I’ve apparently decided to read all of Ross Macdonald’s works this year (stay tuned) which means diving into his non-Archer novels. The Ferguson Affair hardly misses the pugnacious Lew Archer, with attorney Bill Gunnarson making for a suitable investigator. If Gunnarson seems to go an awfully long way for his client it’s an acceptable stretching of artistic license.
Gunnarson is a private attorney asked to represent a young nurse caught trying to sell stolen jewelry. When he tries to verify her story about being given the ring by a charming suitor, Gunnarson finds himself caught up in a confusing kidnapping involving a Hollywood actress and the millionaire oilman husband who just wants her back no matter the cost. Along the way several bodies pile up and Gunnarson finds himself in mortal danger multiple times.
Though there is an aspect of the solution that any astute reader will put together far before the characters, there are other aspects to the resolution that make it a satisfying solution. The Ferguson Affair shows that you don’t need a great detective for a great mystery novel.