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The Goodbye Look (1969)

by Ross Macdonald

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lew Archer (15)

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483539,254 (3.7)27
Lew Archer is hired to investigate a burglary at the mission-style mansion of Irene and Larry Chalmers. The prime suspect, their son Nick, has a talent for disappearing, and the Chalmerses are a family with money and memories to burn. As Archer zeros in on Nick, he discovers a troubled blonde, a stash of wartime letters, a mysterious hobo.… (more)
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» See also 27 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
Ross MacDonald seems to understand teenagers as well as he understands his own generation. His characters always ring true regardless of their demographic. This novel has a fascinatingly intricate plot, a fast pace, rich detail and sympathy for all the characters. Even though this is one of his last novels, it's among his best. ( )
  imagists | Sep 22, 2021 |
This was my first Ross Macdonald novel, and it's definitely not going to be my last. The plot was amazing, with Macdonald's merciful detective Lew Archer called in to investigate the theft of a gold box and the letters contained. What followed was an intricate tale of decades-old crimes, long-buried secrets, and innocent people caught in between. I finished the book with an appreciation for Macdonald's under-appreciated talent, one that deserves as wide an audience today as it had back in his own life. ( )
1 vote MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
There’s been a robbery at the Chalmers’ house, and it’s a bit awkward because their son is the prime suspect. Hence Lew Archer being called in to investigate. But the robbery is just the tip of the iceberg—the Chalmers family has a a whole bunch of secrets stretching back forty years, into the Second World War.

I bought this at the same time, and in the same edition, as Sleeping Beauty, and they gave me similar sorts of vibes. But of the two, I liked this one slightly better. The dynamic between Lew and Moira was great as a portrayal of middle-aged flash-in-the-pan romance. Lew is my favourite of the private eyes; he feels that much more compassionate and intellectual, but is matter-of-fact about his intellect (not like “Ooh, look how smart I am!”). He is a philosophical detective.

The storyline got a bit bananas toward the end, but in a way that felt true to form for other books in the series. The families that Lew is trying to help often have some really weird skeletons in their closet.

I did notice a bit of a continuity blip: someone talked about a character dying on July 3, “a couple of weeks” after July 1. Hmmm.

Overall, this was a good addition to the series. ( )
1 vote rabbitprincess | Aug 10, 2019 |
I really need to write down my thoughts and impressions about a book sooner than two months after having read the book. Whatever, this is pretty much classic noir, private-eye fiction. Ross Macdonald is a worth successor to Raymond Chandler.

So, Lew Archer is hired by John Truttwell, a lawyer, to help find a missing gold box that belonged to Truttwell's neighbors and friends, Larry and Irene Chalmers. It also appears that the Chalmers' son, Nick, is missing, and perhaps the gold box with him. There's much that the Chalmers don't want Archer to know, which, of course, hinders his investigation.

As Archer investigates, he untangles various weird relations from the past, a previous trauma Nick suffered as a child, which may impact the present, and so forth. Very tangled, very convoluted, and very engaging. ( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
Good PI fare but not as great as a few others in this series. ( )
  leslie.98 | Nov 6, 2017 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ross Macdonaldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Larsen, PioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The lawyer, whose name was John Truttwell, kept me waiting in the outer room of his offices.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Lew Archer is hired to investigate a burglary at the mission-style mansion of Irene and Larry Chalmers. The prime suspect, their son Nick, has a talent for disappearing, and the Chalmerses are a family with money and memories to burn. As Archer zeros in on Nick, he discovers a troubled blonde, a stash of wartime letters, a mysterious hobo.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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