Bruccoli, Matthew J., and Richard Layman. Hardboiled Mystery Writers: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross MacDonald. New York: Carroll and Graf, 2002. A handy supplemental reference that includes interviews, letters, and previously published studies. Illustrated.
Bruccoli, Matthew J. Ross Macdonald. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984. Describes the development of Macdonald’s popular reputation as a prolific author of detective fiction and his critical reputation as a writer of literary merit. Includes illustrations, an appendix with an abstract of his Ph.D. thesis, notes, a bibliography, and an index.
Schopen, Bernard A. Ross Macdonald. Boston: Twayne, 1990. A sound introductory study, with a chapter on Macdonald’s biography (“The Myth of One’s Life”), on his handling of genre, his development of the Lew Archer character, his mastery of the form of the detective novel, and the maturation of his art culminating in The Underground Man. Provides detailed notes and an annotated bibliography.
Sipper, Ralph B., ed. Ross Macdonald: Inward Journey. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Cordelia Editions, 1984. This collection of twenty-seven articles includes two by Macdonald, one a transcription of a speech about mystery fiction and the other a letter to a publisher which discusses Raymond Chandler’s work in relation to his own. Contains photographs and notes on contributors.
Skinner, Robert E. The Hard-Boiled Explicator: A Guide to the Study of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Ross Macdonald. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1985. An indispensable volume for the scholar interested in tracking down unpublished dissertations as well as mainstream criticism. Includes brief introductions to each author, followed by annotated bibliographies of books, articles, and reviews.
South Dakota Review 24 (Spring, 1986). This special issue devoted to Macdonald, including eight articles, an editor’s note, photographs, and notes, is a valuable source of criticism.
Speir, Jerry. Ross Macdonald. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1978. Serves as a good introduction to Macdonald’s work, with a brief biography and a discussion of the individual novels. Includes chapters on his character Lew Archer, on alienation and other themes, on Macdonald’s style, and on the scholarly criticism available at the time. Contains a bibliography, notes, and an index.
Wolfe, Peter. Dreamers Who Live Their Dreams: The World of Ross Macdonald’s Novels. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Press, 1976. This detailed study contains extensive discussions of the novels and a consideration of the ways in which Macdonald’s life influenced his writing. Includes notes.