Tom Aragon

Created by Margaret Millar (1915-94)

A young Chicano lawyer who values his independence and often ends up doing his own investigating, TOM ARAGON, was one of the author's few P.I characters, but she must have liked him -- he was the hero of three novels.

A junior partner in a swank southern California law firm, Tom often gets the short end of the stick, and is reduced to doing the grunt work for the senior partners, taking depositions and statements, and doing basic legwork. Fortunately, he seems to have a knack for tracking down missing persons.

Another notable aspect of the series is their variety of tone. The first book, Ask for Me Tomorrow (1976), is touted as a pretty straightforward suspense tale, taut and tight, while the second, The Murder of Miranda (1979), is generally considerably more light-hearted; more a comedy/caper of manners, rather like the mysteries of the Little Sisters. The third and last book in the series, though, is Mermaid (1982), which Ed Gorman considers just "brutal."

Millar was, of course, married to Ross Macdonald (his real name was Ken Millar, but he changed it to avoid accusations he was riding on his wife's coattails). She did write at least a few other P.I. novels, though -- Stranger in My Grave, featuring Mexican-American gumshoe Steve Pinata and another featuring down-and-almost-out SoCal private investigator Joe Quinn, but most of her books weren't detective novels, strictly speaking. Still, they're all good solid bets, full of sometimes-surprising (for the time) emotional and psychological underpinnings. Her best known novel, Beast in View, won an Edgar in 1956, and in 1957, she served as chair of the Mystery Writers of America. In 1965, the Los Angeles times named her Woman of the Year. And in 1983, she was awarded the Grand Master Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Mystery Writers of America.


  • "One of the most original and vital voices in all of American crime fiction."

-- Laura Lippman

  • "No woman in twentieth-century American mystery writing is more important than Margaret Millar."

-- Dorothy B. Hughes

  • "I long ago changed my writing name to Ross Macdonald for obvious reasons."

-- Kenneth Millar, in a letter to the Toronto Saturday Night newspaper.



  • Millar, Margeret, Collected Millar: The Tom Aragon Novels (2017)... Buy this book

Third of an ambitoius series of seven volumes, collecting all of Millar's novels. This one collects all three Tom Aragon novels.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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