Click to receive personalized book recommendations daily.
Check Out These
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
See the List

Lew Archer Series

Ross Macdonald
Black Money by Ross Macdonald
The Instant Enemy by Ross Macdonald
The Archer Files by Ross Macdonald Edited by Tom Nolan

Lew Archer Series : Titles in Order

Book 18
The desert air is hot with sex and betrayal, death and madness and only Detective Lew Archer can make sense of a killer who makes murder a work of art.Finding a purloined portrait of a leggy blonde was supposed to be an easy paycheck for Archer, but that was before the bodies began piling up. Suddenly, Archer find himself smack in the middle of a decades-long mystery of a brilliant artist who walked into the desert and simply disappeared. He left behind a bevy of muses, molls, dolls, and dames-each one scrambling for what they thought was rightfully theirs.
Book 17
In Sleeping Beauty, Lew Archer finds himself the confidant of a
wealthy, violent family with a load of trouble on their hands–including an oil spill, a missing girl, a lethal dose of Nembutal, a six-figure ransom, and a stranger afloat, face down, off a private beach. Here is Ross Macdonald’s masterful tale of buried memories, the consequences of arrogance, and the anguished relations between parents and their children. Riveting, gritty, tautly written, Sleeping Beauty is crime fiction at its best.

If any writer can be said to have inherited the mantle of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, it is Ross Macdonald. Between the late 1940s and his death in 1983, he gave the American crime novel a psychological depth and moral complexity that his pre-decessors had only hinted at. And in the character of Lew Archer, Macdonald redefined the private eye as a roving conscience who walks the treacherous frontier between criminal guilt and human sin.
Book 17
No matter what cases private eye Lew Archer takes on—a burglary, a runaway, or a disappeared person—the trail always leads to tangled family secrets and murder. Widely considered the heir to Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, Archer dug up secrets and bodies in and around Los Angeles. 

Here, The Archer Files collects all the Lew Archer short stories ever published, along with thirteen unpublished “case notes” and a fascinating biographical profile of Archer by Edgar Award finalist Tom Nolan. Ross Macdonald’s signature staccato prose is the real star throughout this collection, which is both a perfect introduction for the newcomer and a must-have for the Macdonald aficionado.
Book 16
As a mysterious fire rages through the hills above a privileged town in Southern California, Archer tracks a missing child who may be the pawn in a marital struggle or the victim of a bizarre kidnapping.  What he uncovers amid the ashes is murder—and a trail of motives as combustible as gasoline.  The Underground Man is a detective novel of merciless suspense and tragic depth, with an unfaltering insight into the moral ambiguities at the heart of California’s version of the American dream.

If any writer can be said to have inherited the mantle of Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler, it was Ross Macdonald.  Between the late 1940s and his death in 1983, he gave the American crime novel a psychological depth and moral complexity that his predecessors had only hinted at.  And in the character of Lew Archer, Macdonald redefined the private eye as a roving conscience who walks the treacherous frontier between criminal guilt and human sin.
Book 15
In The Goodbye Look, Lew Archer is hired to investigate a burglary at the mission-style mansion of Irene and Larry Chalmers. The prime suspect, their son Nick, has a talent for disappearing, and the Chalmerses are a family with money and memories to burn. As Archer zeros in on Nick, he discovers a troubled blonde, a stash of wartime letters, a mysterious hobo. Then a stiff turns up in a car on an empty beach. And Nick turns up with a Colt .45. In The Goodbye Look, Ross Macdonald delves into the world of the rich and the troubled and reveals that the past has a deadly way of catching up to the present.

If any writer can be said to have inherited the mantle of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, it is Ross Macdonald. Between the late 1940s and his death in 1983, he gave the American crime novel a psychological depth and moral complexity that his pre-decessors had only hinted at. And in the character of Lew Archer, Macdonald redefined the private eye as a roving conscience who walks the treacherous frontier between criminal guilt and human sin.
Book 14
Generations of murder, greed and deception come home to roost in time for the most shocking conclusion ever in a Lew Archer novel. At first glance, it’s an open-and-shut missing persons case: a headstrong daughter has run off to be with her hothead juvenile delinquent boyfriend. That is until this bush-league Bonnie & Clyde kidnap Stephen Hackett, a local millionaire industrialist. Now, Archer is offered a cool 100 Gs for his safe return by his coquettish heiress mother who has her own mysterious ties to this disturbed duo. But the deeper Archer digs, the more he realizes that nothing is as it seems and everything is questionable. Is the boyfriend a psycho ex-con with murder on the brain or a damaged youngster trying to straighten out his twisted family tree? And is the daughter simply his nympho sex-kitten companion in crime or really a fragile kid, trying to block out horrific memories of bad acid and an unspeakable sex crime?
Book 13
When Lew Archer is hired to get the goods on the suspiciously suave Frenchman who’s run off with his client’s girlfriend, it looks like a simple case of alienated affections. Things look different when the mysterious foreigner turns out to be connected to a seven-year-old suicide and a mountain of gambling debts. Black Money is Ross Macdonald at his finest, baring the skull beneath the untanned skin of Southern California’s high society.
Book 12
In The Far Side of the Dollar, private investigator Lew Archer is looking for an unstable rich kid who has run away from an exclusive reform school—and into the arms of kidnappers. Why are his desperate parents so loath to give Archer the information he needs to find him? And why do all trails lead to a derelict Hollywood hotel where starlets and sailors once rubbed elbows with two-bit grifters—and where the present clientele includes a brand-new corpse? The result is Ross Macdonald at his most exciting, delivering 1,000-volt shocks to the nervous system while uncovering the venality and depravity at the heart of the case.
Book 11
In The Chill a distraught young man hires private investigator Lew Archer to track down his runaway bride. But no sooner has he found Dolly Kincaid than Archer finds himself entangled in two murders, one twenty years old, the other so recent that the blood is still wet. What ensues is a detective novel of nerve-racking suspense, desperately believable characters, and one of the most intricate plots ever spun by an American crime writer.
Book 10
Strictly speaking, Lew Archer is only supposed to dig up the dirt on a rich man’s suspicious soon-to-be son-in-law. But in no time at all Archer is following a trail of corpses from the citrus belt to Mazatlan. And then there is the zebra-striped hearse and its crew of beautiful, sunburned surfers, whose path seems to keep crossing the son-in-law’s—and Archer’s—in a powerful, fast-paced novel of murder on the California coast.
Book 9
Phoebe Wycherly was missing two months before her wealthy father hired Archer to find her. That was plenty of time for a young girl who wanted to disappear to do so thoroughly–or for someone to make her disappear. Before he can find the Wycherly girl, Archer has to deal with the Wycherly woman, Phoebe’s mother, an eerily unmaternal blonde who keeps too many residences, has too many secrets, and leaves too many corpses in her wake.
Book 8
Lew Archer returns in this gripping mystery, widely recognized as one of acclaimed mystery writer Ross Macdonald’s very best, about the search for the long lost heir of the wealthy Galton family.
 
Almost twenty years have passed since Anthony Galton disappeared, along with a suspiciously streetwise bride and several thousand dollars of his family’s fortune. Now Anthony’s mother wants him back and has hired Lew Archer to find him. What turns up is a headless skeleton, a boy who claims to be Galton’s son, and a con game whose stakes are so high that someone is still willing to kill for them. Devious and poetic, The Galton Case displays MacDonald at the pinnacle of his form.
Book 7
Hired by Carl Hallman, the desperate-eyed junkie scion of an obscenely wealthy political dynasty, detective Lew Archer investigates the suspicious deaths of his parents, Senator Hallman and his wife Alicia. Arriving in the sleepy town of Purissima, Archer discovers that orange groves may be where the Hallmans made their mint, but they’ve has been investing heavily in political intimidation and police brutality to shore up their rancid wealth. However, after years of dastardly double-crossing and low down dirty-dealing, the family seem to be on the receiving end of a karmic death-blow. With two dead already and another consigned to the nuthouse, Archer races to crack the secret before another Hallman lands on the slab.Murder, madness and greed grace The Doomsters, where a tony façade masks the rot and corruption within.
Book 6
The beautiful, high-diving blonde had Hollywood dreams and stars in her eyes but now she seems to have disappeared without a trace. Hired by her hotheaded husband and her rummy “uncle,” Lew Archer sniffs around Malibu and finds the stink of blackmail, blood-money, and murder on every pricey silk shirt. Beset by dirty cops, a bumptious boxer turned silver screen pretty boy and a Hollywood mogul with a dark past, Archer discovers the secret of a grisly murder that just won’t stay hidden.Lew Archer navigates through the watery, violent world of wealth and privilege, in this electrifying story of obsession gone mad.
Book 5
Las Cruces wasn’t a place most travelers would think to stop. But after private investigator Lew Archer plays the good samaritan and picks up a bloodied hitchhiker, he finds himself in town for a few days awaiting a murder inquest. A hijacked truck full of liquor and an evidence box full of marijuana, $20,000 from a big-time bank heist by a small-time crook, corruption, adultery, incest, prodigal daughters, and abused wives all make the little town seem a lot more interesting than any guide book ever could. And as the murder rate rises, Archer finds himself caught up in mystery where everyone is a suspect and everyone’s a victim.

Find other titles in

Back to Top