The Drowning Pool was published in 1950 and was the second Lew Archer novel. It was made into a film starring Paul Newman in 1975.
|Author||John Ross Macdonald|
|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf|
|Publication Date (initial)||August 21, 1950|
Originally hired by Maude Slocum, wife to their heir of the Slocum fortune to investigate a letter to her husband that accuses Maude of adultery. Husband James Slocum is an actor and seems from the beginning to be, at the least, bisexual. Before Archer can get to the bottom of the letter, the matriarch of the family, Olivia Slocum, has been found drowned in a swimming pool at the family home. There are many suspects, from a fired chauffeur to an oil tycoon to family members. Even Archer is kidnapped in his quest to solve the mystery.
September 10, 1950: The New York Times — Death By Drowning (New York Times Book Review, Criminals at Large section. The review is by Hillis Mills:
When John Ross Macdonald’s first mystery, The Moving Target, appeared last year, it was greeted with loud critical cheers. The new one is another fast-moving, smoothly written, first-rate whodunit of the hard-boiled school. As he tracks down another murderer, Lew Archer, private detective, matches wits with some highly entertaining low characters. The basic ingredient of homicide is knowingly spiced, in the modern manner, with dashes of adultery, alcoholism, homosexuality and juvenile delinquency. If you like them hard, hot and heavily seasoned, this is your dish.
September 1, 2102: The Guardian (London) — The Drowning Pool by Ross Macdonald – Review
Few private eye novels would open, as The Drowning Pool does, with a poison-pen letter quoting from Shakespeare’s sonnet 94 (“Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds”), but in Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer series urbane literary allusion is par for the course. Macdonald, whose real name was Kenneth Millar, published his first Archer novel in 1949, after completing a PhD on Coleridge at the University of Michigan. The Drowning Pool, set in California and first published in 1950, is Archer’s second outing and the most formally assured of the series.
“The Drowning Pool” was made into a film in 1975 and starred Paul Newman as Archer/Harper and his wife Joanne Woodward and Tony Francis. Inexplicitly, it was set in Louisiana.
|US Movie Poster|
|French Movie Poster|
Additional Publication Information
The information is here is accurate to the best knowledge of the site’s author, but should not be presumed to be definitive.
|1951||Pocket Books||2nd edition|
|1952||Cassell & Company (London)||1st edition, first English printing|
|1955||Pan Books (UK)||3rd edition|
|1970||Bantam Books||4th edition|
|1976||Garland||1st edition, 3rd printing. Fifty Classics of Crime Fiction series|
|1979||John Curley||6th edition|
|1996||Vintage Crime/Black Lizard||1st Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Edition|
|2001||Canongate Crime (UK)||unknown|
|1st edition, dust jacket|
|1951 Pocket Books|
|1952 Cassell & Company (UK)|
|1955 Pan (UK)|
|1970 Bantam Books|
|1975 Bantam movie tie-in|
|1996 Vintage Crime / Black Lizard|