|Ross Macdonald was born in Los
Gatos, California, December 13th, 1915. He was educated
in Canadian schools, traveled widely in Europe, and
acquired advanced degrees and a Phi Beta Kappa key at the
University of Michigan. In 1938 he married a Canadian who
is now well known as the novelist Margaret Millar. Mr.
Macdonald (Kenneth Millar in private life) taught school
and later college, and served as communications officer
aboard an escort carrier in the Pacific. Among his
leading interests were conservation and politics. For
over twenty years he lived in Santa Barbara and wrote
mystery novels about the fascinating and changing society
of his native state, exploring the labyrinths of crime
and of the human heart.
When Ross Macdonald died on July 11, 1983, America lost not only a master of mystery fiction, but also one of its finest writers. The Moving Target, The Galton Case, and The Goodbye Look became bestsellers because they transcended the genre of who-dunit to become why-dunits. Their hero, private detective Lew Archer, does much more than track down the killer; he also penetrates the mystery of human lives, in which riddles are buried in victim and murderer alike. It was for this extra dimension that Ross Macdonald ultimately won the critical acclaim that now ranks him with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler as a major figure in twentieth century American letters.