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Dress Her in Indigo: A Travis McGee Novel (Travis McGee #11)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  2,686 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
From a beloved master of crime fiction, Dress Her in Indigo is one of many classic novels featuring Travis McGee, the hard-boiled detective who lives on a houseboat.

Travis McGee could never deny his old friend anything. So before Meyer even says please, McGee agrees to accompany him to Mexico to reconstruct the last mysterious months of a young woman’s life—on a fat expe
ebook, 304 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Random House (first published January 1st 1969)
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Eleven books into my rereading of the Travis McGee series and as usual there’s a Good and Bad side to it.

Good = Travis McGee continues to be an interesting character who has rejected the responsibilities associated with a modern American life circa 1969 by working as a kind of hybrid detective/con man who gets involved in shady dealings to make a buck. On the surface McGee is just a lazy boat bum on a series of extended vacations, and he’s willing to occasionally risk his life to finance this li
James Thane
His eleventh adventure finds Travis McGee away from his familiar stomping grounds in Florida. A lot of bad luck has fallen upon the family of T. Harlan Bowie. His wife, Liz, has died suddenly and hideously from a brain tumor. Bowie himself is left paralyzed by an automobile accident, and then the gods decide to smack him around a little more by killing his only child, a daughter named Bix, in an auto accident in Mexico. Bowie is heart-broken and guilt-ridden because as a hard-charging businessma ...more
Lewis Weinstein
I decided to re-read the Travis McGee series and picked this one off the top of the pile. Bad choice. I remembered too late from my earlier readings how much less I liked the stories that took place away from FL and the Busted Flush. Indigo takes place in Mexico, and it is an ugly, drug-filled story with almost no redeeming characters or narrative. I felt like I needed a bath after each chapter. I still have 20+ books to go and I'm sure I will fully enjoy most of them.
Jun 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Number 11 in the series, from 1969, and this one's a bit off formula: McGee isn't out to recover money or goods, but rather a life story or perhaps a reputation. McGee and Meyer spend most of the book in Oaxaca, trying to find out what really happened to a wealthy businessman's hippy daughter. As always, the story pulls you along with a fair amount of narrative complexity for a thriller of its time; there is the usual "dated" social commentary (here on the counterculture), which I quite enjoy; a ...more
JoAnna Spring
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travis-mcgee, fiction
Much better than the last McGee. Trav and Meyer travel to Mexico to investigate the death of a friend's daughter. (I suspect she is actually still alive...!!)

I believe this is why I love Mr. McGee so much:

"Old friend, there are people - young and old - that I like, and people that I do not like. The former are always in short supply. I am turned off by humorless fanaticism, whether it's revolutionary mumbo-jumbo by a young one, or loud lessons from the scripture by an old one. We are all comical
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Number 11 in this classic series by John D. MacDonald finds modern knight-errant Travis McGee embarking on a strange mission at the behest of his hirsute sidekick, Meyer: go down to Mexico, where Bix Bowie--the beautiful young daughter and only child of a rich, recently crippled friend of Meyer’s--reportedly has died in a car crash, and try to fulfill the bereaved father’s yearning “to know if she was having a good time” (p13). All expenses are paid, first class accommodations all of the way, pl ...more
Harv Griffin
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, own
pic of DRESS HER IN INDIGO on my shelf

Travis McGee takes on the Isle of Lesbos, below the border, copyright 1969. You’re thinking of oral sex, aren’t you? Stop that! Below the border refers to Mexico.

John D., having done such an awesome job with A DEADLY SHADE OF GOLD below the border in 1965, sends Travis down there again. [Stop it!] He pushes the limits of the crime novel, setting new standards, taking on the hippie culture of drugs and free [not] love [Not!]; throw in revenge and torture almost of the “family honor killing” varie
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
A young woman named Beatrice Bowie (Bix) dies in an automobile crash on a lonely mountain road in Mexico. The father wants to know more about the time she spent in Mexico and who she was. He has lost his wife, is now confined to a wheelchair and since he spent more time with business than with his daughter, he wants to discover who his daughter really was. Travis McGee and Fred Meyer are hired to travel to Mexico to find the answers. The trip finds them chasing down any clue they can find. Bix h ...more
Jeff Yoak
Meyers and McGee travel to Mexico on behalf of a father who lost his daughter there. The girl had gone down, fallen in with a bad crowd, became addicted to drugs and died mysteriously. The father wanted to know what life had been like for his daughter.

I've decided to take a break in re-reading the McGee series, but this was an excellent one to stop on. It was a great story. It has the wonderful balance of characters, poetic description and adventure I love in the McGee stories. It also has one o
Oct 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like John D. MacDonalds's Travis McGee series and given how difficult is to get your hands on the original paperbacks in used book stores, so do a lot of other people.

I have to say though, that unlike most of the other stories, this one doesn't hold up as well. It is definitely a book of its 60s time period. A much darker story, it delves into the degradation and dissipation of the drug culture, which is unusually heavy for pulp fiction. Not one of my faves, but I still love Travis and the Bus
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not entirely certain that this is the author or really distateful book I remember. The author's Celtic surname and a protagonist who takes a big trip overseas every time life goes tits-up seem right. What I remember most about the Travis McGee's character in Mexico was the cold, grim depiction of murders and mentally incapacitated loose women. It had enough compartmentalized moralizing to be Scots-Irish sermon typing, but was the moralizing more about the author's WW II background?
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: macdonald
9 jun 15
#47 from macdonald for me and #13 travis mcgee...will get to the scarlet ruse in order now since all is well this that the other. ooga booga. just finished One Fearful Yellow Eye, a 5+ star story check it out

12 jun 15
finished. good story! mcgee isn't after money in this one. he's looking for the daughter of a rich man, a daughter who went to mexico with a number of others and who hasn't been heard from...until she died in a car crash, so forth so on. this one has that whole 60s shebang g
Henri Moreaux
Another strong entry in the McGee series, this time round Travis is searching to find out what happened to an American tourist in Mexico whose last days were spent partying, experimenting with drugs and sex before ending up dead on a remote road.
Instead of his usual haunts in the Florida marinas and the Gulf Coast swamps, “Dress Her In Indigo” takes Travis McGee on an adventure into the heart of Mexico. A rich man has been widowed and his only daughter disappeared into Mexico for months only to come back in a box. He wants to know what happened to her. McGee and a buddy (Meyer) head down to Oxaca to investigate, to ask questions, to find out what Bix’s last months were all about. Was she happy and just had a tragic accident or did somet ...more
Brad Hodges
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

One of the best writers of detective fiction was John D. MacDonald, who wrote 21 novels concerning Travis McGee, a "salvage consultant" who lives on a houseboat in Florida. He is tall, good-looking, and has an insatiable need to know the truth. MacDonald, much like Raymond Chandler, wrote in a very literary style, but happened to wallow in the genre of pulp fiction. I believe I read the last of his McGee novels, The Lonely Silver Rain, when I was a teen, so the second of his books I've read is o
William Brown
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4-Stars! The Godfather of the Knight-Errant Thriller Novel - John D. McDonald, Dress Her in Indigo, and Travis McGee

“I think I discovered John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee thriller novels when I was a senior in high school and devoured all 21 at least once. At the time, they were breaths of fresh, exciting air from one of the prolific giants in the mystery-suspense field with over 78 books to his credit. His lead character, Travis McGee is an errant knight with a deep concern for the environment
Mar 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, mcpl-book
This is the way private eye books should be written. If I were prone to this sort of thing John D MacDonald would have sold me for good with Dress Her in Indigo (another of my Birth Year Challenge Books). I'm not saying that I'm hooked on Travis McGee and will be rushing out to find all the other books, but MacDonald can write. Imagery? You got it. Philosophical commentary? You got it. Social commentary on the world of the late 1960s? You got it. Interesting detective, side-kick, and peripheral ...more
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DRESS HER IN INDIGO. (1969). John D. MacDonald. ****.
A Friend of Meyer’s asks him to do a favor. Meyer’s friend is currently hospitalized with severe injuries as a result of an automobile. His life is in shambles: his wife died a few years earlier, and his only daughter walked out of his life, only to have died in an accident in Mexico. His business career had been highly successful, so money was no object, but he realized as he lay there in bed that he didn’t know his daughter. He wanted Meyer
Oct 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, adventure
I've loved John D. MacDonald for years. I read him back in my high school days--I'm sure much to the consternation of some teachers. LOL I always like going back and reading, and I'm always amazed at how well he's able to get little tics of human behavior and psyche. But sometimes it's almost over-reaching, a little over-ripe. Some have compared him to Dickens--namely Kurt Vonnegut Jr--and that really is a stretch. What really disturbed me here is how sex essentially was everything.

In the case
Koen Kop
Too much hackneyed macho stuff - when you start skipping pages you realize this is no masterpiece - or ... you're growing old.
Mark Thomas
I took a break from reading Christian thinkers from the 1960s to read this Travis McGee novel written at the end of the 1960s.

What an entertaining read. This book took me into a total world of may have read true in the 1960s but it is hard in 2012 to think that there was a time when people ate many big meals, men drank all day long with no effect other than enjoying the rich flavors of the beverages, people engaged in unprotected sex and brief encounters without psychological scarri
Sex, drugs and the 1960’s. “Private Fuzz” Travis McGee leaves the Busted Flush to find out if the daughter of a wealthy friend was killed accidently or murdered in Mexico. It’s interesting to drift back to the 1960’s with a book actually written in that time period. Times have certainly changed. Another reviewer mention McGee is like Bond when it comes to sex. I agree McGee is a ladies man. He can take them or leave them. Funny when he wants to leave them.

My second Travis McGee was not as good
It's such a trip going from Darker Than Amber straight to this book, only because that one was perilously close to a Nancy Drew-style 1950s romp-slash-French farce, complete with hiding in each other's staterooms, and this is a long, drawn-out, pulpy execution of the 1960s drug culture. It has vicious teeth to it.

There's a point about two-thirds of the way through where the plot starts to get a little tired, but it's really an accurate depiction, I think, of how tired McGee and Meyer are of the
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
They say that only a small portion of personal communication is verbal, and that the rest of it is posture, expression, gesture, those physical aspects of man which antedate his ability to speak. Meyer constructs somehow a small safe world, a place where anything can be said, anything can be understood, and all can be forgiven. We are all, every one, condemned to believe that if we could ever make another human understand everything that went into any act, we could be forgiven. The act of under ...more
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travis-mcgee
Number 11 - set in Mexico in 1969 where a lot of young adults are escaping to and engaging in the free flowing drug life. Hard to imagine this happening today. But the dangers are easy to imagine. Lots of folks die in this one.

Also interesting to read of the generational gap and communication issues.

Lastly, lots of interesting women and highly sexually active ones. Lady Rebecca Diven-Harrison is quite the lady.
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the characters, especially Travis McGee and his sidekick, the economist! Meyer, although their attitudes towards women, etc., are strictly Madmen sexist. The author's views seem to embrace 70's feminism, environmentalism, but his attitudes towards homosexuality seem to be that homosexual behavior is criminal, somehow. Nevertheless, the story is a page turner and when you find out whodunnit, it all sort of makes sense.
Jun 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is a great McGee read, the theme echoes of Manson era follies and escapades with the charismatic psycho leader (Rockland) leading young uns astray with drugs and sex, and a surprising twist in the end gives this one a 4 star for me,,,,JDM has the most unique writing style I have seen in this genre,, S. King cites him as a big influence , read King and you can see the similarities in the two , the way they weave that wordy web....
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty good entry in the Travis McGee series. The premise was a bit weak and I figured out part of the solution fairly early. But, like a lot of stories in this series, the solution is a combination of several related solutions and I only figured out one of 3 or 4 parts. It was entertaining and the ending was pretty good but the characters are not particularly likeable and the solution was less than tidy.
A wealthy friend of Travis McGee asks him to go to Mexico to find out about the final days of his daughter's life before she died in a car accident. The daughter had dropped out of school to move to Mexico with a group of 'hippies' (yes, it was the 60s). What he and his best friend Meyer find is not something a father would like to hear, but the trail leads to both predicable and surprising places.
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#11 in the Travis McGee series.

Travis McGee, and friend Meyer, travel to Mexico to research the last months of the life of Bix Bowie - the daughter of a crippled friend of Meyer. Their digging takes them on the trail of the 4 people Bix had traveled with, predators and druggies, to the ex-pat community in Oaxaca. Trav and Meyer have a romantic interlude with some secretaries from Guadalajara.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Travis McGee (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • The Deep Blue Good-By (Travis McGee, #1)
  • Nightmare in Pink (Travis McGee, #2)
  • A Purple Place for Dying (Travis McGee #3)
  • The Quick Red Fox (Travis McGee #4)
  • A Deadly Shade of Gold (Travis McGee #5)
  • Bright Orange for the Shroud (Travis McGee #6)
  • Darker Than Amber (Travis McGee #7)
  • One Fearful Yellow Eye (Travis McGee #8)
  • Pale Gray for Guilt (Travis McGee #9)
  • The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper (Travis McGee #10)

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“Old friend, there are people—young and old—that I like, and people that I do not like. The former are always in short supply. I am turned off by humorless fanaticism, whether it's revolutionary mumbo-jumbo by a young one, or loud lessons from scripture by and old one. We are all comical, touching, slapstick animals, walking on our hind legs, trying to make it a noble journey from womb to tomb, and the people who can't see it all that way bore hell out of me.” 14 likes
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