This is another of MacDonald’s hardboiled detective things. In it, Lew Archer has to help a family find their son, who has had some mental problems. Of course, it opens into a can of worms wherein the boy might have killed his real father when he, the boy, was eight; people who change names but not skeletons in their closets; illicit love affairs during the war (World War II, remember) whose sins are avenged in the present, 25 years later; and so on, and so on.
You know, while reading this book, I was stricken with insight into why you don’t tend to see a lot of these sorts of plots in the twenty-first century: people move around a lot, particularly the people in larger communities and places where writers live. You don’t tend to get several generations of different families sharing the same space. Maybe I’m mistaken. Maybe I’m projecting. Maybe I don’t read enough contemporary fiction to know what I’m talking about. But a lot of newer books have different sorts of crimes and not so much sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons vibes.
At any rate, a good book. Worth reading and/or rereading.