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Sunday, July 24, 2022

'Integrity . . .doesn't blow in the wind'


“Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn't blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won't cheat, then you know he never will.” – John D. MacDonald

Born on this date in 1916, crime/suspense novelist and short story writer MacDonald achieved the highest accolade in his genre, named Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America shortly before his death in 1986.   A self-proclaimed “accidental writer,” he also was the winner of a National Book Award and is perhaps best-known for his critically acclaimed Travis McGee series. 

MacDonald's literary career began in 1945 while in the Army.  Waiting in the Pacific for his ship home, he wrote a short story and mailed it to his wife Dorothy.  She loved it and submitted it to Esquire - which promptly rejected it.  So, she sent it to Story magazine, which accepted it for $25, pretty good payment for the time.

MacDonald decided to give writing a further try.  After getting hundreds of rejection slips, he had another short story accepted by Dime Detective, this time paid $40.  Encouraged, he re-worked other stories and was off and running.  Ultimately, he sold more than 
500 stories to detective, mystery and adventure magazines.                       

His first novel came out in 1950, but it was his 1957 book The Executioners that put him on the map.  An almost continuous best-seller since, it also holds the distinction of being the focus of two feature films, both box office successes.    

McGee made his first appearance in The Deep Blue Good-bye, starting a run of 21 "McGee" bestsellers.   Each title includes a color, the last being The Lonely Silver Rain.    In 2016, Nathaniel Philbrick - author of In The Heart Of The Sea and Mayflower - said:  "I recently discovered John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series … and it's as prescient and verbally precise as anyone writing today can possibly hope to be."

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