"THE FINEST WRITER OF 'HARD-BOILED' DETECTIVE STORIES SINCE DASHIELL HAMMETT": FIRST EDITION OF MACDONALD'S FOURTH LEW ARCHER NOVEL, THE IVORY GRIN
(MACDONALD, Ross) MACDONALD, John Ross. The Ivory Grin. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1952. Octavo, original orange and white paper-covered boards, original dust jacket. $1800.
First edition of the "best of the early Lew Archer novels" by Ross Macdonald, published by Knopf under his early pseudonym of John Ross Macdonald.
"The beautifully written, haunting, psychologically dense detective novels by Ross Macdonald are among the most highly acclaimed works in modern American popular literature… perhaps the most successful example of an author transcending his pulp origins while remaining essentially a part of that original pulp tradition" (Server, Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction, 185). The Ivory Grin, Macdonald's fourth Lew Archer novel, published under an early pseudonym of John Ross Macdonald, is widely seen as "the best of the early Lew Archer novels" (Pronzini & Muller, 1001 Midnights, 524-5). Written while he was working to complete and defend his doctoral dissertation on Coleridge, it was influenced by Nelson Algren's Man with the Golden Arm. On publication Anthony Boucher emphasized his sense of Macdonald as "the finest writer of 'hard-boiled' private detective stories since Dashiell Hammett. The Ivory Grin copiously confirms that belief" (New York Times Book Review). Ross Macdonald's first four novels appeared under his birth name of Kenneth Millar. Moving Target, his first Lew Archer book, appeared under the pseudonym of John Macdonald, his father's first two names. The next six novels were issued under the name of John Ross Macdonald to separate his works from those of John D. MacDonald. Millar settled on the pseudonym of Ross Macdonald with publication of The Barbarous Coast (1956). "First Edition" stated on copyright page. Bruccoli, Checklist, 17-18. Reilly, 987-989. Hubin II:I, 527. Magill III:1134-1140. Bruccoli & Layman, 243. Barzun & Taylor 2314.
Book fine; slight rubbing to spine head, faint toning to spine of near-fine dust jacket.