A Purple Place for Dying (Travis McGee #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Purple Place for Dying (Travis McGee #3)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  2,559 ratings  ·  95 reviews
A beautiful woman calls Travis McGee to Arizona. She needs his help recovering the money that her good-for-nothing, soon-to-be-ex-husband stole from her. But she's not long for the world, and even though his employer dies, Travis isn't giving up. It's not often he leaves Florida, and he's not about to go home empty-handed. The third Travis McGee adventure.
Paperback, Fawcett Crest 0-449-22438-4, 320 pages
Published May 27th 1995 by Ballantine Books (first published April 11th 1964)
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 A Purple Place for Dying, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Purple Place for Dying

Stormy Weather by Carl HiaasenTourist Season by Carl HiaasenThe Deep Blue Good-By by John D. MacDonaldBasket Case by Carl HiaasenThe Designated Survivor by J.C. Gatlin
Florida Mystery/Thrillers
11th out of 115 books — 53 voters
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlHarriet the Spy by Louise FitzhughNerve by Dick FrancisA Moveable Feast by Ernest HemingwayThe Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Best Books of 1964
25th out of 58 books — 30 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Cathy DuPont
May 25, 2013 Cathy DuPont rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone especially non-readers
Just to make sure that readers of this review understand up front that Travis McGee is my best guy ever. Please consider that my only disclaimer. Been in love with Travis since I first met him in the early 1970's.

 photo apurpleplacefirstedition_zps6c13a0c5.jpg
First Edition Cover and Probably One I Read

This review is based, in part, on comments made on a blog created by D. R. Martin called Travis McGee and Me which I read and comment on regularly. All fans of John D. MacDonald and Travis should check it out. But a cautionary note, there are...more
Dennis D.
For more background, refer also to my GoodReads review of John D. MacDonald’s first Travis McGee book, The Deep Blue Good-By. From what I’ve learned, that book, its sequel Nightmare in Pink, and this book were all written at the same time in 1964, and then released in consecutive months. As a result, they’re all cut from the same cloth, and all equally establish the back-story of one Travis McGee, "salvage consultant".

Once again, we find McGee as a fish out of water, this time out west. He’s cal...more
There is nothing like reading a book that was written the year you were born to make you realize that the world has, in fact, changed beyond recognition. This book, in particular, will also make you realize that whoa, feminism and the changes it has wrought were long overdue and probably saved your life by coming along when you were small. The scary thing is that I almost certainly read this book for the first time when I was a young teenager and soaking up all the Travis McGee I could get my ha...more
We have decided to add the Travis McGee set to our reading list; this third entry (of 21 total) is our third. Some early plot developments remind us of a tale where Lee Child’s Jack Reacher is thrown into jail only to be released almost immediately as he “instructs” the cops on how to really pursue the case. {Child is a huge fan and has written introductions to many MacDonald books...} In “Purple”, Travis is accompanying a brand new client to a cabin in Arizona to get the low-down on her case wh...more
My only complaint was the physical book I was reading. I have built my John D Macdonald library by purchasing old paperbacks - very affordable. This one was an original 1964 paperback, I don't know if it had been read before. Very cool. But the pages wouldn't open all the way so it was a pain. That's all. On the upside, it had a very handsome photo of John D on the back, super young and attractive in his 40s (at 36, 40s seem that way I guess).
A PURPLE PLACE FOR DYING turns out to be the Desert Southwest. As McGee realizes, he’s “too far from the bright water and the bright boats” (p199) for either comfort or safety. He’s still got head snakes, bad wiring and the “flying twitches” from NIGHTMARE IN PINK when he decides he doesn’t want the job being offered by a rich rancher’s absurdly vibrant blond wife--and then a sniper shoots Mona Yeoman very dead as she’s standing only a few feet away from our horrified hero. Determined to suss ou...more
May 27, 2008 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
"I heard her gasp, They'd picked a great spot, steep rock on both sides. I'd hit the brakes, banged it (the car) into reverse, stuck my head out the window and went down the winding slope backward at a crazy speed. There was one hell of a crack, and a sharp peppery stinging on the back of my neck. It startled me enough to put me off. I banged the rock and came back onto the road again and into a curve and missed the curve, slid it backward onto a ride to a grinding stop, rear wheels lifted clear...more
Apparently the first three novels in John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series were published simultaneously in early 1964. A Purple Place for Dying was the third. I enjoyed it more than the first two, but it's still pretty similar, and the things I don't like about the series so far are still here in full force. McGee's musings on the ways of the world always seem as if they're supposed to be profound, but they're generally trite and dated. And there's always a frigid, neurotic, female character...more
Jeff Yoak
On my 2010 review of the Travis McGee series, this is the first of the novels that lived up to my memory. Travis is pulled in by an unhappy young wife to help her recover the estate left to her and stolen by her husband and he discovers that the story runs much deeper and becomes much more dangerous. It is gripping throughout. The characters are more fully drawn than in the previous novels and there is even mention of his "economist friend" Meyer, whom I know from experience will become on of my...more
Harv Griffin
In 1964 John D. MacDonald broke many of the plot rules for popular fiction, several of the main-character rules, and took the narrative drive into social commentary. He kicked literary ass with Travis McGee. Travis is one of my faves, but there is a love/hate thing for him on GoodReads. #3 in the series; I've read this one 5+ times. @hg47
Another Travis McGee novel, this one notable only for its change of venue; Arizona this time rather than Florida. I was not particularly impressed by the story, but the pacing and dialog were of the familiar MacDonald quality. This isn't his best work, but any MacDonald novel is going to be worth reading.
"Just because you see this here gun in my hand, and you see that knife he was coming at me with? What in the world would make you think I shot him?"

"Well, I was just..."

"Shut up," Jass said.

Synopsis: In the third Travis McGee mystery, McGee gets set up by--go figure--a big buxom blonde with an ass like a Studebaker, who is then killed in front of his eyes, thousands of miles from home.

Mona Yeoman is a big comfortable woman dissatisfied with her big comfortable life and convinced her husband has...more
A PURPLE PLACE FOR DYING. (1964). John D. MacDonald. ****.
This is one of MacDonald’s better McGee mysteries – although he still had trouble with male/female relationships and its attendant language. McGee is recommended by a friend to see if he can help a young woman get money back from her husband who has been milking her estate for about fifteen years. It all started out as a guardian relationship, but ultimately turned into a marriage of convenience. The convenience wasn’t all on the side of...more
May 23, 2013 Col rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: m, 2013
Mona is in love with a poor, young college professor and married to a wealthy man whom she is convinced is stealing from her trust fund. So she does what any self-respecting girl would do: She hires someone to steal her money back so she can run away with the love of her life.

Travis isn’t sure he wants to help out until he sees Mona getting shot and killed out on the cliffs near her cabin. Now he’s a lead suspect in a plot to help her escape, and to clear his name, he needs to...more
The third in the Travis McGee series finds McGee out west in what is presumably Nevada, although the geography is scrambled. A nice shocker at the end of the first chapter sets the story off at an unpredictable angle. Whereas most McGee books identify the bad guy pretty early on, and we see McGee stalk and eventually confront him, this one is more of a whodunit—we find the culprit towards the end, and it's not very plausible. Those who accuse MacDonald of misogyny have a point in this one. The c...more
Edward Creter
This third addition to the Travis series leaves little to the imagination....and littler still to be desired. The previous outing was cool. This one...not so much. Travis has just met the smokin hot Mona Fox, a married woman with a score to settle. She wants land and cash fast, only her hubby Jass won't give either of the above. Then, just as the first chapter is coming to a close, she gets bloen away by a hidden sniper, BEFORE she becomes a huge part of the Travis McGee Universe, which is the s...more
I started reading the John D MacDonald "Travis McGee" series on the recommendation of a friend whose opinion I value; so it was a bit of a surprise to find that I didn't find them particularly engaging. This is really a review of the first three books (The Deep Blue Goodbye, Nightmare in Pink and A Purple Place for Dying)as I stuck with them to see if my views would improve but they really didn't.
The stories themselves are OK; fairly standard thriller fare but well plotted and written. The centr...more
Jul 25, 2014 Chuck rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chuck by: Phil Henry
This was my sixteenth John McDonald book which was one of the Travis McGee series. The book was better than most and most are fine mystery novels. Mr. McGee, however, took a break from his normal southern Florida Marina life to solve a crime in the deserts of the American southwest. Other issues were similar: plenty of dead bodies, plenty of clues, plenty of striking and interesting people and a good story tied together with McDonald's prose and wisdom.
McGee sets out on what seems an implausible quest, to recover money secured deep in dishonest financial skulduggery. The story becomes much deeper and more engrossing as the book goes on, ending up in a place quite far from what I imagined at the beginning. This is a good thing because not even Steig Larsson could interest me in money morasses. It ends in a place calls a purple place for dying. Hence the intriguing title.
The twenty one novels in the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald were written between 1964 and 1984, and proved to be very popular among readers and critics alike.

Unlike most detectives in crime fiction, McGee is neither a cop or a private investigator. He describes himself as a "salvage expert", who recovers other people's property for a fee.

An admitted beach bum, he lives in Florida on his boat, The Busted Flush, and only takes on cases when his cash is running low.

After the author's deat...more
Chuck Rylant
I enjoyed this book much more than the prior two. I'm reading the series in order. It seems that his writing is improving with each book. The ending was unpredictable, but a bit abrupt. Great read and keeps you turning the pages with his great writing style.
Terryann Saint
Read them as a tween. Love them all.
Matthew Hunter
More cynical wisdom from Trav McGee:
Education is something which should be apart from the necessities of earning a living, not a tool therefor. It needs contemplation, fallow periods, the measure and guided study of the history of man’s reiteration of the most agonizing question of all: Why? Today the good ones, the ones who want to ask why, find no one around with any interest in answering the question, so they drop out, because theirs is the type of mind which becomes monstrously bored at the
This had the best beginning of any McGee novel I have yet read. It takes off with a bang and rarely lets up, it kept me turning the pages, eager for what came next. By mid-book I was saying to myself, this has got to be the best McGee yet! And it just might be. I don't think I enjoyed any of the others (Deep Blue, Sandy Silence, Lemon Sky, Red Fox, Pink Nightmare) as much as this one, though each book seems to be better than the last (and yes, I started the series at the beginning, bounced aroun...more
I'm continually surprised at how entertaining the Travis McGee series is. And how McGee isn't the stereotypical action hero. Yes, he's a man's man, but he's not a chauvinist. He can be harsh at times, but sincere at others. He's genuine, and you're always rooting for him, but not b/c the author is trying to force you. You WANT him to succeed.

This story is rather fantastic, and starts off with a bang. LITERALLY. And even though there are slower parts in the book, you're still interested to read....more
Three stars because plot-wise, it was a quick, entertaining read, if you skip all the long-winded philosophising and overlook the laughable subplot of how Travis McGee once again "cures" the female main character with his sexual prowess. I read "The Empty Copper Sea" (Book #17) many years ago and really enjoyed it. Hoping this series improves earlier rather than later.
'A Purple Place for Dying' is the third of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series. In this one McGee is out of his familiar haunts of the Florida coast and has traveled to the dry, rocky American Southwest to help a woman who wants to divorce her husband and needs some dirt dug up on him (she suspects him of embezzling her trust fund, as well a some other shady deals). McGee is not inclined to take the job, when a unseen gunman kills her. Although McGee now has no client and could return to Flo...more
Bill Williams
Travis McGee, salvage expert, takes an airplane ride out to the high desert to help a woman recover an inheritance stolen by her husband. Before McGee can give a final agreement to the terms, his client is killed by a sniper's bullet. He makes his way back to civilization and returns with the authorities only to find the scene scrubbed clean. No body means no back-up for his story.

There are entertaining twists and turns as the plot unfolds. The characters are sharp and entertaining. The plot wor...more
Chariss Walker
I really liked all of the Travis McGee series. MacDonald wrote about places that were familiar to me and that added even more reasons to like his work.
Awesome! I listened to the audio book, read by Robert Ptrikoff. really great. Can't believe I haven't read all of these books. C'est La Vie! here I come!Whoop!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Zebra-Striped Hearse
  • Death of a Citizen (Matt Helm, #1)
  • A Savage Place (Spenser, #8)
  • Stick
  • The Man Who Invented Florida
  • A Stab in the Dark (Matthew Scudder, #4)
  • The Wrong Case
John D. MacDonald was born in Sharon, Pa, and educated at the Universities of Pennsylvania, Syracuse and Harvard, where he took an MBA in 1939. During WW2, he rose to the rank of Colonel, and while serving in the Army and in the Far East, sent a short story to his wife for sale, successfully. After the war, he decided to try writing for a year, to see if he could make a living. Over 500 short stor...more
More about John D. MacDonald...
Cape Fear The Deep Blue Good-By (Travis McGee #1) A Deadly Shade of Gold (Travis McGee #5) Free Fall in Crimson (Travis McGee #19) Nightmare in Pink (Travis McGee, #2)

Share This Book

“It would be one kind of penance. And there are never enough kinds. Not for him. Not for me. And certainly not for you, my friend.” 2 likes
“My friend Meyer, the economist, says that cretins are the only humans who can be absolutely certain of their own sanity. All the rest of us go rocketing along rickety rails over spavined bridges and along the edge of bottomless gorges. The man who believes himself free of any taint of madness is a damned liar.” 0 likes
More quotes…