The Dark Tunnel by Ross Macdonald

The Dark Tunnel by Ross Macdonald

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On the home front, two wartime lovers reunite under a cloud of paranoia

In 1937 Munich, an American must be careful when he smokes his pipe. Robert Branch, a careless academic, makes the mistake of lighting up when the Führer is about to begin a procession, and nearly gets pummeled for his mistake. Only the timely intervention of Ruth Esch, a flame-haired actress, saves him. So begins a month-long romance between East and West—a torrid affair that ends when the lovers make the mistake of defending a Jew, earning Branch a beating and Esch a trip to a concentration camp.

Six years later, Esch escapes to Vichy and makes her way to Detroit. To her surprise, Branch is waiting for her. He is a professor, working for the war effort, and his paranoia about a spy inside the Motor City war board sours their reunion. Once again, a dangerous net is encircling these lovers—a reminder that, in this war, love always comes second to death.


“A story told with consummate skill.” —New York Times

“No once since Macdonald has written with such poetic inevitability about people, their secret cares, their emotional scars, their sadness, cowardice, and courage. He reminded the rest of us of what was possible in our genre.” —Jon Lutz, author of Single White Female

“The greatest mystery novelist of his age, I would argue, even greater than Chandler.” —John Connolly, author of Every Dead Thing

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