Two years before putting together this 1984 anthology, MacDonald published what amounted to a first volume of some his early stories that had been published in various pulp fiction magazines. This anthology, __MORE GOOD OLD STUFF__ is a second volume of those stories. The 14 stories published here and the roughly equivalent number in the first book were culled out of several hundred stories he had written and seen published during the hey-day of the pulp fiction and detective magazines. The publication dates of the stories included here range from 1946 to 1949. I mention this because one of my pet peeves when reading anthologies is having to guess the era in which the story took place. Here, MacDonald not only gives us the year of publication, but the name of the magazine in which it was published, and it's title at the time of publication. (As is their wont, magazine publishers frequently don't use the author's title but give stories and articles titles that they, the publishers prefer. Here, MacDonald uses his original titles, but, as mentioned above, gives us the publisher's title in the index.)
The pulps and detective fiction magazines provided a great place for a young "wannabe" writer to get a start. Many of those authors, like MacDonald, went on to become well known authors, and they have the pulps to thank for their start.
The stories here hint at MacDonald's potential as an author, but, read in today's somewhat more sophisticated world, often feel contrived and stilted.
A few of the stories that I found compelling were:
"You Remember Jeanie," in which a drunk ex-policemen keeps coming back to the bar where his girlfriend, Jeanie, was murdered, accompanied, in his mind, by the murdered woman whom he always buys a drink. In this one, MacDonald slips in a surprise ending that I, for one, didn't see coming.
"I Accuse Myself," in which a man who has suffered memory loss due to head trauma gradually recovers his memory, and as it comes back sees something that causes him to confess to a murder. His confession is much more revealing than he could ever imagine.
"Deadly Damsel," in which a woman marries men with the intent of living with them until she gets bored and then making sure that they have some sort of fatal accident. Always, of course, leaving her better off financially than she was before. Her only mistake is falling in love, not a good thing for a would be serial murderess!
In a couple of the stories, there were so many plot quirks and twists that I couldn't quite keep up with who was whom and who was doing what to whom. A few others were just so stilted that they didn't work for me.
Overall, I did enjoy this anthology, and I found it interesting to get an insight into the early stages of the developmen of an author whose later books, particularly the Travis McGee mysteries, I have enjoyed.