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  • The Scarlet Ruse

  • A Travis McGee Novel, Book 14
  • By: John D. MacDonald
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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The Scarlet Ruse

By: John D. MacDonald
Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
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Summary

Travis McGee is too busy with his houseboat to pay attention to the little old man with the missing postage stamps. Except these are no ordinary stamps. They are rare stamps. Four hundred thousand dollars worth of rare. And if McGee doesn't recognize their value, perhaps Mary Alice McDermit, a six-foot knockout who knows all the ways to a boat bum's heart, will. Only it's not McGee's heart that's in danger. Because a syndicate killer has put a contract on McGee. A killer who knows a thing or two about stamps...and even more about McGee.

©1973 John D. MacDonald Publishing, Inc. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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Very Solid entry

After 14 you know the drill. This is a solid entry for McGee. Well paced, good storyline, don't want to give too much away but this is one of the better ones. So if you are cherry picking through, then pick this one.

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  • FRITZ STOOP
  • 04-06-12

This Is Not Great Literature, BUT..........

JDM's McGee books are all essentially cookie-cutter versions of one another. But thay are all tremendously entertaining and as readable as books come. The difference, what makes MacDonald great, is that each one is as interesting as the last, on and on and on. Unlike the Child/Reacher series that has gone blasé and predictable to a fault, the McGee adventures never fail to entertain and enlighten.
These books are not as politically correct as most are today (so as not to offend our tender sensibilities) but frankly I don't give a damn. It is intelligent testosterone with a big spash of philosophy. I love them all.

And Robert Petkoff IS Travis and Meyer and the rest. Possibly the premier match between pen and voice to date!

9 people found this helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • 15-12-17

McGee Collects Stamps

"It's always better when you don't have to give a damn."
- John D. MacDonald, The Scarlet Ruse

If Philatelic Beach Noir is your gig, this book is for you. I guess in the age (1972) before block chain technology and Bitcoins, stamps seem a very likely avenue for moving large amounts of money from one country to the next. MacDonald flushes this idea out and weaves into it: the Mob, women, and Meyer (a trusty economist friend). MacDonald is hanging out in Florida, which usually is my favorite setting for the owner of the Busted Flush.

The plot is interesting and novel, the characters are round, and MacDonald nails the details. I enjoyed it and don't remember being too turned off by MacDonald's usual treatment of women.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-09-12

Friends help move, great friends help move bodies!

Starts off slow, but builds to a VERY powerful climax. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about stamp collecting, but it was worth the trip. It starts off as sort of a "locked room mystery," but soon turns into thrill ride through organized crime and psychopathic killers. The end left me wondering how in the Hell Travis is going to survive seven more books! Not my favorite overall, but this one has a lot going for it.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Lifeisshort
  • 30-07-14

Mediocre and Convoluted

A story about a sociopath who steals a small fortune in, of all things, stamps. Travis begins his investigation and a woman working in the shop is killed. McGee then meets her father-in-law Major General Samuel Horace Lawson who is one of the best characters in this book and provides for an upbeat chapter. One of the weaknesses of a few of the lesser McGee novels is MacDonald's attempts to substitute plot twists for a solid story. This one does so in several places and McGee's poor choice in selecting a girlfriend in this novel doesn't do much to strengthen the story. One of the low points of the middle books in the series is the increasing presence of McGee's friend Meyer without a suitable role for him in them. Unlike the better works in which he's featured i.e. Pale Gray for Guilt or Dress her in Indigo Meyer seems to lack a real role in the narrative. Maybe this story would have been smoother had his part in it either been diminished or defined in a better way. Finally the ending of this one in which a woman from a previous book serves herself up to McGee on a platter to him. It's a regular theme of MacDonald's that good women sacrifice for men. This particular woman does, even though her reason for doing is unclear. All in all this is one of the 2 or 3 weakest of the 21 McGee mysteries.

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  • John
  • 01-05-12

A fun book

I first read most of John D McDonald's novels at first printing. This book was a fun read then. Today, I listened to the audio version and enjoyed it for some of the same reasons, but I found any references to cost, technology, and the relative values of the time most interesting. To say I was impressed with the plot/story line, writing today as much as I did in the 60's would be misleading. JOHN D. just doesn't match up to current mystery writers like Vince Flynn, Tom Clancy, or even Clive Cussler. However, this is still a fun read.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bert Carson
  • 23-10-18

John D - the best

The author’s fascinating plots, deeply insightful understanding of people and societies and believable protagonist makes John D top of the list of modern fiction writers.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dean Richards
  • 23-11-22

Great stories are timeless

My father read the Travis McGee stories when I was a kid, so I was delighted to rediscover them. While some things are dated, the tales hold up beautifully. It's my pleasure to read/listen to them.

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  • Stuart Page
  • 01-09-21

Top 5 of Travis McGee!

Easily one of John D Macdonald’s best. A
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  • eclectic reader
  • 02-02-20

Interesting wrinkle on stamp collecting

Travis always manages to find trouble despite his careful pondering of danger. He seems to find threats to his life coming from unexpected directions. And of course there are always the woman. Part of what makes the series fun is Macdonald’s ability to make the characters distinct and believable. The reader is privy to what is going on in his mind most of the time - but there are always a few twists held back. Meyer’s role as a counterpoint and thought provoker adds to the interest of the stories. The first person point of view adds excitement to the narrative.

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  • Washingtonian
  • 08-10-17

best of all

love the series and this one was a favorite, quaint and charming in a retro way