"ROSS MACDONALD INHERITED HAMMETT'S VISION AND HONORED IT": PRESENTATION FIRST EDITION OF MACDONALD'S GALTON CASE, INSCRIBED IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION BY HIM
(MILLAR, Kenneth) MACDONALD, Ross. The Galton Case. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1959. Octavo, original red and white paper-covered boards, original dust jacket. $3500.
First edition of a major turning point in Macdonald's hard-boiled Lew Archer series, published under Kenneth Millar's best known pseudonym of Ross Macdonald, a scarce presentation copy inscribed by him in the year of publication as "Ken" to his Santa Barbara his friends and neighbors, "March 1959 For Willard and Pidge, affectionatly [sic] Ken," a seminal work heralded as his "major contribution to the form" (Loren D. Estleman), in original dust jacket.
Galton Case is "one of the best Lew Archer" novels (Barzun & Taylor 2311). To his biographer Tom Nolan, Galton is particularly important as "the first of Macdonald's mature works… books that belong with the best American mystery fiction… 'I still think Galton is the finest thing he ever did,' Donald Davie said 30 years later. 'Very very profound and moving fiction indeed.'" To mystery writer Loren D. Estleman, Galton is "'Macdonald's 'major contribution to the form.' He himself rightly saw this 8th Archer novel as a turning point in his work. The seed of Galton was a sentence in one of his notebooks: 'Oedipus killed his father because he banished him from the kingdom.' Macdonald's contemporary reinvention of the ancient tale… turns upon multiple questions of inheritance and identity" (Nolan, Ross Macdonald, 191-95). On publication James Sandoe called Galton one of the finest expressions of Macdonald's brilliance: "difficult to describe save by saying that the last page leads one back to the first all over again" (New York Herald Tribune). To Richard Layman, "Ross Macdonald inherited Hammett's vision and honored it… Macdonald, assured by the awareness of his place in a literary tradition, has achieved what Hammett imagined" (in Sipper, ed. Inward Journey, 141-2). "First Edition" stated on copyright page. Bruccoli, Checklist 31-2. Magill, 1135-40. Reilly, 987-89. Bruccoli & Layman, 243. Steinbrunner & Penzler, 262-63. Hubin II:I,527. The recipients, Willard and Pidge, were Macdonald's Santa Barbara friends and neighbors, and there is a character named Pidge in another Macdonald book.
Book fine; light edge-wear, small closed tear to rear panel of colorful near-fine dust jacket.