Harris Yulin and KCRW have once again crossed the boundaries between unabridged readings and fully realized audio theater in their second adaptation of a Ross Macdonald novel. (Sleeping Beauty--also directed by Yulin--won the 1998 Audie Award for Best Audiobook Adapted from Another Medium.) This production features musical accompaniment, cinematic sound, and a cast of 40--including Ed Asner, Tyne Daly, Shirley Knight, Jennifer Tilly, among other notables. Hired by an overprotective father... read more
When Isobel Blackwell comes calling unexpectedly on Lew Archer just minutes before her husband is scheduled to meet with the detective, she expresses concern for her stepdaughter, Harriet. The young woman is about to come into a large trust fund, and she wants to marry a handsome, penniless artist named Burke Damis. Isobel has no objection to the marriage, but Harriet's father, Mark Blackwell, dislikes Damis and is staunchly opposed. Mr. Blackwell asks Archer to investigate Damis, and Archer agrees, partly because he's attracted to Mrs. Blackwell. Murders past and present crowd the investigation as various leads take Archer to Mexico, Lake Tahoe, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles. The Zebra-Striped Hearse is indeed colored black and white - but the intertwining relationships of the characters range across many shades of gray.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful: Only in California..., June 11, 2003 Reviewer: Neal Clark Reynolds from E. Taunton, MA United States Yeah, only in California are you likely to see a zebra striped hearse full of surfing teens. Although one of the important clues comes from the hearse, it doesn't really play that important a part in the story, but it's a symbol of the California lifestyle, especially the lifestyle of the teens & young adults. And this symbol has a bearing on the character especially of the young woman whose boy friend and potential husband Lew Archer is hired to investigate. Of course, you know that what appears to be a simple case for Archer is going to develop into a complicated skein of emotions and events including murder. You can also guess that there will be tragic overtones in the matter. Ross MacDonald is deservedly recognized as one of the elite of the hard boiled school. While there are resembances to Hammett, Chandler and even Parker to an extent, he is unique. While he presents you with a puzzle, he also makes you care for his characters. He may have you disliking and distrusting some of the characters such as the father and the boy friend in this book, and then have you caring in one way or another for them. If you haven't discovered Ross MacDonald yet, it's time you did. And if you have, you don't even need to be reading this review. (Although I'm glad you are) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title