John D. MacDonald


The Deep Blue Good-by (1964)

Anthologies: Murder by Magic (2004)

The Deep Blue Good-by

The Deep Blue Good-BySynopsis:
Travis McGee works when he is running low on money. He finds things for people, that they might not otherwise be able to get back, then keeps half the value of what he recovers. He’s between jobs and enjoying his relaxed life on his boat when a friend asks him to help out someone she works with. Someone who’s ex-boyfriend asked lots of questions about the fortune her father supposedly came home from the war with, then disappears only to return later flashing a whole lot of money.

First off, this book was written in the early 60s, so things are a lot different than they are now. Unfortunately, the things that are most strikingly different are not the technology or the investigating (in many was the story could easily have been set in current times without much in the way of changes) but in the way women are presented and treated. The fact that the setting could easily be modern was what made this so jarring to me. Reading a book set in Victorian England or even during WWII, one expects the attitude towards women to be radically different from what it is now, and in fact a modern mindset often feels extremely out of place.

But in a setting that feels modern, the attitudes kept throwing me out of the story.

So despite it being an interesting and well-written story, it just didn’t particularly work for me, perhaps because we’re not yet far enough away from that time for the attitudes to see foreign or amusing.
Rating: 6/10