cover image It’s All One Case: The Illustrated Ross Macdonald Archives

It’s All One Case: The Illustrated Ross Macdonald Archives

Paul Nelson and Kevin Avery. Fantagraphics, $44.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-60699-888-5

This cornucopia of vintage book jackets, magazine excerpts, manuscript pages, foreign press variants, and rare photographs related to Ross Macdonald (1915–1983) is certain to please fans of Macdonald’s brooding, tragic detective novels. The marvelous graphics—32 images are devoted to just the Lew Archer novel The Ivory Grin, for example—adorn a massive, 47-hour interview between Macdonald and the late music critic Nelson. The interview, conducted in 1976, remained unpublished until rescued from oblivion by scholar Avery. Macdonald, who became a bestselling author only in the final eight years of his celebrated career, had just seen the publication of what would be his final Lew Archer novel, The Blue Hammer. He was already experiencing early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, from which he would eventually die. This handsome, well-designed volume, with the Nelson interview revealing Macdonald’s most personal thoughts and philosophy about a life spent writing, is an unmitigated triumph. (Oct.)