The Writer's Almanac from American Public Media: "And then, one day, Millar invented a private investigator named Lew Archer. Millar later said, 'I was in trouble, and Lew Archer got me out of it... I couldn't work directly with my own experiences and feelings. A narrator had to be interposed, like protective lead, between me and the radioactive material.'"
Ed Gorman's recently had some blog posts (here, here, here, and here) about another Mac, John D. It seems that his writing doesn't hold up for the younger crowd. They find it "slow," and I've heard much the same complaint about Ross Macdonald's work. Too bad. For me, he'll always be one of the greats.