Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Drowning pool - Ross Macdonald

I have a new phone, I don't understand what it does, can't stop it doing whatever it is it does, and have
somehow spent all afternoon and evening on trying to master it, my hope is that I'll have figured out how to set the alarm on it before I go to sleep tonight. I must be getting old because things like this just baffle me now.

None of which has anything to do with Ross Macdonald's 'The Drowning Pool' but it feels good to share. I've read a few Macdonald's now and he's always enjoyable though in the nicest possible way a little bit formulaic - or at least heavily reliant on common themes between books, which if less intelligently handled might get tiresome. As it is he makes them work, and for me, never better than here (at least not in my reading so far). 

Lew Archer meets another attractive older woman with a troubled marriage to a man who isn't quite what he seems to be, and some issues with a mother in law and daughter. There are some particularly good one liners, and an sticky situation that looks particularly bad for Archer until he extracts himself in a way that would do Bond proud. 

I think the physcology of this book works better than in some of the others I've read, or at least it certainly works better for me. This is a massive spoiler but it turns out that the husband is gay. He married his wife, the attractive older blonde, partly in an attempt to deny his sexuality - it was her job to save him from himself. She married him because she was pregnant (not his child). Sixteen years later it's not looking good. The marriage is tense, the mother in law holds the purse strings and she holds them tightly so when she drowns in the swimming pool it's almost a relief. Matters are further complicated by the unhealthy mutual attraction between father and step daughter. It's Macdonald's habit to have events from the past, the sins of the father's if you will, come back to haunt the next generation - in this case because it's a simple thing - a bad marriage it makes sense. The identity of the killer came as a surprise, and a shock, but it made sense.

In the end murder and the nasty reasons behind it are still a lot simpler than trying to get to grips with a new mobile phone which has me worried. 

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