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Meet Me At The Morgue

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  296 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews

Meet Me at the Morgue is the story of a kidnapping that led to four murders. In his search for the killer, Howard Cross digs deep into the Los Angeles underworld, finding along the way a beautiful, lost adolescent mourning a dead lover, a suitcase hidden under an aging sadist's bed, and a slovenly gentleman with an ice pick in his neck. Ross Macdonald has never written a s

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Published (first published 1953)
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Bill  Kerwin
Feb 04, 2014 Bill Kerwin rated it liked it

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
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Michael Naughton
Feb 09, 2014 Michael Naughton rated it it was amazing
"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
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Tony
Aug 03, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it
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
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Joe
Nov 10, 2014 Joe rated it liked it
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
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Margaret
Jul 28, 2013 Margaret rated it really liked it
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.
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
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Michael Williams
Jun 11, 2013 Michael Williams rated it it was amazing
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.
Ann Bickle
Feb 02, 2017 Ann Bickle rated it liked it
The story is a bit dated, but I enjoyed it anyway. I may track down more by this author in the future!
Ubiquitousbastard
Jul 15, 2013 Ubiquitousbastard rated it really liked it
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
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Jim
Jun 06, 2009 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Joy
Nov 24, 2013 Joy rated it really liked it
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;
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That70sheidi
May 09, 2010 That70sheidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2011
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
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Yankey
Aug 24, 2012 Yankey rated it liked it
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.
Carole Workman
Jun 04, 2016 Carole Workman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yrchallenge
This was not your typical mystery novel. It has so many twists and turns that I couldn't figure out who did it until the very end. I always love a good mystery. When a young boy gets kidnapped Howard Cross tries to figure out who did it and then two people get killed and it adds more to the mystery of who did it. It was not the person who I thought that did it until the very end. I can't wait to read more by this author.
Nathan Shumate
Sep 23, 2011 Nathan Shumate rated it really liked it
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.
Doug Haskin
Dec 22, 2014 Doug Haskin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
HBalikov
Jul 24, 2009 HBalikov rated it it was ok
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.
Al Stoess
Mar 22, 2011 Al Stoess rated it it was ok
Nothing exciting. MacDonald does better with Lew Archer novels. This was a recorded book not a book.
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.
David
Sep 18, 2015 David rated it really liked it
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.
Missmath144
Aug 01, 2010 Missmath144 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, murder, crime
Kidnapping and murder come into play in this Ross Macdonald mystery. Instead of Lew Archer as the protagonist, there is a probation officer.
Deran Ludd
Deran Ludd rated it it was ok
Jun 01, 2016
Richard Kopel
Richard Kopel rated it liked it
Feb 07, 2016
David Carr
David Carr rated it it was amazing
Jul 05, 2010
Bob Jordan
Bob Jordan rated it really liked it
Jun 03, 2012
Therese
Therese rated it really liked it
Jun 25, 2011
Edward Lengel
Edward Lengel rated it really liked it
Jun 15, 2014
John Dupuis
John Dupuis rated it really liked it
Oct 08, 2011
Doug Arbesfeld
Doug Arbesfeld rated it really liked it
Apr 21, 2007
Larry Webber
Larry Webber rated it liked it
Nov 23, 2009
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Ross Macdonald is the pseudonym of the American-Canadian writer of crime fiction Kenneth Millar. He is best known for his series of hardboiled novels set in southern California and featuring private detective Lew Archer.

Millar was born in Los Gatos, California, and raised in his parents' native Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, where he started college. When his father abandoned his family unexpectedly,
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