"MACDONALD MASTERED THE HARD-BOILED DETECTIVE FORM": FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST LEW ARCHER NOVEL ISSUED UNDER THE PSEUDONYM OF ROSS MACDONALD, THE BARBAROUS COAST, SIGNED BY ROSS MACDONALD
(MILLAR, Kenneth) MACDONALD, Ross. The Barbarous Coast. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956. Octavo, original orange and white paper-covered boards, original dust jacket. $3200.
First edition of the first Lew Archer novel published under Kenneth Millar's best-known pseudonym of Ross Macdonald, signed by him as Ross Macdonald.
"Revered by such contemporary masters as Sue Grafton, George Pelecanos and James Ellroy, praised by Eudora Welty as 'a more serious and complex writer than Chandler and Hammett ever were,' Ross Macdonald (the pseudonym of Kenneth Millar) brought to the crime novel a new realism and psychological depth and a unique gift for intricately involving mystery narratives… Macdonald mastered the hard-boiled detective form early on and brought to it a prose style of extraordinary beauty" (Nolan, Library of America). The Barbarous Coast, the first Lew Archer novel issued under the pseudonym of Ross Macdonald and his eighth Lew Archer novel, takes his detective into a sinister world of corruption and murder in Hollywood film studios. On publication "Anthony Boucher told his New York Times readers that 'no rational enthusiast of the detective story (or indeed of the novel) should think of missing a word of Ross Macdonald.''' James Sandoe of the New York Herald Tribune hailed the decision to issue Coast as the first work "under the new 'Ross Macdonald' name, because it showed… 'a manner that is quite admirably his own'" (Nolan, Ross Macdonald, 172). Macdonald's detective novels profoundly "changed their genre and changed the way readers saw the world" (New York Times). 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, 27-28. Reilly, 987-989. Hubin II:I, 527. Bruccoli & Layman, 243. Magill III:1134-1140.
Book quite fresh with initial blank showing mild restoration to trace of erasure; dust jacket bright. An about-fine signed copy.