The Moving Target

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The Moving Target
First edition
AuthorRoss Macdonald
Cover artistBill English
CountryUnited States
SeriesLew Archer
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback)
Followed byThe Drowning Pool 

The Moving Target is a 1949 mystery novel by American writer Ross Macdonald, who at this point used the name "John Macdonald" after his father, John Macdonald Millar. It is the first of his books to feature the detective Lew Archer.

Archer is hired by the dispassionate wife of an eccentric oil tycoon who has gone missing. Archer must dig through a strange cast of characters, finding crime after crime before he can get to the job he was hired to do. For the book, Macdonald created the fictional city of Santa Teresa, a version of Santa Barbara, California.[1]

The novel became the basis for the 1966 Paul Newman film Harper, thanks in no small part to screenwriter William Goldman.[2]


  1. ^ Priestman, Martin (2003). The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction. Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ Goldman, William (1983). Adventures in the Screen Trade. Warner Books. pp. 177–179. ISBN 0-446-51273-7.