Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Far Side Of The Dollar” as Want to Read:
The Far Side Of The Dollar
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Far Side Of The Dollar (Lew Archer #12)

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  904 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Has Tom Hillman run away from his exclusive reform school, or has he been kidnapped? Are his wealthy parents protecting him or their own guilty secrets? And why does every clue lead Lew Archer to an abandoned Hollywood hotel, where starlets and sailors once rubbed shoulders with grifters--and where the present clientele includes a brand-new corpse.
Paperback, 250 pages
Published 1988 by Allison & Busby (first published 1965)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Far Side Of The Dollar, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Far Side Of The Dollar

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,372)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Evgeny
A teen guy was brought to an exclusive reform school which was not nice by any stretch of imagination. It strongly reminded me of the following:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
If you do not know where the image comes from, shame on you: go read the book or watch the movie; this is one of the rarest occasions where the movie and the book are equally good.

In is little wonder the teen escaped; not only he escaped, he also completely disappeared. Trying to avoid the bad publicity the school's principal hired a PI - none other tha
...more
Bill  Kerwin
Jan 11, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In this admirable example of the Lew Archie series, a wealthy high school boy's search for his personal history precipitates crimes in the present as it dredges up the sins of the past.

This book is filled with the hunger for fathers and fathering, and its tragedy is a consequence of fatherly failures, for which mothers--and sons and daughters as well--must suffer.

This book has too many flaws to be considered in the category of first-class Archer, that handful of novels that includes perhaps six
...more
Jim
Feb 03, 2011 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems that nearly every Ross Macdonald novel involves old family secrets rearing their ugly heads. But then Mozart pretty much used only 7 different notes per octave, so it's the execution that matters, not the tools. And this story of private investigator Lew Archer trying to unravel the apparent kidnapping of a teenaged boy is, as is almost always the case with Macdonald, finely executed.
Mike
Oct 01, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
In "The Far Side of the Dollar" Mr. Macdonald has created yet another well-written tale of hope, despair, love and self-interest. Doesn't sound much like a hard-boiled detective story, does it? And that is a large part of the genius of Ross Macdonald; the intricate blending of psychology, emotion and ethics (on the part of Lew Archer, mostly) into a difficult mystery that only a Marlowe, Spade or Archer will have the perseverance to solve.

Like many others I have touched on the use of character m
...more
Joe
Jan 26, 2014 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I simply love the way this man writes. Granted, he's glib, and pop, but he's very good at what he does. He nails people:
She smiled, and I caught a glimpse of her life’s meaning. She cared for other people. Nobody cared for her.

He catches those fleeting but profound emotions:
She climbed down the ladder and flitted away through the trees, one of those youngsters who make you feel like apologizing for the world.

He can sum up a personality in one line:
Daly had the habit of serviceability. “Okay. I’
...more
Bob
Feb 15, 2016 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
All of the Lew Archer mysteries by Ross Macdonald are very good, and all but three or four are excellent.

As always with Lew Archer, it is well plotted, tight, and plausible. There is little violence, at least in the twenty-first century sense. The earlier novels contain descriptions of people who have been beaten, and yes, people get shot. But there is never gore or sensationalism.

But beyond the mystery story aspects, no other mystery novelist that I am aware of has so many insightful observati
...more
Jerry
Nov 25, 2007 Jerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any Mystery Fa
Ross MacDonald at his best. The rest of us can rant about the danger of religious fanaticism, but R M simply creates a fearsome character whose demented beliefs set so much of the story in motion and cause such human suffering. And this character takes up but one page.
As usual, MacDonald suffused his character's outlook with much sympathy regarding everyone caught up in this mess, including his nemeses.

AC
Jun 26, 2015 AC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
A weak opening..., it feels dated. But stick with it. This gets very good.
Lukasz Pruski
"People are trying so hard to live through their children. And the children keep trying so hard to live up to their parents, or live them down. Everybody's living through or for or against somebody else. It doesn't make too much sense, and it isn't working too well."

Having completed the "Nicolas Freeling project" (re-reading and reviewing all his 41 books) a few months ago, I am now working on Ross Macdonald (Kenneth Millar in private life), a "Grand Master of Mystery Writers of America" and, to
...more
Joe
May 27, 2016 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was fantastic! I took one star off because a couple of the twists were easy to guess (or maybe I just read too many of these books) however the writing was amazing! This book may have some of the most beautiful writing in all of Macdonald's books. His views on family, love, psychiatry, and identity feel as contemporary now as I'm sure they did in the 60's when this book came out. The book also explores Archer's prior love life and the tragic quality of it will be familiar to anyone who has ...more
James Newman
May 07, 2013 James Newman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dysfunctional family, money at stake, detective Formula that ticked all the boxes except maybe the box for originality. I’ll read more from the author, but I wouldn’t go so far as some to say he’s up there with Hammet or Chandler in terms of style. Closer to Mickey Spillane or Chase in that regard, excellent plot with some sweet twists toward the finale. Good old-fashioned formulaic fun. Enjoyed it.
Tony
Jul 27, 2014 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE FAR SIDE OF THE DOLLAR. (1964). Ross Macdonald. ****.
Our favorite private eye, Lew Archer, is hired by the principal of a private reform school to track down a run-away inmate. The escapee is Tom, the son of a wealthy family who has placed him I the institution to attempt a change in attitude and to protect the family from scandal. Archer gets on to the trail, but it soon escalates into more than he bargained for. The basics of the plot will be familiar to Macdonald fans, but he manages to g
...more
Paul
Nov 04, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the very best of Ross Macdonald's novels, which makes it one of the very best of the best detective novels ever penned.
the gift
full title: Far Side of the Dollar, or The Private Investigator as Psychotherapist and Family Counselor
Diego Paim
Dec 16, 2015 Diego Paim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book with a desapointing ending. The plot is fast paced, with very interesting points of philosophy in the prose and a lot of twists in the end. If you have already read other Macdonald books, this will look familiar to you. Broken families, a unensolved mistery of the past and a missing teenager looking for his real parents. Just like a lot of other stories of Macdonald, but he has a way of implement the story and putting the words that it's so unique and poetic, that it awa ...more
Mac
May 05, 2011 Mac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great Archer novel, and even though I’ve read more than one other Archer book where the seventeen-year-old character happens to run into the couple who gave up a child for adoption seventeen years prior, this one stayed fresh as I was reading. Sure, it’s a little predictable, but the voice was punchy and all the right notes were hit at the right time. An Archer book executed exactly as it should have been. The only weird moments – and this is where I can’t give it five stars – come whe ...more
Phillip Frey
Mar 26, 2014 Phillip Frey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery, dectective lovers.
I read most of Ross MacDonald's books years ago and thought I would enjoy reading them again. I was right. This one is a PI Lew Archer book, as most of MacDonald's books are. Lew Archer is hired to find the teenage son of a family with secrets. This uncovers a kidnapping, along with two murders, which wouldn't have happened if the family had told Lew Archer about the skeletons in their closet.
David
May 19, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in classic hard-boiled fiction
About the 7th Ross Macdonald I read during a period of deep immersion into hard-boiled detective fiction. Macdonald, Chandler, Hammett -- hard to top!

39 years after the fact, I can't remember any details of this one . . . but aren't all the Lew Archer tales about the same? This isn't one of the half-dozen Archer novels I own, so I probably won't be re-reading.
David Malmberg
Aug 10, 2015 David Malmberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterful hard-boiled noir mystery as good as the very best of the genre!

Ross Macdonald writes as well as the best from Chandler and Hammett! This book is one of his very best. If you like noir mysteries, read this book! You won't be sorry.
Bruce Macbain
Jul 15, 2015 Bruce Macbain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first mystery of MacDonald's I've read. He wrote hard-boiled detective fiction in the tradition of Hammett and Chandler. The plot is pretty confusing but the writing is thoughtful and the characters much more complex than one expects in this kind of novel.
David Green
May 15, 2016 David Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of McDonald's Archer series, but I think this is his best yet. The writing is superb, the character descriptions are snappy and don't feel overly prescient. The plot, the subtext, the pacing. All terrific!
Fausto
Buena novela, pero tiene muchas características comunes de la anterior novela "El escalofrío". El principio se inicia en ambiente educativo (universidad, psiquiatría). Parejas que son otra cosa. Estupenda novela negra, y entretenida.
Victor Whitman
I found this one a tad slow, seemed to be stretched out about 50 pages too long. Maybe I am wrong. I've heard that Ross Macdonald is one of the best, and that this is one of his better novels.
David
Feb 08, 2015 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was headed toward a four, the characters were just not as intriguing as some of the other Archer books (although Stella is one of MacDonald's most endearing personalities) and the plot had some funny coincidences in it that seemed somewhat arbitrary. As a crime novel, first-rate; as an Archer novel... I was thinking that it wasn't one of the best until, BANG!, the plot just tied up in the last 30 pages in a manner so masterful that it would take far to long for me to explain MacDonald's met ...more
Rob Smith
Sep 18, 2012 Rob Smith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
What's it I find with west coast mysteries where the story is well written, but the pacing is a bit drawn out. Unlike books written today where pure fluffy drivel fills hundreds of pages, this one has a bit too much of back and forth just to throw the reader to the solution. That despite my figuring out a bunch of it early on. I've has similar feeling about other Ross MacDonald books.

Otherwise, this is a good mystery that has the Archer character chasing in all kinds of directions. The location
...more
Paul Jellinek
Dec 10, 2015 Paul Jellinek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A complicated California thriller as only Ross MacDonald could write them.
dwd
May 29, 2016 dwd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 - 4.5~ish. Solid installment in the series. Some good lines. Liked it better at the end than in the middle.
Vicki Cline
Sep 01, 2014 Vicki Cline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: archer-mysteries
A teenage boy has run away from his upper-class reform school, and the head of the school wants Archer to find him. As in most of MacDonald's later books, everything leads back to an old crime, but it's the young people in the present who suffer. I don't know if it's because these books take place in the period of my young adulthood, but they all seem to be timeless. Of course, if it took place now, there would be mentions of Google and cell phones, but they're not missed.
Roshni
Aug 10, 2014 Roshni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Not Macdonald's best, but still enjoyable
Karin Montin
I'm a Macdonald fan, but I found this one somewhat lacking. Archer, looking for a teenage runaway, goes from one interview to another, picking up information along the way. As usual, certain people need no persuasion to spill lots of beans. As usual, family relationships are murky and people's motives are connected to events of long ago.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 45 46 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Dain Curse
  • Night Has a Thousand Eyes
  • Solomon's Vineyard
  • The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper (Travis McGee #10)
  • The Blunderer
  • A Swell-Looking Babe
  • Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith
  • The Best American Noir of the Century
  • Three by Cain: Serenade/Love's Lovely Counterfeit/The Butterfly
  • Leave Her to Heaven
  • The Rise of Life on Earth
  • Playback (Philip Marlowe, #7)
  • A Carnivore's Inquiry
  • Valerie Solanas: The Defiant Life of the Woman Who Wrote SCUM (and Shot Andy Warhol)
  • Tropic Moon
  • The Wrong Case
70090
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,
...more
More about Ross Macdonald...

Other Books in the Series

Lew Archer (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The Name Is Archer
  • The Moving Target
  • The Drowning Pool (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
  • The Way Some People Die
  • The Ivory Grin
  • Find a Victim
  • The Barbarous Coast
  • The Doomsters
  • The Galton Case
  • The Wycherly Woman

Share This Book



“People are trying so hard to live through their children. And the children keep trying so hard to live up to their parents, or live them down. Everybody's living through or for or against somebody else. It doesn't make too much sense, and it isn't working too well.” 0 likes
More quotes…