MacDonald vs. McDonald

Within the last couple of years, I read a piece on why John D. McDonald is still in print and Ross MacDonald is not. Something to do with the hipness of John D.’s Travis McGee outlasting the psychological depths and family secrets unearthed by Ross’s Lew Archer.

But the world has turned again. I see in the Globe & Mail that Vintage is reprinting two of Ross MacDonald’s books.

For those of us who admire Ross, and see him as heir to the Hammett and Chandler tradition, this is good news. You don’t have to read the entire opus, but Ross was excellent at writing stories that seemed to go back and back and back into people’s lives. He could also be brilliant at setting a scene with a few lines.

For those of us living north of the 49th parallel, we can take a certain pride in the years he spent in Kitchener. His real name was Kenneth Millar. Ross MacDonald a pseudonym to avoid confusion with his wife, the mystery writer Margaret Millar