A runaway bride became practically a cliché of romantic comedies:
This time it is a little different: a young wife left her husband right during the first days of their honeymoon without any explanation. Before people start throwing around accusations of domestic abuse - which became another cliché lately - I need to say that no, the guy was nice to his spouse. Anyhow, the devastated guy literally stumbled upon Lew Archer who took pity of him and promised to take a look around trying to find the escapee and figure out her motivations.
I can sum up everything I think about this novel in just one short word, "Wow!" This is actually exactly what I said right after I turned over the last page. The novel has practically everything I expect from a good mystery: a good mystery (sorry for a bad pun), countless plot twists that were still possible to keep track of, interesting cast of people most of whom had some skeletons in the past. The said skeletons were interconnected with those of other people's in the bizarre and unexpected ways.
I was able to solve the mystery at the same time as Archer did - to be fair it happened practically on the last page. I really hate it when the identity of the culprit becomes obvious in the middle of the book with the second half of it spent on investigator running around like a headless chicken. The ability to solve the mystery with clues given is a nice bonus.
All in all this is the best novel of the series so far. At this point I am sure I will finish the series even if the following books would be much weaker; I know Ross Macdonald really can deliver. The final rating is 4.5 stars