MacDonald, John D. (1916-1986)

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MacDonald, John D. (1916-1986)

Known as the creator of the bestselling Travis McGee series of detective novels, John D. MacDonald gained most of his fame and fortune from writing paperback originals. He moved into paperbacks in 1950, after turning out stories for the pulps since leaving the service in 1946. The pulps were fading away in the postwar years, while 25 cent books were burgeoning, and the prolific MacDonald was able to take advantage of this growing new market. Between his first hardboiled thriller, The Brass Cupcake, in 1950 and his first McGee novel, The Deep Blue Goodbye, in 1964, he'd written over 40 novels. He went on to publish many more, including a total of 21 featuring McGee. Many of them were bestsellers. MacDonald was a good writer, respected by readers, reviewers, and fellow writers alike, and he always managed to inject considerable social criticism into his books. McGee, who owned a boat and lived in Florida, was himself a sort of floating private eye.

—Ron Goulart

Further Reading:

Campbell, Frank D., Jr. John D. MacDonald and the Colorful World of Travis McGee. San Bernardino, California, Borgo Press, 1977.

Geherin, David. John D. MacDonald. New York, F. Ungar Publishing, 1982.

Hirshberg, Edgar W. John D. MacDonald. Boston, Twayne, 1985.

Moore, Lewis D. Meditations on America: John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee Series and Other Fiction. Bowling Green, Ohio, Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1994.

Shine, Walter and Jean Shine. A Bibliography of the Published Works of John D. MacDonald with Selected Biographical Materials and Critical Essays. Gainesville, Patrons of the Library, University of Florida, 1980.

——. Rave or Rage: The Critics and John D. MacDonald. Gainesville, University of Florida Press, 1993.