Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper

Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper: by John D. MacDonald. Another Travis McGee novel.  This one was originally published in 1968.  Despite its years it holds up well and could easily be told in the modern era (with a few changes surrounding telephones).  The book has an interesting side arc between McGee and the black maids who work at the hotel he is staying at.  It's used as a mode for McGee to uncover some information, but at the same time it's used to highlight the racial tensions of the time.  In particular the way in which blacks and whites interacted when they are strangers to each other.  (The maids all initially act dumb and subservient, but once it becomes clear that McGee is not trying to hurt or abuse them in any way an uneasy friendship develops and then the maids turn out to be bright ladies using the mask of expected ignorance to avoid conflicts.)  The book doesn't really have the usual danger that most McGee novels have.  He gets into a couple of scrapes but both lack any real danger.  Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this one and think it's probably one of my favorites so far.*

The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper: A-

* - For the record this one is the 10th in a series of 20 or so.  I started reviewing them with the previous book Pale Gray for Guilt, the 9th.

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