"Black Money" is the first novel I've read by Ross Macdonald and it most certainly will not be the last.
The book features Private Investigator Lew Archer, who is hired to look into the background of a Frenchman who has stolen Archer's client's girlfriend. Things are not quite as simple as they appear on the surface and in the course of his investigation Archer meets a large number of interesting characters, some with a hidden secret or two. The Detective begins to wonder if current events somehow tie into an apparent suicide seven years earlier.
What I liked about Lew Archer was his humanity: he was genuinely concerned about, and sympathetic to, unfortunate people who crossed his path, rather than ridiculing them for their obvious deficiencies. There was none of the macho nonsense that is sometimes prevalent when reading P.I. novels. Archer came across as an all round compassionate guy, reminding me in some ways of the James Lee Burke character - Dave Robicheaux.
I'm glad I stumbled across Ross Macdonald and hopefully it'll be possible to track down some of the other books in the Archer series.