I drove up to the house on a private road that widened at the summit into a parking apron. When I got out of my car I could look back over the city and see the towers of the mission and the courthouse half submerged in smog. The channel lay on the other side of the ridge, partly enclosed by its broken girdle of islands....is the beginning of Ross Macdonald's The Blue Hammer.
This was Ross Macdonald's final novel and the Lew Archer private eye series was well-established by this point. Macdonald had begun to get the acclaim that has since landed him in the Library of America. It seems to me he's not trying anything flashy here at the beginning in this one. The narrator is Lew Archer but we're not told that. (Though it is on the cover of the book.) He's on his way to see a potential client, but we don't really know that either; all we know is that he's on the grounds of a well-to-do southern California house. (Mission, smog.) It's low-key, but still I like it. Though I have to admit, if I wasn't already a Macdonald fan, I don't know that it would sell me.
Book Beginnings on Fridays is a bookish meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. To play, quote the beginning of the book you're currently reading, give the author and title, and any thoughts if you like. Your reporter is almost on location this week, reporting remotely from (northern) California.