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Meet Me at the Morgue

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  231 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Somebody in Pacific Point is guilty of a kidnapping, but what probation officer Howard Cross wants to find most is innocence: in an ex-war hero who has taken a tough manslaughter rap, in a wealthy woman with a heart full of secrets, and in a blue-eyed beauty who has lost her way. The trouble is that the abduction has already turned to murder, and the more Cross pries into ...more
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Published December 7th 2010 by Vintage (first published 1953)
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Bill  Kerwin

A boy from a wealthy family is kidnapped, and Howard Cross begins his own investigation. The police are convinced the family chauffeur is involved, but Cross--the chauffeur's probation officer--isn't so sure.

The protagonist Howard Cross is almost Lew Archer but not quite, and therein lies the problem. He's tough enough, cynical enough and compassionate enough beneath the cynicism, but he begins with a bias (he "has a dog in this hunt," as President Clinton would say), and, as the action proceed
Michael Naughton
"Freud was one of the greatest influences on me. He made myth into psychiatry, and I've been trying to turn it back into myth again." --Ross MacDonald

Ross Macdonald is top shelf when it comes to detective fiction. Unfortunately, he is sometimes overshadowed and overlooked by more popular Hardboiled mystery writers like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett . Zebra-Striped Hearse was the first Ross Macdonald book I ever read and I've been hooked ever since.

Meet Me at the Morgue is a pager-turner
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
A sweet little boy has been kidnapped, apparently by a family retainer. His wealthy father is too ill to be told all the details. His mother, a former Army nurse, is much younger than her husband. Who snatched the boy? Where is he? And can anyone be trusted?

My first MacDonald novel, though I've seen films of some of the others. I really enjoyed it and hope to read more. The writing is well-paced and tight, with no extraneous details; MacDonald achieves the "hard boiled noir" ambience without the
MEET ME AT THE MORGUE. (1953). John Ross Macdonald. ****.
This was not a Lew Archer novel. Macdonald attempted to branch out his hero base by introducing Howard Cross, the head of a county probation department in the L.A. area. It’s hard to fool us readers, though, as Cross turns out to be just another alter ego for Lew Archer. He has the moral ethos and the same personality. The big difference is that Howard doesn’t carry a gun. The story is focused on the kidnapping of a young boy. Cross’s job
The first non-Lew Archer book of Macdonald that I've read and one of the strangest "detective" books I've ever read. Right off the bat, there's the protagonist. The "detective" in question is a probation officer. His irresponsible actions all throughout the book put many lives needlessly in danger and directly causes several deaths.

That being said, it has some great twists and turns and the always top notch Macdonald characterization and dialogue but I can definitely understand why he gave up on
This is a non-Lew Archer series book, but still bears all the Ross MacDonald / Lew Archer hallmarks: Physically slim but nevertheless packs a punch and fits in a lot of finely hewed detail. Ross MacDonald was about a decade behind Raymond Chandler, chronologically, but I think is much the better writer. I mentally envision a well cut diamond when I think of MacDonald's novels, all of which I've read and enjoyed. His are the quintessential So. Cal. detective novels and are not to be missed.
Michael Williams
Classic mid-century SoCal crime fiction with an unlikely detective (the county probation officer). Incredibly tight plotting and magnificent dialogue. Five stars might not be enough.
A little different from the usual direction of the genre. That's not praise, but it's not a complaint, it's just...different. The darkness was definitely there, though. Even though hardly anyone died, Macdonald really managed to put a lot of tragedy into the plot. I really do love the way that he saw people and interpreted them in his writing. Everyone has a backstory, and it's always painful.
I would have given this book three stars (because not all that much happened, and such) but since I did
A Ross Macdonald stand-alone. Howard Cross finds himself chasing down a kidnapper that he can't believe in - he thought Fred Miner was basically a nice guy. His employers and wife are just as shocked. But connections are showing up, between Fred and some low-lifes from his past. The missing little Jamie, his beautiful mother, and their maid (Fred's wife) all care deeply where the little boy may have been taken to.

In reality, Howard could have figured out where Jamie was much sooner than he did;
Kinda funny...When I start listening to a new book on CD, I don't always read the box cover to learn about the author or the book itself. So, I start listening to "Meet Me at the Morgue". It is a classical private detective, murder book in the finest tradition of Mike Hammer. The tone and dialog of the book was impressive in how it captured the 1940's. In fact, so impressive while listening to was getting more and more impressed with how a modern author could really get the dialog and expression ...more
Doug Haskin
As always when I read Ross MacDonald, I'm reminded why I consider him the ultimate Noir author. His skill with words has no match. To quote the NY Times Book Review: "The American Private Eye, immortalized by Hammett, refined by Chandler, and brought to its zenith by MacDonald." Exactly.
Sep 18, 2015 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of classic hard-boiled dick lit
One more step on my 1970s campaign to read all of Ross Macdonald, Dashiel Hammett, and Raymond Chandler.
What a trippy time-warp - first published in 1953! While the phrases and tones are interesting, it was pretty uncomfortable to spy on the interactions between classes and sexes. Thank goodness we're getting further and further away from those attitudes.

As for the story itself, it was a little confusing but got wrapped up in a nice neat confession at the end.

The only real problem I had was with the flat, facile characterization of Helen Johnson. But hey, did you know she had red hair? Yes, Red
Noir style story telling set in the 1950's USA. Our protagonist is a Parolle Officer. He walks the line between advocate for the parolees and agent the justice system trying to protect the comunity. This role in the legal system is a mystery to me and insight into how this agent can influence the fate of felons on the mend. or not.

I liked the characters, pace, voice and story construction. Easy, enjoyable read.
Nathan Shumate
Would be a perfect bit of private eye noir, except for two things:

1) There's a limit to the number of characters who can give the protagonist seemingly unrelated (but later relevant) information and then say, "I don't know why I'm telling you this."

2) It turns out that EVERYBODY is connected to EVERYBODY ELSE in at least two ways.
Dated and slow, but it gets better if you have the patience to follow it through. McDonald is not writing with Lew Archer as his protagonist here. You wonder how much you can trust his perspective. But the action heats up as it goes on, and the ending is more satisfying than expected.
John and Abbe
This was written in the '50s, so I thought it would have an interesting period/noir thing going for it, but it was standard knockoff mystery fiction with a disappointing ending.
Kidnapping and murder come into play in this Ross Macdonald mystery. Instead of Lew Archer as the protagonist, there is a probation officer.
Al Stoess
Nothing exciting. MacDonald does better with Lew Archer novels. This was a recorded book not a book.
Another Macdonald mystery with a new hero: Howard Cross, not as good as Archer, but still decent
I really enjoyed, only 2nd Macdonald I have read. Brings back black and white memories, love it!
Very good, formulaic stuff.
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ROSS MACDONALD is an author, illustrator, and prop designer whose work has appeared on Boardwalk Empire and in the pages of The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and many other publications. He is also the author of the adult humor book In and Out with Dick and Jane, which was awarded a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators.
More about Ross MacDonald...
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