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The Library of America Publishes Ross Macdonald

Sunday, March 27th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Ross Macdonald Four Novels of the 1950s-small Ross Macdonald Three Novels of the Early 1950s-small

The Library of America has been busy as all get-out recently, pumping out archival quality omnibus volumes of Kurt Vonnegut, Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Philip K. Dick, H. P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, David Goodis, and other 20th Century genre authors. The latest beneficiary of all this attention is hardboiled crime fiction writer Kenneth Millar, who published under the name Ross Macdonald.

The first volume, Ross Macdonald: Four Novels of the 1950s, packed in four novels featuring popular private detective Lew Archer:

The Way Some People Die (1951)
The Barbarous Coast (1956)
The Doomsters (1958)
The Galton Case (1959)

Here’s a look at the original paperback editions (click for bigger images).

The Way Some People Die June 1977 - cover by Mitchell Hooks-small The Barbarous Coast-small The Doomsters-small The Galton Case-small

Ross Macdonald: Four Novels of the 1950s was published by Library of America on April 28, 2015. It is 900 pages, priced at $37.50 in hardcover. There is no digital edition.

Ross Macdonald: Three Novels of the Early 1960s will arrive next month. It contains:

The Zebra-Striped Hearse (1962)
The Chill (1964)
The Far Side of the Dollar (1965)

You won’t be surprised to learn that these three had many paperback editions as well. Here’s a sample:

The Zebra Striped Hearse-small The Chill Ross Macdonald-small The Far Side of the Dollar-small

Ross Macdonald: Three Novels of the Early 1960s will be published by Library of America on April 19, 2016. It is 784 pages, priced at $35 in hardcover. There is no digital edition.

Our previous coverage of Library of America includes:

Kurt Vonnegut: Novels 1987-1997
The Library of America Publishes Elmore Leonard
A Princess of Mars and Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s, edited by Gary K. Wolfe
American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny, edited by Peter Straub

See all of our recent New Treasures here.


  1. I read some of the Lew Archer novels (including, I think, THE WAY SOME PEOPLE DIE) many years ago, with considerable enjoyment.

    Hard to keep all the mystery-writing Macdonalds straight, mind you!

    By the way, that’s not the first edition cover of THE WAY SOME PEOPLE DIE … no way that’s from 1951! I couldn’t find a 1951 copy, but this page at Abebooks has a 1956 British edition:

    Comment by Rich Horton - March 28, 2016 8:35 am

  2. Yeah, I probably should have been more careful in my phrasing. The Lew Archer books had a variety of paperback editions over the years (US and British, hardcover and paperback), and I tried to capture a sample of sampling of different eras.

    I like that British cover quite a bit, but it didn’t seem as representative as the Bantam cover.

    Comment by John ONeill - March 28, 2016 11:14 am

  3. I recently re-read The Zebra-Striped Hearse and was reminded how much I like his books. As much as I like the Library of America volumes, when it comes to reading, I’d rather have the paperbacks.

    Comment by R.K. Robinson - March 28, 2016 11:30 am

  4. I had all of those Bantam editions with the great Mitchell Hooks covers. My favorite Archer is The Chill; I just reread it last year, over thirty years after first reading it, and found it just as good as before.

    Comment by Thomas Parker - March 28, 2016 12:06 pm

  5. I find MacDonald’s writing style a bit cumbersome and I gave up after a couple Archer books. Most of my hard boiled friends love his stuff, so that puts me in the minority. But I just never got into reading them.

    John MacDonald was not happy that Millar did the name change for his books!

    Comment by Bob Byrne - March 28, 2016 3:43 pm

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