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The Long Lavender Look

(Travis McGee #12)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  3,925 ratings  ·  125 reviews
A lovely young girl steps in front of Travis McGee's headlights. McGee misses the girl but lands in ten feet of swamp water. As he's limping along the deserted road, someone in an old truck takes a few shots at him. And, when he goes to the local sheriff to complain, the intrepid Travis McGee finds himself arrested and charged with murder. And he can't help but ask ...more
Paperback, 318 pages
Published March 9th 1996 by Fawcett (first published 1970)
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 ·  3,925 ratings  ·  125 reviews

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James Thane
The twelfth Travis McGee novel finds McGee and his closest friend, Meyer, the economist, returning to Fort Lauderdale from a wedding. It's late at night; they've taken a wrong turn and are driving down a narrow road in Cypress County, out in the boondocks, trying to make their way back to the Tamiami Trail and home. Out of nowhere, a woman runs right out in front of Miss Agnes, McGee's venerable blue Rolls Royce pickup. McGee swerves and misses the woman by inches, but he loses control of the ...more
In one of the earlier Travis McGee books he and his best buddy Meyer are out fishing when someone dumps a woman off a bridge in front of them, and this gets them mixed up with a bunch of criminals. In this one a woman runs across the road which causes them to wreck and gets them involved in more murderous mayhem. These guys are like magnets for women randomly appearing and causing shit storms.

McGee and Meyer are driving home on a Florida back country road late at night after attending a wedding.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime, 2018, american
"The delusion of total freedom of will is the worst cage of all. And it gets cold in there."
- John D. MacDonald, The Long Lavender Look


It is always nice to return to a solid McGee novel. None are Shakespeare and the worst are like bad James Bond novels, but when MacDonald is on his game, he writes great narrative with interesting sidebars on economics, relationships, and people. This is the 12th of his Travis McGee novels and probably the 16th McGee I've read (I've got about 5 left). I've also
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you read a lot of Ross MacDonald, and also read the reviews of Ross MacDonald here on Goodreads, then the name of John D. MacDonald comes up a lot. An awful lot. Theyre two writers who find themselves jammed together not because they were both crime writers of the same generation, but simply because they had the same last name (Itd be interesting to know what John D. thought about that though, as he was the only one of the two who genuinely did have the last name MacDonald.) But and okay, Im ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 Stars. Excellent.

As usual with my reviews, please first read the publishers blurb/summary of the book. Thank you.

As best I can tell, there is no "Cypress County" in Florida.

Vintage Rolls Royce, "Miss Agnes" pickup truck

Full size image here

Betsy Kapp's Colt.38 Special

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I must say that McGee's and Betsy's plan here sounds pretty cockeyed to me.

McGee's .44 magnum carbine

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In the last pages of the book, a delightful old friend of McGee turns up at the
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
This one, #12, is the latest in my publication-order read of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series, which I somehow missed out on for the first 40 or so years of my life.

The series, with Trav as the philosophical bare-knuckle hero, is set up according to the normal tropes of the PI genre, except instead of being a PI McGee is a "salvage expert"--operating without a license, he helps people "recover lost property" and, if he's successful, takes 50% of the profit. I felt that the first in the
Feb 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Time was, I was a big fan of John D. MacDonald (he was still alive then). I believe I read all of the Travis McGee books, of which this is one. I also read Condominium, one of his attempts at literary fiction, and predictably it was a disappointment. The power of the McGee books is in the genre and in the attitude. Dirty dealings and benign cynicism.

Trav is a very 'Sixties hero, with parallels to James Bond. Like Bond, McGee is a garbage-collector of the vile detritus left behind by the world's
JSA Lowe
Ah, Trav. I like you more and more the more and more depressed and disillusioned you become. Also, women who want to have a drink with you should reconsider, because in sixty pages they're going to wind up trussed up somewhere like a Christmas goose, only naked and extremely dead. WOMEN, DO NOT DATE TRAVIS MCGEE, anyway not casually. (If you're invited to the Busted Flush for a three-month in Grand Cayman you're going to be fine, but apparently you gain a lot of weight and may get skin cancer ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, owned
Less social commentary in this one but also less slightly offensive remarks about women.
Henri Moreaux
The Long Lavender Look launches into the action with a dreary car trip back from a wedding turning bizarre with a woman running in front of their car causing Travis to look control and together with Meyer in the passenger seat they end up upside down in a roadside canal. Had that not been a weird enough night someone then takes some pot shots at them when walking back to town on the road, and finally in the morning when they get to a garage to arrange towing of the wrecked car the sheriff of a ...more
Benjamin Thomas
The 12th book in the Travis McGee series is, perhaps, my favorite so far. Thats saying something.

Travis and his pal Meyer are driving home from a wedding in Travis Rolls Royce pickup hes named Miss Agnes. Late at night in rural, backwater Cypress County of Florida, a brief flash of a young woman darts into the road causing Travis to lose control and end up upside down and underwater in a drainage canal. Meyer is able to fish him out safely, but Miss Agnes will need to be towed out. But as they
"The Long Lavender Look" is the twelfth book in the 21-book Travis McGee series about a guy who lives on a houseboat in the waters off of Florida and never holds a regular job. Instead, McGee lounges about on his boat, putters about, romances whatever lady drops by, and, once in a while, when he is short on funds, takes on a salvage assignment. Now, that doesn't mean that he dives under the sea for buried treasure. On the contrary, he takes on the wounded sparrows, the people who have been ...more
COUNTDOWN: Mid-20th Century North American Crime
BOOK 167 (of 250)
I've read these first 12 books in order and I like Travis very much. But...
HOOK - 4 stars: Travis and Meyer are traveling a dark road, a figure runs in front of them,and their car dives into the swamps. They walk all night to the nearest gas station, and are arrested for murder, jailed....and then things get bad. One of the best openings in the series.
PACE - 2: Oh, boy! This cast is huge. Travis and Meyer and good cops and bad
I'm considering myself lucky to be among the many readers savoring the "Travis McGee" adventures, and can't wait to read another exploit of his....... a salvage consultant philosopher McGee was just full of toughness, skill, and sensible character that'll keep you on the edge.

McGee was heading home with his best friend an Economist Meyer after attending a friend's wedding in Cypress County with "Miss Agness" ( an ancient rolls-royce car converted into a pick up)suddenly a young woman run into
Mar 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Chuck by: Phil Henry
I have enjoyed the John D. MacDonald mysteries that I have read to this point. This one, however, had a different setting and some very perverse people. I particularly enjoyed his bisecting his characters emotions and defining their motives, strengths and weaknesses. It's like he wanted to major in psychology, but decided that drinking and dating was easier. This story was a little too complicated and convuluted for me. It had twists and turns that seemed never to end. I enjoyed the book which ...more
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: macdonald
1 jun 15
#43 from macdonald for me, travis mcgee #12...though i think this is the 9th or 10th mcgee story for me. trying to read them sequentially but i just finished Pale Gray For Guilt and the next in line is not available yet. 'til then, this.
onward & upward.

3 jun 15
finished. good story. mcgee isn't trying to recover money for another in this one, although there is a vast sum of money involved, the armored car robbery loot. and this is another...i think the last i read was the same
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This would be my 12th McGee quest (that "amiable and incurable tilter of conformity, boat-bum Quixote, hopeless sucker for starving kittens, women in distress and large, loose sums of money") and even if the formula stays the same my enjoyment of the series just keeps getting better. Although I am starting to wonder if Trav is going start suffering future sexual hang-ups from the fact that almost every lady he beds seems to wind up dead...

I think the later novels might land a little flat for
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked everything about this one except Meyer's reduced role in the story. I was really enjoying his increased presence in the previous books. Hopefully there's more to come from him in the remaining nine books.

After the previous adventure, in Mexico, this story is entirely set back in Florida, and mostly in a rural central area, where McGee and Meyer narrowly miss running over a scantilly clad woman who crosses the road, dunping the beloved Rolls Royce pickup into the swamp. Then they are
Alonzo Church
May 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
I just dont like Travis McGee. He pontificates as he badly solves crimes. He bangs women indiscriminately as he complains about female morality. He hates the violence he causes. And everyone thinks he is such a swell upstanding beach bum, while acting the part of a self-appointed sybaritic moral scold:

In other words, he is the status conscious high school class president who gets all the dates while pretending he is a regular guy who ends up with a blessed life, the cheerleader, and six or seven
This Travis McGee reveals that JDM appreciates cats, and understands women and cops as well as he understands varieties of male personalities.

page 107 "She wrapped us in her compensatory aromas of fate, tragic romance, inevitable loneliness of human beings. She wept real tears for a variety of reasons. She made us both special people in a world of clods, because otherwise would have been merely a dining room hostess who had brought the tall stranger back home for what the British sometimes call
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
MacDonald is great - one in a long line of evolving mystery writers from Rex Stout forward to Randy Wayne White and more. Travis McGee, that "rugged, sexy Florida boat bum" is an intelligent, engaging detective, solving his crimes with a determination to do right. Light read that's lots of fun, and the good news is that there are a couple of dozen McGee books out there :-)
Mike Billington
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Travis McGee and his best friend Meyer are on their way home to Fort Lauderdale from a wedding on Florida's west coast when a naked woman dashes in front of their vehicle on a road in the middle of the Everglades, causing them to crash.
Now that's what I call a great way to open a mystery novel.
The late author John D. MacDonald created one of fiction's best protagonists when he came up with McGee. A big man, ruggedly handsome, and a Korean War combat veteran; McGee is not a detective. He is,
MisterLiberry Head
In the smallest hours of the morning on a dark swamp-country road, the beloved Miss Agnes blows out a tire and careens into a canal with McGee and Meyer on board. Lucky to escape the submerged Rolls Royce pickup truck, the jubilant but soaking-wet pair is inexplicably shot at from a passing vehicle by an unseen stranger. Then, the hard-ass local sheriff promptly locks up our two heroes as suspects for a hideous torture-murder. The ensuing mystery, especially as the corpses begin to pile up, is ...more
Aug 01, 2011 added it
I fell into this tale immediately! It opens with Travis and Meyer getting stranded on the Tamiami Trail (US-41), one of the two main highways that go through the Everglades. It reminded me a lot of the night after my first wedding. I was moving from Spring Hill on the west coast of FL to Ft Lauderdale on the east coast. Eric was driving my '72 Nova through Alligator Alley (I-75, the other way through the Everglades) when, overloaded with my possessions and pushed into the red, it overheated and ...more
Richard Bradley
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone.
Recommended to Richard Bradley by: Personal experience.
Travis McGee!!! Automatic 5 stars!!!

That's what I said when I started reading it. Sure enough, now that I'm done with it: genuine 5-star John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee in 1970.

*maybe a very useful talent was fading, my ability to sense what people were after-what made them struggle and what made them give up
*it looked as if all the far cities of the world were burning
*trashy folk, running in a pack with the other trash
*cruelty itself is a philosophical abstraction

I'm not going to tell you what
Mackenzie Brown
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Book 13 in the Travis McGee series.

McGee and Meyer take a short cut through Cypress County on the way home from a stay over with a friend, and find themselves in jail for the murder of a local man. When they're eventually released, Meyer is flown home to have injuries he sustained in Police custody taken care of, but McGee is asked to stay within the jurisdiction and he makes good use of his free time, to look into the murky goings on in the unfriendly city. He soon finds himself up to his
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books-read
When Lee Child writes the introduction, and Stephen King praises the author as "the great entertainer of our age and a mesmerizing storytellers," it's a good chance the book will pull in the stars. Travis McGee gets caught up in a caper in an insular county in Florida, and must solve his way out of several murders. I came across this book in a new published series from the now long gone master.
David Weinfeld
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reread twice. Enjoyed both times very much. Travis gets in trouble in hick town and has to work very hard to get out of jail. Two crooked cops and a blackmailed chief all involved in a cop run escort service with pre=arrestees black-mailed into prostitution.
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great story - definitely one of the best in the series. Fearless MacDonald is even brave enough to feature a talking cat. (Ok-he can only say his name, Raoul.) Raoul isn't the only fascinating character in this beauty of a tale.
Chad Malkamaki
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are always going to be the issues of the characters being dated by contemporary readers, but I feel that MacDonald and the character of Travis McGee have gotten better with each book. One of the better plots in the series so far.
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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. He served in the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations. ...more

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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