Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer: Three Decades of California Cool

by Sharon Tucker

Detective novels set in California---particularly San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara (or Santa Teresa) are particularly attractive to us in the rest of the country. What makes them seem out of the ordinary involves both the paradise syndrome of the California that exists only in our imaginations, as well as the schadenfreude we experience as the underside of the great Hollywood dream factory is lovingly detailed in fiction ---especially detective fiction.