In his early career, Kenneth Millar, better known as Ross Macdonald, emulated the style of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. By the 1960s he had established himself as a distinct voice in the hardboiled genre. In his Lew Archer series, he conveys the complexity of his characters and settings primarily by the use of metaphors. In his 1966 novel Black Money the device performs three functions. In the case of minor characters, the author uses metaphors to comment on Californian society. Concurrently, metaphors describing major characters allow him to develop their dramatic arcs, whereas the recurring elements of the leitmotif serve to demonstrate the narrating detective’s growing concerns with the ongoing investigation. Arguably, it was Macdonald’s use of metaphors that helped define his unique voice.


Ross Macdonald, Lew Archer, metaphor, blending, hardboiled fiction


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