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A Tan and Sandy Silence, John D. MacDonald

Another Travis McGee book. This one seemed to take forever to get going, to set up the problem, and then as soon as you understood the problem, MacDonald popped you a good one, and the rest of the book was a catch-up from that moment. But that’s the simple “mystery” of this McGee novel, and as such is never that special. The attraction of McGee, at least in these later books, are MacDonald’s comments within them on the human condition, both specifically with regard to the Quixotish nature of McGee, as well as a general feeling of malaise which centers around money and violence. The McGee novels are as much about philosophy–ethics, particularly–as they are about mystery. Or maybe the point is that the philosophy is the mystery, and as we get to know McGee better, we understand more about his philosophy. I seem to remember the Spenser novels of Robert Parker to be similar to this as well. Are there other mystery series in which the character growth is as important, if not more so, than the particular story of the time?

[Finished 17 May 1993]


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