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Black Money by Ross Macdonald
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Jan 03, 09

bookshelves: bookaweek2009
Read in January, 2009

Lew Archer is a detective of the hard-boiled, Californian-type. He's hired by Peter Jamieson, a fat but rich young man of the Montevista set, to investigate Francis Martel. Martel claims to be a French aristocrat who in addition, has run off with Peter's girlfriend, Ginny Fablon.

The resulting story is fast and dense, with characters and lies piled high. There are the complications of Harry Hendrick, used-car salesman turned PI, his wife Kitty and the 7-year old suicide of Roy Fablon. There's also a French quiz, a lustful housewife, some tell-tale photographs and a shooting - and that's before the half-way mark.

The perplexing plot and the glut of memorable personalities are incredible achievements even before Macdonald ambushes us with the stunning resolution. I read this like poor fat Peter Jamieson ate: cramming it down to dull its emotional hollowness and then felt a bit sick at the end.
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