It begins as a story told countless number of times starting from the dawn of the history of humanity: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with her, and a tall dark mysterious stranger appears and takes the girl away from the boy. In this case the boy happens to have some spare money to spend on a private investigator who is none other than Lew Archer. The former is sure the tall, dark, and mysterious Frenchman is a phony. While he knows is would be impossible to get the girl back, he still wants to prevent her from making a big mistake, so Archer is to expose a supposedly false Frenchman. Seemingly harmless investigation soon takes a very dark turn - again and again:
When it comes to classic noir one of the staples of the genre is to have a bleak depressing ending. From the top of my head I can think of only one exception to this: Red Harvest by Dashiel Hammett. While its ending cannot be qualified for Happily Ever After by any stretch of imagination, at least it is somewhat
optimistic. Following this criteria this book most definitely fits into noir. It has the most depressing ending of all the books in the series so far. If you think you know how it ends before reading let me assure you: this is Ross Macdonald book we are talking about which means you will not be able to predict what will happen due to a usual high number plot twists, red herrings, etc.
While this novel is not as good as eleventh installment of the series (The Chill) which I consider to be the best, it still holds very well on its own. The rating is 4 solid stars