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The Exploits of Travis McGee

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My wife told me over a cornbeef and cabbage dinner last night that she's headed to the library today, so I decided to REread a series of books written by John MacDonald that I had read about 20 years ago. The 21 books in the series, which each contain a color in the title, detail the adventurous life of Travis McGee. They were a good read the first time through, so I expect they will be again. If you decide to try them, be sure to read at least the first couple in order so as to get the characters and details laid out in proper order. 

From Wikipedia:

Travis McGee lives on a 52-foot houseboat dubbed The Busted Flush. The boat is named after the circumstances in which he won the boat in what McGee describes as a "poker siege" of 30 hours of intensive effort in Palm Beach - the run of luck started with a bluff of four hearts (2-3-7-10) and a club (2), which created a "busted flush," as described in Chapter 3 of The Deep Blue Good-by. The boat is generally docked at slip F-18 at Bahia Mar Marina, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A self-described "beach bum" who "takes his retirement in installments", he prefers to take on new cases only when the spare cash (besides a reserve fund) in a hidden safe in the Flush runs low. McGee also owns a custom 1936 vintage Rolls-Royce that had been converted into a pickup truck by some previous owner long before he bought it, and another previous owner painted it "that horrid blue". McGee named it Miss Agnes, after one of his elementary school teachers whose hair was the same shade.

McGee's business card reads "Salvage Consultant", and most business comes by word of mouth. His clients are usually people who have been deprived of something important and/or valuable (typically by unscrupulous or illegal means) and have no way to regain it lawfully. McGee's usual fee is half the value of the item (if recovered) with McGee risking expenses, and those who object to such a seemingly high fee are reminded that getting back half of something is better than owning all of nothing. Although the missing items are usually tangible (e.g., rare stamps, jewels, etc.), in several books McGee is asked to locate a missing person; in one, the stolen property is a client's reputation. In several instances, he shows a marked propensity to exact revenge, usually for the ill-treatment or death of one of his few real friends.

McGee does have a sidekick of sorts, in his best friend Meyer, an internationally known and respected economist who lives on a cabin cruiser of his own near McGee's at Bahia Mar, the John Maynard Keynes, and later, after the Keynes is blown up, aboard its replacement, the Thorstein Veblen. There has been some confusion as to whether "Meyer" is a given name or surname, but it is clear in The Green Ripper when McGee and Meyer are in the hotel room with two federal agents. They refer to him twice as Dr. Meyer and at the second, he says, "Just Meyer, please." In Pale Gray for Guilt, Meyer presents a business card giving his name as "G. Ludweg Meyer", and a letter of introduction beginning "My Dear Ludweg". Whether these are his real names or not is obscured by both items being instruments in an elaborate financial con game. Both Meyer's boats are jammed full of books and treatises, ranging far beyond simple economic theory. For instance, Meyer is a chess aficionado and amateur psychologist. Meyer serves as McGee's anchor when McGee's own inner compass seems to be skewed, as well as providing the formal education that the street-smart McGee lacks. Meyer has been known to participate in McGee's campaigns on occasion and has come close to being killed more than once as a result. His cover is usually some sort of academic, though at times he has also played a stockbroker or an entomologist.

 

The Deep Blue Good-by (1964)

Nightmare in Pink (1964)

A Purple Place for Dying (1964)

The Quick Red Fox (1964)

A Deadly Shade of Gold (1965)

Bright Orange for the Shroud (1965)

Darker than Amber (1966)

One Fearful Yellow Eye (1966)

Pale Gray for Guilt (1968)

The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper (1968)

Dress Her in Indigo (1969)

The Long Lavender Look (1970)

A Tan and Sandy Silence (1971)

The Scarlet Ruse (1972)

The Turquoise Lament (1973)

The Dreadful Lemon Sky (1974)

The Empty Copper Sea (1978)

The Green Ripper (1979)

Free Fall in Crimson (1981)

Cinnamon Skin (1982)

The Lonely Silver Rain (1984)

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2 hours ago, Outdoor Writer said:

My wife told me over a cornbeef and cabbage dinner last night that she's headed to the library today, so I decided to REread a series of books written by John MacDonald that I had read about 20 years ago. The 21 books in the series, which each contain a color in the title, detail the adventurous life of Travis McGee. They were a good read the first time through, so I expect they will be again. If you decide to try them, be sure to read at least the first couple in order so as to get the characters and details laid out in proper order. 

From Wikipedia:

Travis McGee lives on a 52-foot houseboat dubbed The Busted Flush. The boat is named after the circumstances in which he won the boat in what McGee describes as a "poker siege" of 30 hours of intensive effort in Palm Beach - the run of luck started with a bluff of four hearts (2-3-7-10) and a club (2), which created a "busted flush," as described in Chapter 3 of The Deep Blue Good-by. The boat is generally docked at slip F-18 at Bahia Mar Marina, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A self-described "beach bum" who "takes his retirement in installments", he prefers to take on new cases only when the spare cash (besides a reserve fund) in a hidden safe in the Flush runs low. McGee also owns a custom 1936 vintage Rolls-Royce that had been converted into a pickup truck by some previous owner long before he bought it, and another previous owner painted it "that horrid blue". McGee named it Miss Agnes, after one of his elementary school teachers whose hair was the same shade.

McGee's business card reads "Salvage Consultant", and most business comes by word of mouth. His clients are usually people who have been deprived of something important and/or valuable (typically by unscrupulous or illegal means) and have no way to regain it lawfully. McGee's usual fee is half the value of the item (if recovered) with McGee risking expenses, and those who object to such a seemingly high fee are reminded that getting back half of something is better than owning all of nothing. Although the missing items are usually tangible (e.g., rare stamps, jewels, etc.), in several books McGee is asked to locate a missing person; in one, the stolen property is a client's reputation. In several instances, he shows a marked propensity to exact revenge, usually for the ill-treatment or death of one of his few real friends.

McGee does have a sidekick of sorts, in his best friend Meyer, an internationally known and respected economist who lives on a cabin cruiser of his own near McGee's at Bahia Mar, the John Maynard Keynes, and later, after the Keynes is blown up, aboard its replacement, the Thorstein Veblen. There has been some confusion as to whether "Meyer" is a given name or surname, but it is clear in The Green Ripper when McGee and Meyer are in the hotel room with two federal agents. They refer to him twice as Dr. Meyer and at the second, he says, "Just Meyer, please." In Pale Gray for Guilt, Meyer presents a business card giving his name as "G. Ludweg Meyer", and a letter of introduction beginning "My Dear Ludweg". Whether these are his real names or not is obscured by both items being instruments in an elaborate financial con game. Both Meyer's boats are jammed full of books and treatises, ranging far beyond simple economic theory. For instance, Meyer is a chess aficionado and amateur psychologist. Meyer serves as McGee's anchor when McGee's own inner compass seems to be skewed, as well as providing the formal education that the street-smart McGee lacks. Meyer has been known to participate in McGee's campaigns on occasion and has come close to being killed more than once as a result. His cover is usually some sort of academic, though at times he has also played a stockbroker or an entomologist.

 

The Deep Blue Good-by (1964)

Nightmare in Pink (1964)

A Purple Place for Dying (1964)

The Quick Red Fox (1964)

A Deadly Shade of Gold (1965)

Bright Orange for the Shroud (1965)

Darker than Amber (1966)

One Fearful Yellow Eye (1966)

Pale Gray for Guilt (1968)

The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper (1968)

Dress Her in Indigo (1969)

The Long Lavender Look (1970)

A Tan and Sandy Silence (1971)

The Scarlet Ruse (1972)

The Turquoise Lament (1973)

The Dreadful Lemon Sky (1974)

The Empty Copper Sea (1978)

The Green Ripper (1979)

Free Fall in Crimson (1981)

Cinnamon Skin (1982)

The Lonely Silver Rain (1984)

My mom is a veracious reader of good stories and I remember the books onTravis McGee stacked up in the den's bookshelf. 

At that tender age, I was much more fascinated by the provocative covers of that series, than any content.

 

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1 hour ago, Edge said:

My mom is a veracious reader of good stories and I remember the books onTravis McGee stacked up in the den's bookshelf. 

At that tender age, I was much more fascinated by the provocative covers of that series, than any content.

 

Ellen picked up the first three for me today. 

The Deep Blue Good-by (1964)

Nightmare in Pink (1964)

A Purple Place for Dying (1964)

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Sounds interesting...may have to give these a try. From the subject I was expecting another poaching or dirty guide story...

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52 minutes ago, bigorange said:

Sounds interesting...may have to give these a try. From the subject I was expecting another poaching or dirty guide story...

Nah, Travis was a cool dude. Although he sometimes "breaches protocol," so to speak, he isn't a criminal. He also liked the pretty ladies, so that makes him OK in my eyes. 

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