Monday, July 31, 2017

The Moving Target by Ross MacDonald

(pb; 1949: first book in the Lew Archer series)

From the back cover

"Like many Southern California millionaires, Ralph Sampson keeps odd company. There's the sun-worshipping holy man whom Sampson once gave his very own mountain; the fading actress with sidelines in astrology and S&M. Now one of Sampson's friends may have arranged his kidnapping.

"As Lew Archer follows the clues from the canyon sanctuaries of the megarich to jazz joints where you get beaten up between sets, The Moving Target blends sex, greed, and family hatred into an explosively readable crime novel."


Moving is a lean, tightly plotted and fast-moving P.I. novel with snappy dialogue, underlying sexual tension and quick-sketch, sketchy characters. It is excellent, dark and worth owning. Followed by The Drowning Pool.


The resulting film, Harper, was released stateside on April 9, 1966. It was directed by Jack Smight, from a screenplay by William Goldman.

Paul Newman played Lew Harper, the cinematic counterpart to Lew Archer. Lauren Bacall played Mrs. Sampson. Arthur Hill played Albert Graves. Janet Leigh played Susan Harper.

Pamela Tiffin played Miranda Sampson. Robert Wagner played Allan Taggert. Julie Harris played Betty Fraley. Tom Steele played Eddie Fraley. 

Robert Webber played Dwight Troy. Shelley Winters played Fay Estabrook. Roy Jenson played Puddler. Strother Martin played Claude.

Eugene Inglesias played Felix. Richard Carlyle played Fred Platt. Harold Gould played "Sheriff".

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