Dress Her in Indigo
By John D. MacDonald
1969, 211 pages
A “Travis McGee” crime novel. My first. And, frankly, I was surprised at the writing. It was not film noir-ish, as I expected. But able and smart.
The style is quick and succinct and somehow modern. And the lead character, Travis McGee, is smart and experienced – a bit more than I wanted in some cases.
The story is about McGee investigating the last days of the daughter of a successful executive. The daughter – Bixie – apparently died on a trip to Mexico and the executive’s dying wish is to find out what she was doing there.
As it turns out, Bixie is still alive and is being held hostage by a rich older Spanish woman who wants to keep her as a sex slave. Arriving at that point in the novel, I was not surprised to find her still breathing. What surprised me was the sex slave bit.
I found it interesting that as late as 1969 MacDonald was treating lesbianism as an aberration. I found myself trying to recall my own feelings on the subject when I was a sophomore in college.
I read the book hoping to enjoy it like I’ve enjoyed the hardboiled fiction of Jim Thompson and Elmore Leonard. I’ll read another one since MacDonald’s popularity demands it.