A Deadly Shade of Gold Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Deadly Shade of Gold

“A Deadly Shade of Gold,” the 5th in the Travis McGee series is bawdy and brutal; a bloody chase novel taking McGee from Florida to Mexico to LA. MacDonald has a wondrous sense of place and you can feel the sensuous breezes and see the spectacular sunsets he creates for you. There are a few creaky spots: Nora, Travis's love interest, is so ‘50's lady-like, you expect her to be white gloved and hatted even in the shower; -- all characters are super sun worshippers while the reader uneasily thinks about skin cancer. Be that as it may, it's a fine rousing tale with careful characterizations and Travis's philosophies served up painlessly.
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Old buddy Sam Taggart, a three-year missing person, contacts Travis in dire need of his services as a salvage consultant. The deal sounds shady at best as Sam claims he is the rightful owner of 28 crude golden idols dating from pre-Colombian times. The hitch is 27 of the 28 have been stolen from him, and he wants them back. Sam is down on his luck and appears to be on the run. When he took off three years ago without a word, he left the beauteous Nora high and dry. Now he is back to redeem himself. Before Trav can get Sam and Nora together, or even decide whether he wants to accept Sam's offer, Sam is brutally murdered. Nora hires Trav to find the killer, but insists on accompanying him (natch) when the trail leads to Mexico. The action is fierce, retribution is swift and oh-so-well-described, and Trav and Nora find something more in common than Sam.

“A Deadly Shade of Gold” at 434 pages is long for a Travis McGee novel, but moves swiftly. MacDonald takes great care in setting up his locales, which makes for lovely reading. Though Sam exits early, he is with us throughout the book, and gradually an entirely different Sam emerges posthumously. This is handled cleverly by friend's ruminations, and we are allowed to derive our own conclusions. Travis is not yet fully formed; he's still pretty rough around the edges, but this novel sets the course for the future. Very enjoyable.

The review of this Book prepared by sweetmolly

Chapter Analysis of A Deadly Shade of Gold

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 30%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 10%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 30% How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   1930's-1950's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Murder of certain profession?    -   bums Kind of investigator    -   hard boiled/private eye Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   searching for $$$/treasure Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   private investigator Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


The Americas (not US):    -   Yes Water?    -   Yes Water:    -   pleasure/love boat

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very gorey descriptions deaths/dead bodies Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy    -   descript. of breasts Unusual forms of death    -   impaled Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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John D. MacDonald Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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