Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Gregory Mcdonald, R. I. P.

Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind: Gregory McDonald, R.I.P.: "Gregory McDonald, best known as the author of the FLETCH novels, died on September 7 in Giles County, TN. He was 71. Edward Champion confirmed the news tonight with the Giles County Ambulance Service."

Mcdonald was a guest at the first Bouchercon I attended in Washington, D. C., back in 1980.  The first two Fletch books had a big impact on me.  I'd never read anything quite like them.  I thought the later novels in the series not as good, but that might have been just me.  I also liked the Flynn novels that came a long a bit later, as well as a couple of others.  I'm sorry to hear that Mcdonald is gone.


  1. Wow...When I found the Fletch books in the '80's they were something I had never seen before...I had never really read mysteries, but his way with dialogue really made an impact with me.

    I've never read anything by him outside the Fletch and Flynn books...not sure what the general opinion of the rest of his works is...

  2. Very sad. I grew up on the Fletch books and I also enjoy the Flynn series. Mcdonald was a great writer. 71 is too young.

  3. Thanks for telling us, Bill...FLETCH was the first adult mystery novel to catch my attention (at least after the borderline novellas by Rex Stout and a few others in the HITCHCOCK PRESENTS: anthos), and the first series I went through completely as they were published (I thought FLETCH WON and FLETCH TOO fine ways to wrap the series, though you know I don't think I've ever picked up SON OF FLETCH)...AND THE WIDOW BRADLEY and CARIOCA FLETCH struck me as the weakest entries, with the last almost certainly a good way to write off a Brazilian sojourn as research.

    All our M(a)cdonalds gone?

  4. I was also knocked out by the Fletch novels. At their best, they approach the joys of Westlake's Dortmunder.

    As we all know, this business is hard, and to create something truly original is rare.

  5. Anonymous9:47 AM

    Wow, that's a shocker. I remember his talk at that Bouchercon too.



  6. I could copy your post word for word, Bill, and it would apply to me perfectly. I also recall at that B'con how Greg joined a bunch of us on a trip to a bookstore. In those days of small, intimate Bouchercons the writers had much more contact with the fans. I miss that.

  7. Now I'm wondering if Mcdonald didn't win the Edgar for best first novel one year and best paperback the next year. Anybody remember?

  8. Anonymous6:06 PM

    McDonald lived in Franklin, TN for a while and moved to Giles County to fulfill a lifelong dream: a farm. A real farm. More farming than I ever would have wanted to do. He's a guy who made his way through college by waiting for people with big bucks get stuck at sea and not know how to get back. For a charge, he brought their investment back in. And paid for college on that money! It sounds like a Travis McGee type of tale. (You almost can't do better than McDonald and MacDonald, eh?) The Tennessean newspaper did a lengthy article about his farming, and he had married a local lady to boot. It sounded like he died a happy man. That is, perhaps, the very best one can hope for. We'll definitely miss Greg.


  9. Thanks. I didn't know any of that.

  10. Anonymous10:18 PM

    Edgar awards:

    Best First Mystery Novel (American): Fletch, by Gregory Mcdonald.

    Best Original Paperback: Confess, Fletch, by Gregory Mcdonald.

    -Thomas Miller