Classic Corner Review: The Moving Target – Ross Macdonald

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (March 3, 1998)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 037570146X
ISBN-13: 978-0375701467
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Lew Archer – Private Eye
Alan Taggart – Pilot for Ralph Simpson.


Lew Archer is hired by the wife of Ralph Simpson to find him. He went on a business trip with Alan Taggart and disappeared.


A beautiful noir style mystery featuring a tough talking private eye in the vein of Phillip Marlowe or Sam Spade. The settings, prose, and vivid descriptions brought the 1940s time period to life. Along the way to discovering and finding Ralph Simpson, Lew gets banged up, shot at, and pretty much everything you’d expect of a man in his business.

The characters are beautifully by crafted by a man considered to be a master of the craft. This was my first experience with Mr. McDonald’s work, but I definitely intend to follow up and read more of his body of work.

I’d say due to language and the events in the novel, that it would be rated PG for mid teens and adults. Most of the stuff you’d see in any 1940s B&W Gangster film, but some parents may object. If your a fan of hard boiled detectives, by all means pick up this book, I really think you’ll find a lot to enjoy in it. Stop back by and let us know what you thought if you do read it.

About the Author

Ross Macdonald’s real name was Kenneth Millar. Born near San Francisco in 1915 and raised in Ontario, Millar returned to the United States as a young man and published his first novel in 1944.

He served as the president of the Mystery Writers of America and was awarded their Grand Master Award as well as the Mystery Writers of Great Britain’s Gold Dagger Award. He died in 1983.

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One Response to “Classic Corner Review: The Moving Target – Ross Macdonald”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    In studying the Lew Archer novels of Ross Macdonald I’ve tried to identify certain characteristics, themes, motifs, images – call them what you like – that crop up frequently throughout the various books. I don’t claim that the following are particularly important or have any special significance or meaning; nor do I say this is a comprehensive list.