Gregory Mcdonald is often called the “clown prince” of the detective genre. The world of his major character, Fletch, is a world where anything can happen and usually does. Many of these events are serious, but Mcdonald always gave them a humorous edge. Irwin Maurice Fletcher, better known as Fletch, broke new ground for the amateur detective. Mcdonald used the anarchic worldview and sarcastic humor of this character to make a wry commentary on life.
Mcdonald’s fiction evolved out of the political and social rebellion of the 1960’s. Fletch is apolitical, but he never hesitates to thumb his nose at the Establishment. He is an outsider who has little use for rules and regulations or maintaining regular hours, jobs, or traditional relationships. The events of his life occur haphazardly, as a series of bizarre situations into which he falls with regularity. Fletch never complains. He continues making his jokes or quips and deals with each situation as it happens. He is never at a loss for words or solutions. There is little emotional involvement or commitment in the Fletch series. Fletch is whimsical and fickle, though in the long run, this character cares.
Mcdonald was different from his predecessors in the genre. It is difficult to compare him to a Raymond Chandler or a Ross Macdonald, but like them, he used the realities of his time to fashion a character that was a reflection of that time. Fletch’s world is an ironic one, and he must...
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