First edition cover
|Genre||Mystery, Comedy Novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-672-52020-6 (first edition, paperback)|
|LC Classification||PZ4.M13473 Fl PS3563.A278|
|Followed by||Confess, Fletch|
Fletch is a 1974 mystery novel by Gregory Mcdonald, the first in a series featuring the character Irwin Maurice Fletcher.
The first Fletch novel (1974) introduces I. M. Fletcher, a journalist and ex-marine staying on a beach watching the drug culture for a story, waiting to find the dealer's source before publishing an exposé.
A millionaire businessman named Alan Stanwyk approaches Fletch to hire Fletch to murder him; the man tells Fletch that he is dying of bone cancer and wants to avoid a slow, painful death. Fletch accepts $1000 in cash to listen to the man's proposition; the man offers him $20,000 for the murder, and Fletch talks him up to $50,000 in an effort to see if the man is serious. He appears to be serious, and Fletch begins investigating the man's story in between investigating the drug story on the beach and avoiding the two attorneys after him for alimony for each of his ex-wives.
Because of the popularity of Fletch, many sequels (and prequels) were written involving the character. The following books were written in the Fletch series by Gregory McDonald (in the stories' chronological order):
- Fletch Won (1985)
- Fletch, Too (1986)
- Fletch and the Widow Bradley (1981)
- Fletch (1974)
- Carioca Fletch (1984)
- Confess, Fletch (1976)
- Fletch's Fortune (1978)
- Fletch's Moxie (1982)
- Fletch and the Man Who (1983)
- Son of Fletch (1993)
- Fletch Reflected (1994)
McDonald wanted the final two books (featuring Fletch's son Jack) to be spin-offs called Jack's Story and Jack and the Perfect Mirror, respectively.
In Confess, Fletch, McDonald introduced another popular character, Inspector Francis Xavier Flynn, a brilliant but eccentric police detective who serves as a foil for Fletch. Flynn would go on to star in four of his own spin-off novels: Flynn, The Buck Passes Flynn, Flynn's In and Flynn's World.
Awards and nominations
Fletch won a 1975 Edgar Allan Poe Award, for Best First Novel, from the Mystery Writers of America. The sequel, Confess, Fletch, also won an Edgar Award, for Best Paperback Original, in 1977. As Mcdonald's official website notes: "The only time a novel and its sequel won back-to-back Edgars."