RIP Gregory Mcdonald
September 12, 2008 7:55 PM   Subscribe

The author of the Fletch novels, Gregory Mcdonald, has died.

One of his books, Fletch, was made into a movie.

Also, a tribute by a writer influenced by him.
posted by Confess, Fletch (22 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Confess, Fletch, what do you do now?
posted by jsavimbi at 8:05 PM on September 12, 2008

posted by edmcbride at 8:07 PM on September 12, 2008

I was certain that he had died years ago. Oh, well.

Out of the nine Fletch novels, I'd say about five of them are really good. Fletch is excellent. Pretty good are Confess, Fletch, Fletch's Fortune and Fletch and the Man Who. Fletch's Moxie and Cairoca Fletch are not so good. The first Son of Fletch book is okay, the second one is truly, truly awful. The prequels are okay.

Also, this cannot be said enough: for all its classic one liners, the film Fletch is truly insulting to the novel.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:18 PM on September 12, 2008

Truly, truly, truly.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:27 PM on September 12, 2008

Wow. Forget about only Nixon going to China - only Confess, Fletch could have made this post.
posted by yhbc at 8:30 PM on September 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Flynn books were also entertaining.

I was turned onto these by an aspiring writer who pointed out that there's almost no expository text in Fletch, it's almost all dialog. Very clever!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:36 PM on September 12, 2008

Huh. We just watched the move the other night. I always found it funny that Chevy Chase played both Fletch and the invisible man (in Memoirs of an Invisible Man, by H.F. Saint) as a bit of a bumbler, but in both novels the character is razor-sharp. Great book.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:10 PM on September 12, 2008

aww. Gregory McDonald died. I loved his books. Spent many an evening in the 1970's snuggled under a comforter or a sleeping bag, nose pressed to one of his paperbacks. Loved Fletch's bawdy joie de vivre, his being a rogue. Such a great character and so perfect for the 70's. Had a heated argument with my boyfriend at that time, about his believing Fletch was reality based. He was convinced. Either that or he did a really good job pulling my leg, which is quite possible.

It must have been an interesting learning curve for McDonald to be a New Englander, go South to Giles, Tennessee and run an antebellum cattle farm.

The NYTimes obit. He died of prostate cancer. I wonder what that's like, can't be fun.

His obituary in the local newspaper says some really nice things about his character, good things he did.

My condolences to his wife, Cheryle, his sister, two sons, three stepsons and grandchildren.

Thank you for the many hours of amusement, smiles and enjoyment Mr. McDonald.
posted by nickyskye at 9:51 PM on September 12, 2008

What an incredibly strange coincidence. I literally just finished watching Fletch 5 minutes ago. The special features on the DVD talked about how it was based on a series of books, which I didn't know. Was planning to pick one up at the 'brary tomorrow.

Sucks. RIP.
posted by pkingdesign at 12:09 AM on September 13, 2008

I loved the Flynn books too.

posted by Shepherd at 12:39 AM on September 13, 2008

Fletch is one of the few original people in fiction. I'll always reread Fletch.
posted by ewkpates at 2:24 AM on September 13, 2008

"It's a period-"
"Like 'The End of an Era', something like that?"
"I meant a punctuation mark - as a memorial for the deceased, y'know?"
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:26 AM on September 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed most of his books. I eagerly awaited any new ones in the Fletch series, enjoyed Inspector Flynn, made it through Son of Fletch, and was disturbed by The Brave. And although there is little connection between the book and movie (Fletch), I still love the movie too.

Rest in peace, and may perpetual light shine upon you, Mr. Mcdonald.
posted by genefinder at 3:27 AM on September 13, 2008

I have to agree that the Fletch books that are good are really good, an the others. . . not so much. I actually loved the character of Flynn when he was first introduced, but never got around to reading any of the Flynn novels. Maybe I will now.

Durn: I know he always plays bumbler archtypes, but I always assumed Chase's version of Fletch in the movie just wore a bumbler-persona to keep people off guard and dismissive of him (as well as to entertain the audience, of course). Through the voiceovers, I could sense his sharpness and see the wheels in his head turning.

posted by absalom at 7:46 AM on September 13, 2008

His "Fletch" made me fall in love with the Third Person voice; on the surface the book is simple, but it's deceptively so. "Carioca, Fletch" was so awful, it gave me the impetus to write my own books just to see if I could write something better. I've been trying ever since.

Thank you, Gregory McDonald, so very much.
posted by willmize at 8:08 AM on September 13, 2008

Greg sez Thanks alot.
posted by doctorschlock at 8:18 AM on September 13, 2008

posted by jonp72 at 9:29 AM on September 13, 2008

Goodnight sir, rest in peace.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:19 PM on September 13, 2008

posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 3:23 PM on September 13, 2008

I was in a used book store just a few days ago, browsing through the unsorted paperback book shelves. There was a Fletch book, and then I saw another, and then a third, and I got the idea: Why not bring them all together so that someone can discover Gregory Mcdonald's mystery series, all at once?

"What's your name?"
"What's your full name?"
"What's your first name?"
"Irwin. Irwin Fletcher. People call me Fletch."
"Irwin Fletcher, I have a proposition to make to you. ..."

So I kept looking. I found Fletch, Fletch's Fortune, Carioca Fletch, Fletch and the Man Who, Fletch's Moxie, Fletch Won and The Buck Passes Flynn. And I got to thinking that it had been some time since I'd read any of them, and the store was running a sale -- buy five at a dollar each and the sixth is free -- so I decided to be selfish, and I bought them all.

I had no idea at the time, but that was the day the Giles News ran the obituary.

"Would you like your first martini now, sir?"
"We'd better start sometime. We're only going as far as Rio."

Thank you, sir.

posted by Seabird at 6:43 PM on September 13, 2008

posted by Ber at 6:44 PM on September 13, 2008

"Flynn seldom believed what he heard, but he always believed his ears."

posted by Vidiot at 9:27 PM on September 13, 2008

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