florida.


McGee agrees to help Cathy recover her mystery inheritance that’s been swindled from her by Junior Allen, a smooth talking, rapist ex-con. McGee’s investigation sees him delving into Cathy’s father’s past and his wartime exploits as well as more recent events with Junior’s involvement with another local lady. Fast forward a bit.......... McGee eventually catches up with Allen and attempts to reclaim Cathy’s gem stones as well as making Allen pay for his exploits.


MacDonald portrays McGee as a part-time sage-cum-philosopher as well as a man of action when the need arises. He’s a loner with a heart, albeit a chauvinistic one, and whilst that may be irritating and a turn off for some readers, I actually liked him and want to read more about him.


The Deep Blue Goodbye was MacDonald’s first Travis book in a series that ran for 20 years and a further 20 books. I won’t bite off more than I can chew, but I’ve already line up the second in the series for reading next month sometime – Nightmare In Pink.


4 from 5


I managed to obtain a second-hand copy of this by agreeing to swap another of my books on the useful ReadItSwapIt website. ( )
  col2910 | Apr 17, 2014 |
When I first arrived at Ballantine, where I am the mass market managing editor, we were just undergoing a daunting task: repackaging all of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels. We were giving him a brand-new, beautiful look; ingeniously, we used a deep blue color for THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY, a gold color for A DEADLY SHADE OF GOLD, a lavender hue for THE LONG LAVENDER LOOK, etc. But as I worked on the actual stories themselves, I realized that as colorful as these books now are on the outside, they're even more colorful on the inside. In order to prepare these books, we had to have them retyped from scratch; some of these books are so old that the plates had died, so we had nothing to print from. So all the books had to be proofread as if they were new books, and what a joy it was working on them. I unexpectedly rediscovered an author and character I knew very little about. Travis McGee is one of the great characters in crime fiction, and John D. MacDonald a fascinating storyteller. You never know what either is going to do next, or say next; what is going on in their minds is as important, if not more so, then what is going on outside Travis's boat. All of which add up to a heckuva fun series. Mark Rifkin, Managing Editorial
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
All my mystery-reading life (about 52 years now if you count Nancy Drew), I've managed to avoid reading John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee stories -- and his other works as well. I'd certainly heard of them, I just thought I wouldn't care for them. Recently, I mentioned my discovery that MacDonald and I shared a birthday, and some folks on a mystery discussion list I frequent urged me to give Travis McGee a try. Since this coincided with my reaching Florida in my "A Mystery for Every State" project, I plunged into THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY, the first in the series.

When we meet Travis McGee, he is already deep into his chosen career and lifestyle. The lifestyle is houseboat-dwelling beach bum with plenty of air-conditioning, steaks and good liquor. The career, engaged in only as needed, he describes (as quoted by a friend) as "...if X has something valuable and Y comes along and takes it away from him, and there is absolutely no way in the world X can ever get it back, then you come along and make a deal with X to get it back, and keep half." So McGee is not exactly a private eye, although he uses some of the same skills and methods.

"X," in this book, is a young dancer in a nearby club in Fort Lauderdale. Her imprisoned (and now dead) father had always promised the family riches after his return from World War II. It now appears the mysterious treasure, along with much of the woman's self-respect, was stolen by one Junior Allen, who had served time in Leavenworth with her father. Although he doesn't need the money yet, McGee feels sorry for her and agrees to try to retrieve the treasure; at this point he doesn't even know what it is.

During the hunt for Junior Allen, McGee finds a second "X." Lois Atkinson has not lost any money to Allen; what is far worse, she has nearly lost her sanity when McGee finds her. After beginning the process of nursing her back to health -- and falling in love with her, which is not part of his plan -- McGee is more determined than ever to stop Junior Allen. His efforts to do so make for a compelling novel.

THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY came out in 1964. The Florida it portrays is not today's Florida, but, according to Carl Hiassen's introduction to the edition I read, it carried the seeds of the state as it is today. From the ongoing party that is Lauderdale to the sleepy towns in the Keys, MacDonald describes Florida with love tinged with regret. Since I've never been to Florida, the atmosphere in THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY is exactly what I was looking for when I started this project -- an author's evocation of a place he loves and knows well.

The character of McGee has this in common with the classic private eye: he has his own code of ethical behavior, which may not always coincide with society's laws. In fact, societal rules of almost any kind are anathema to McGee; that's why he lives the way he does. McGee has obviously inspired great loyalty in his many fans -- indeed there was a section at the back of this edition with "Wisdom of Travis McGee." I'm afraid I might get a little sick of that if I read all the books in one big gulp, so I'll move on to something else for a while, but I do fully intend to read the remaining McGee stories over time.
( )
1 vote auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
I thought the writing in this book was surprisingly awesome. I kept reading parts of it out loud to people, like, in restaurants or at work.

On the other hand, I wasn't all that fascinated by the plot. I'm glad I read it but I probably won't read any more in the series. ( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
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Epigraph
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For Knox Burger, McGee's first editor
First words
It was to have been a quiet evening at home.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449223833, Mass Market Paperback)

TRAVIS McGEE
He's a self-described beach bum who won his houseboat in a card game. He's also a knight errant who's wary of credit cards, retirement benefits, political parties, mortgages, and television. He only works when his cash runs out and his rule is simple: he'll help you find whatever was taken from you, as long as he can keep half....
With an introduction by CARL HIAASEN
JOHN D. MACDONALD
"....the great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller."
--STEPHEN KING
"....a master storyteller, a masterful suspense writer."
--MARY HIGGINS CLARK
"....a dominant influence on writers crafting the continuing series character."
--SUE GRAFTON
"....my favorite novelist of all time."
--DEAN KOONTZ
"...the consummate pro, a master storyteller and witty observer."
--JONATHAN KELLERMAN
"...remains one of my idols."
--DONALD WESTLAKE
THE TRAVIS McGEE SERIES
"...one of the great sagas in American fiction."
--ROBERT B. PARKER
"...what a joy that these timeless and treasured novels are available again."
--ED McBAIN

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:11 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

He's a self-described beach bum who won his houseboat in a card game. He's also a knight errant who's wary of credit cards, retirement benefits, political parties, mortgages, and television. He only works when his cash runs out and his rule is simple: he'll help you find whatever was taken from you, as long as he can keep half ...… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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