The Drowning Pool

The Drowning Pool is a 1950 mystery novel by American writer Ross Macdonald, his second book in the series revolving around the cases of private detective Lew Archer.

The Drowning Pool
First edition
AuthorRoss Macdonald
Cover artistBill English
CountryUnited States
SeriesLew Archer
GenreMystery novel
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback)
813/.52 20
LC ClassPS3525.I486 D75 1996
Preceded byThe Moving Target 
Followed byThe Way Some People Die 

Plot summaryEdit

Archer is hired by a woman to investigate a libellous letter she received. The family lives in the house situated on the line between two Southern Californian towns, one an idyllic, oil-rich town and the other the small, seedy town from which the oil comes, corrupt and destroyed by the industry. It is not long before Archer is more concerned with investigating murder instead of just blackmail.

The book was the basis of the 1975 Paul Newman film of the same name but the movie has radical departures from the plot of the novel, including moving the location to Louisiana.


The New York Times called the book "a fast moving, smoothly written first rate whodunnit."[1] They named it one of the top mysteries of 1950.[2]


  1. ^ Criminals At Large: Duff Lays It On Death by Drowning Speeding to Nowhere Hot Rocks Trillium New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]10 Sep 1950: 219.
  2. ^ Best Mysteries of 1950 New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]03 Dec 1950: BR30.