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The Good Old Stuff [Hardcover]

John D. MacDonald

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Book Description

Sep 1982

From the author of the world-famous Travis McGee thrillers, thirteen of John D. MacDonald's earliest and best crime and mystery stories brought together in one volume.

Written at the beginning of his career and originally published in American magazines only, these stories give us a taste of MacDonald's early achievements and show the range of his skill in the realm of mystery and thriller writing.

'Sharp, taut, realistic . . . an impressive selection' Times

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; First Edition edition (Sep 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002227061
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002227063
  • ASIN: 0060150386
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,431,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Book Description

'The great entertainer of our age and a mesmerizing storyteller' Stephen King --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

John D. MacDonald was born in Pennsylvania and married Dorothy Prentiss in 1937, graduating from Syracuse University the following year and receiving an MBA from Harvard in 1939. It was Dorothy who was responsible for the publication of his first work, when she submitted a short story that he had sent home while on military service. It was initially rejected by Esquire but went on to be published by Story magazine - and so began MacDonald's writing career. One of the best-loved and most successful of all the masters of hard-boiled crime and suspense, John D. Macdonald was producing brilliant fiction long after many of his contemporaries had been forgotten, and is still highly regarded today. The Executioners, possibly the best known of his non-series novels, was filmed as Cape Fear in 1962 and 1991, but many of the crime thrillers he produced between 1953 and 1964 are considered masterpieces, and he drew praise from such literary greats as Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King, who declared him to be 'the great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller'. His novels are often set in his adopted home of Florida, including those featuring his famous series character Travis McGee, which appeared between 1964 and 1985. He served as president of the Mystery Writers of America and in 1972 was elected a Grand Master, an honour granted only to the greatest crime writers of their generation, including Ross MacDonald, John Le Carré and P. D. James. He won many awards throughout his long career, and was the only mystery writer ever to win the National Book Award, for The Green Ripper. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
By RSProds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Five Stars!! John D. MacDonald could have gone in several directions in life (Wharton School of Finance and Harvard MBA graduate) and in literature ("Ballroom of the Skies" was great SciFi). But he followed up on this mystery direction, writing many "noir"-ish stories that became pulp fiction (Dime Detective magazine, Night Watch magazine, Detective Tales..) to hone his already considerable skills as shown in this 1985 paperbook. These 13 murder/mystery stories are excellent and not dated very much. And they are riveting because we can see elements of Travis McGee all over the place. Not a one refers to any colors in it's title, but the titles are grand: "Death Writes The Answer", "Breathe No More", "From Some Hidden Grave". But not as grand as the original titles "The Lady is a Corpse" and "This One Will Kill You". Noir all the way. But JDM acknowledges that he got a break that his pulp fiction brethren didn't get. Thank Goodness!!

My personal copy of this paperback is dog-eared to the extent that no dog would chew on it, but it's readable with a good spine. And I keep it around like a fine old wine, reading and re-reading a few stories at a time over long periods and putting it back on the shelf for another time, usually following a great, brisk Travis McGee novel. My favorite, "Murder in Mind", with not one but two McGee prototypes in the same story. I love this stuff and that's why I bought it and keep it. Five Big "Tarantino" Stars for the JDM version of Pulp Fiction!

(Note: there is another anthology called "More Good Old Stuff". Also there are over 20 Travis McGee novels with colorized titles like my favorite title, "The Dreadful Lemon Sky," and some really nifty ladies conjured up by JDM, but they really need to bring back the unusual pre-McGee novel "On The Run" with some truly memorable characters and situations.)
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All the stories have been altered. 12 May 2011
By Michael G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Before John D. MacDonald achieved great commercial success and critical acclaim as the author of hardcover novels, he was best known for writing paperback originals. And before that, he made his living writing short stories for various pulp magazines. The Good Old Stuff, published in 1982, contains 13 such stories culled from various detective and mystery magazines. These stories were all originally published between 1947 and 1952.
The quality of the stories ranges from moderately entertaining to completely inane. Readers familiar with MacDonald's work will realize that even back then he was a much better writer than these 13 stories would indicate. Clearly, he was purposely writing beneath his skill level in order to meet the expectations of the magazine editors.
In the author's forward, MacDonald makes it clear that he decided to alter these stories in order to make them more accessible to readers in 1982. All 13 stories have been revised and many of them have been "updated". So, you will find yourself reading a story that has an unmistakable 1940s sensibility about it when, suddenly, you will be confronted with talk of such latter day subject matter as transistor radios, Amtrak, The War in Vietnam, The Johnny Carson Show, etc. I found this timeframe hybridization to be both disquieting and distracting.
As I see it, the only reason for reading this book would be to sample what MacDonald wrote in the early days before he became famous. But since every story has been revised, that's not what the reader gets.
Not recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love the short story format you need to read this. 18 July 2014
By William Benninghoven - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The title says it all. Some of the best short stories of John D. Macdonald.
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