The Drowning Pool
Alfred A. Knopf
Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
The Drowning Pool, The Way Some People Die, The Galton Case, Black Money, The Blue Hammer
The Moving Target is a 1949 mystery novel, written by Ross Macdonald, who at this point used the name "John Macdonald".
This is the first Ross Macdonald novel to feature the character of Lew Archer, who would define the author's career. Lew Archer is hired by the dispassionate wife of an eccentric oil tycoon who has gone missing. Archer must dig through a strange cast of Los Angeles characters, finding crime after crime before he can get to the job he was hired to do.
The novel became the basis for the 1966 Paul Newman film Harper, thanks in no small part to screenwriter William Goldman.
Ross Macdonald (Kenneth Millar) originally titled this book The Snatch. When the book was published, he chose the pseudonym John Macdonald after his father, John Macdonald Millar. It is believed he didn't want to use his own name as his wife, Margaret Millar, was already an established writer. Due this pen-name's similarity with the name of the writer John D. MacDonald, Millar later wrote as John Ross Macdonald and finally as Ross Macdonald.
In this book, Macdonald created the fictional city of Santa Teresa, a version of Santa Barbara, California. In the 1980s, Santa Teresa became home to Kinsey Millhone, a fictional female private investigator created by Sue Grafton. Millhone is the protagonist of Grafton's "alphabet mysteries" series of novels. Grafton chose the setting as a tribute to Macdonald.