"ROSS MACDONALD REMAINS THE GRANDMASTER, TAKING THE CRIME NOVEL TO NEW HEIGHTS": FIRST EDITION OF THE BLUE HAMMER, MACDONALD'S FINAL LEW ARCHER NOVEL
(MILLAR, Kenneth) MACDONALD, Ross. The Blue Hammer. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976. Octavo, original half black cloth, original dust jacket. $350.
First edition of Macdonald's 18th Lew Archer novel, the culmination of his award-winning detective series, praised as "a perfect example of the power and potential of the murder story."
To noted critic Frank MacShane, Macdonald remains "one of the best writers of his generation." Writing of Blue Hammer, Macdonald's 18th Lew Archer mystery and his 24th novel overall, MacShane called it "a perfect example of the power and potential of the murder story… and I could not help but think of Ford Madox Ford's Good Soldier." To Julian Symons the novel was "in some ways the peak of MacDonald's achievement. His colleague H.R.F. Keating, including Blue Hammer in 1987's Crime & Mystery: The 100 Best Books, echoed Symons in thinking it a peak achievement for Macdonald." The same year Blue Hammer was published, however, Macdonald was already showing signs of Alzheimer's. He died in July 1983 at the age of 67. In addition to William Goldman, other writers who credit Macdonald as a fundamental inspiration include Robert B. Parker, Sara Peretsky, James Ellroy, Sue Grafton, Jerome Charyn, Thomas Berger and Jonathan Kellerman, who wrote of him in 1990: "Let's be honest: Ross Macdonald remains the grandmaster, taking the crime novel to new heights… Those of us in his wake owe a debt that can never be paid" (Nolan, 372-73, 413-14; emphasis in original). "First edition" stated on copyright page. Reilly, 987-89. Magill, 1135-40. Bruccoli & Layman, 244. Hubin II:I,527. Steinbrunner & Penzler, 262-63.
A fine copy.