I’m always torn between marking email from Amazon as ‘junk’ and not. Most of the time the recommendations are wide of the mark, but occasionally something sneaks through that really hits the sweet spot. Today it is a nod from the American branch of the business that tells me I might be interested in the imminent publication of Ross Macdonald’s ‘The Ferguson Affair’. Well, gee, let me think now... That would be a ‘yes’!
It is some years since I embarked on a ferocious Macdonald reading spree, but really, those Lew Archer stories remain way up top of my ranking of the greats. If it weren’t for the stacks of Max Allan Collins’ ‘Quarry’ novels and the next batch of the re-issued Richard Stark ‘Parker’ stories in my ‘to be read’ pile, I would be sorely tempted to start the Archer series again from the start. Something for the depths of winter perhaps?
Now ‘The Ferguson Affair’ is not an Archer story, but by all accounts it might as well be, and that is a fine thing. Well, anything by Macdonald is going to be classy isn’t it? I notice that the publishers are also due to reprint his ‘Meet Me At The Morgue’ (due for December this year, so maybe my notion of having a wintery Macdonald spree is fitting). I picked up an old paperback copy of this on eBay back when I was in the depths of my addiction, and it’s a great read. And whilst the new Black Lizard series’ covers look very classy with their black and white photography and single colour splash, there is something about those old pulp covers that is impossible to beat.