Wednesday, the 14th of July, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

Today’s book is The Doomsters by Ross Macdonald, a ‘hardboiled’ detective novel from the 1950s. The Doomsters is book 7 in the Lew Archer series of books by Macdonald. Lew Archer is a tough but humane private detective who solves cases in Southern California. His name, wikipedia tells us, came from a combination of Sam Spade’s partner Miles Archer, and Lew Wallace but the character was on the lines of Philip Marlowe. The works combine mysteries and psychological thrillers with Macdonald going into the motivations and psychological traits of his characters (wikipedia).

In this one, Archer is hired by the ‘desperate-eyed junkie scion of an obscenely wealthy political dynasty’ to investigate the suspicious death of his parents, Senator Hallman and Alicia. Archer finds that the family has been indulging in political intimidation and police brutality to shore up their wealth and may well be on the receiving end of ‘a karmic deathly blow’. Murder, madness and greed mark this mystery, and Archer must get to the bottom soon before another of the family goes the same way.

This book is one that’s been among my parents books for a while but I added it to my TBR only a few days ago after reading a review by Jacqui from Jacquiwine’s Journal of another of the Archer books. I haven’t really read very many titles in the ‘hardboiled detective’ category, but what caught my attention in her review was her observation on Macdonald’s ‘marvellous’ descriptions of his locations. Looking into the books further, I also became intrigued by the depth the books are said to have. Since I remembered seeing some among my parents’ books, I scanned their shelves and found this one, and onto the TBR it went!

Have you read any of the Archer books or others by Ross Macdonald? Which ones and how did you like them? Any other hardboiled-detective books you enjoy? Looking forward to your thoughts and recommendations!

Book description and cover image from Goodreads as always.

Lisa’s pick today is also very intriguing, a retelling of Moby Dick from the whale’s point of view; and by another author I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while, And the Ocean was Our Sky by Patrick Ness (here).

4 thoughts on “Shelf Control #143: The Doomsters by Ross Macdonald

  1. I know I’ve come across Ross McDonald books before, but I’ve never read one. Detective stories aren’t usually my thing, but I remember seeing a lot of books from that genre in a family member’s house while growing up. I wonder if this was one of them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remembered only after reading Jacqui’s review that I had seen some in my parents’ books–though they didn’t seem to have been temping enough for me to have picked one up earlier. I do enjoy mysteries, so let’s see how this one turns out.


  2. Lovely! I hope you enjoy The Doomsters and will be interested to see what you think. Alongside the strong sense of place, the central characterisation is excellent with Archer coming across as world-weary yet compassionate and humane when it matters.

    Liked by 1 person

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