"THE SUCCESSOR TO RAYMOND CHANDLER AND DASHIELL HAMMETT": RARE FIRST EDITION OF FAMED CRIME WRITER ROSS MACDONALD'S ELUSIVE FIRST NOVEL, DARK TUNNEL, PUBLISHED UNDER HIS BIRTH NAME OF KENNETH MILLAR, INSCRIBED AND TWICE SIGNED BY HIM AS KENNETH MILLAR
(MACDONALD, Ross) MILLAR, Kenneth. The Dark Tunnel. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1944. Octavo, original red cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
First edition of the first novel by Macdonald, renowned for his Lew Archer detective novels and a writer whose "influence on a generation of mystery writers was profound" (New York Times), the first of only four novels published under his birth name of Kenneth Millar prior to adopting the pen name of Ross Macdonald, inscribed by him, "Best wishes to R— W— , Kenneth Millar," additionally signed by him on the title page.
At his death in 1983 Kenneth Millar, writing as Ross Macdonald, "was the best-known and most highly regarded crime-fiction writer in America… Some critics ranked Macdonald among the best American novelists of his generation" (New York Times). Known for his Lew Archer novels, Macdonald "is regarded as the successor to Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett." His first novel, Dark Tunnel, is the first of only four novels issued under his birth name, Kenneth Millar. He adopted the pen names of John Macdonald and John Ross Macdonald before taking the name of Ross Macdonald. Dark Tunnel, written while he was working on a doctorate at the University of Michigan, was hailed on publication "as the debut of an important new novelist in the suspense field. The Boston Globe called it 'breathtaking,' the New Republic said it was 'a humdinger,' the New York Times described it as 'a thrilling story told with consummate skill'… the praise was justified. Few first novels of any type are as polished, professional and powerful as this one."
Written in the hard-boiled tradition, Dark Tunnel adds "elements of the literary, the scholarly, the lyrical… Like all of Macdonald's work, it is a novel of insight, ambition and social commentary disguised as pure entertainment… a tribute to the talent and vision of Kenneth Millar and his alter ego, Ross Macdonald" (Bill Pronzini). "By any standard Macdonald was remarkable… His influence on a generation of mystery writers was profound" (New York Times). Bruccoli Checklist, 1-2. Bruccoli & Layman, 243. Hubin II:573. Reilly, 987. Magill III:1134-1140.
Book fine; only lightest edge-wear to bright dust jacket. A splendid about-fine copy, rare inscribed.