Authors


ANTHONY GAGLIANO – Straits of Fortune. Jack Vaughn #1. William Morrow, hardcover, June 2007. Harper, paperback, June 2008.

   Jack Vaughn is a former New York City cop (there’s a long story behind that) who’s now a personal trainer in Miami, and in Straits of Fortune he takes on a job that might qualify him for unlicensed PI status if it weren’t totally illegal, no matter how you look at it.

   The father of his former girl friend (there’s a long story behind that, also) hires him to dispose of a yacht on which the body of the man his daughter dumped Jack for (that’s the long story told briefly) is still lying. Jack hesitates for most of a day, but an offer of $100,000 (half up front) has a way of allowing a lot of qualms to be shushed up and tossed away.

   There is a catch, of course. There is a second body on the yacht. Jack scuttles it anyway, but before he gets to shore, he is… Well, gee, I’m telling you the whole story. Suffice to say that Jack is in a jam, no doubt about it, and it’s a damn good thing he’s in shape, or he wouldn’t get out of it with an entirely whole skin.

   So. There’s lots of action, but there’s also a lot of backstory to be filled in, which Jack tells us about himself. To action fans, this is the kind of thing that could make for an awful lot of down time. The overall result is therefore a bit uneven, as first novels sometimes are, but there is, I found, a certain poetic flow to Gagliano’s prose that propelled me along with a nice rhythm and beat. It doesn’t quite smooth over one medium-sized hole in the plot, but it’s one I found easy enough to ignore, and I kept on reading.

   Nor is this all I should tell you. The last chapter, after all of the shooting is done, and some certain ends are tied up, is well worth the price of admission in itself.

   Now for the bad news. Anthony Gagliano was only partway through Jack Vaughan’s second adventure when he died of a stroke in 2009, at the age of only 53. This first novel was based on his master’s thesis at Florida International University, and Les Standiford and Dan Wakefield, his instructors and mentors there, took it upon themselves to work on the manuscript and finish the book for him.

   The title of the second book is The Emperor’s Club, and was published in 2014. I’ve already ordered a copy.

JOSEPH LOUIS – Madelaine. Bantam, paperback original; 1st printing, March 1987.

   Billed as an “Evan Paris Mystery,” here’s a prime example of how detective work can be used as a means for personal therapy. Paris was once an investigator of sorts, but then became a best-author and was even nominated for an Oscar as a screenwriter.

   When his wife was kidnapped and murdered, however, his life went into a downward spiral and into a complete funk for over a year. Until, that is, he’s asked to find the father of a little old lady’s three-year-old granddaughter. Trudy’s mother Madelaine was also a murder victim, and it’s the mall similarity between the two cases that brings Evan Paris back to life again.

   Tracking down Madelaine’s past is like chasing down a ghost, however, a veritable will-o’-the-wisp. Lew Archer was never haunted as greatly as this by his own memories. But as in Ross Macdonald’s work, this is a case that depends a great deal on untangling the myriad threads in more than one family’s lives, and unraveling the secrets that most of them would prefer to keep concealed.

   This is a powerfully emotional book, there’s no denying it, but as a mystery, I think most readers will put the pieces together just a little faster than Evan Paris does.

— Reprinted from Nothing Accompliced #4, November 1993, considerably revised (mostly reorganizing and rearranging).


Bibliographic Update: This book was nominated for the Shamus Award for Best Original Private Eye Paperback by the Private Eye Writers of America, and for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel by the Crime Writers of Canada in 1988. A second and final book in the series was The Trouble with Stephanie (Bantam, 1988).

   Prior to this series, the author published five books under his own name, Joseph Mark Glazner, about a character named Billy Nevers (Warner, paperback originals, between 1979 and 1981). The New York Times described Nevers as “a wheeler‐dealer in the world of finance, the creation of Joseph Mark Glazner, a Toronto public relations man.”

FIRST YOU READ, THEN YOU WRITE
by Francis M. Nevins


   Last month I talked about some of the correspondence between Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason, and Harry Stephen Keeler, creator of the craziest characters — not to mention the books that housed them! — ever conjured up on land or sea. But I had no space to say anything about the one Keeler book in which ESG is mentioned. THE GALLOWS WAITS, MY LORD! was written in 1953, the year Harry’s last novel to appear in English in his lifetime came out, and was published nowhere, not even in Spain, which continued to put out books of his until shortly before his death in 1967.

   Thanks to that rogue publisher Ramble House, GALLOWS has been available in Keeler’s native tongue — which is not to be confused with English! — since 2003, and it can still be found on the Web. The setting is the mythical banana republic of San do Mar and the plot has to do with the frantic attempts of a Yank who bears the un-Yankish name Kedrick Merijohn to escape hanging, by order of Presidente Doctor Don Carlos Foxardo — whose crack-brained treatise is the required text in every hospital in the country, not to mention its med school! — for the poisoning murder of a stranger while the stranger was trying to poison him. It doesn’t help Merijohn’s case that he inexplicably changed shoes with the corpse after the fatal incident.

   Very late in the book we join British diplomat Sir Clyde Kenwoody in Hollywood where he meets Detective Sergeant Pete O’Swin, who’s wearing a purple derby and a rainbow-hued plaid jacket.

   “Hope you’ll pardon these here sartorical accoutryments, Sir Clyde, but when I got the call from my own chief to report instantly to you here, I’d just finished, over at Metric-Golden-Meier, a walk-on part in one of their new who-done-its — Th’ Case o’ the Dizzy Dipplodoccus by Erle Stanley Gardner, in case you’re int’rusted — yeah, I do a little histrionicals, y’know? — and they not only insisted … on my fetchin’ along a standard dick’s derby — but a purple one! — and bringin’ this screaming mimi of a jacket for a coat. Techn’color ‘twas in, see? And 3-D.”

   This paragraph, which no one else living or dead could have written, not only reveals how HSK made use of ESG — and why whenever I write about our Harry I tend to insert clauses like this one, which invariably end with an exclamation point! — but perhaps will explain to readers who have been spared any acquaintanceship with his immortal works why I call him the wackiest wackadoodle who ever wore out a typewriter ribbon.

***

   Keeler sometimes played the wack for the game’s sake, sometimes to make a point, and occasionally he did both at once, as witness a passage one chapter later when the same O’Swin expounds on one of Harry’s loony laws while also reminding us that his creator was something of a Socialist.

   “Well, Mr. Larson, in this gre-e-at and glor-i-ous Land of the Free an’ the Home o’ the Brave — this Garden Spot of a Utipio run and opyrated for th’ human Serf and countless serfs yet unborned, by th’ National Amer’can Association of Malefact — skip it—Manufacturers, there is a unwrit pervision ‘at a lug took into custardy gets his rap cut in half later if he’s made a sing to them as took him in. A sing bein’ a squawk. A squawk bein’ a co’fession ….”

   When the issue is raised that perhaps the actions of O’Swin and Sir Clyde are unconstitutional, the diplomat points out that “if you’re taken over there [to the police station], and start to set forth your constitutional rights and prerogatives, you’ll only wake up a few hours later lying on a cold cement floor of an isolated cell, with an aching — more probably broken — jaw….” To which O’Swin adds: “Well … we have evoluted certain interestin’ methods t’ cope with the Bill o’ Rights and the Constitution.” This is precisely how matters stood until a number of years later when the Supreme Court began applying federal Bill of Rights protections to criminal defendants in state courts.

***

   In another recent column I devoted an item to the strange case of Georges Simenon’s stand-alone crime novel STRANGERS IN THE HOUSE, which was published in Nazi-occupied France in 1940 as LES INCONNUS DANS LA MAISON and made into a French movie of the same name the following year but wasn’t translated into English until after World War II. The translation, by Geoffrey Sainsbury, appeared in England in 1951 and in the U.S. three years later.

   It’s the same translation both times, right? Wrong!!! In the English version as reprinted in 2006 by the New York Review of Books with a new introduction by P.D. James, we find on page 70 a passage where the protagonist Hector Loursat ponders whether there are any similarities between him and any of the strangers in his house. “Yet there was no connection. Not even a resemblance. He hadn’t been poor like Emile Manu or a Jew like Luska….”

   In the American version this becomes: “There was no connection. No resemblance. He hadn’t been poor like Manu, or an Armenian like Luska….” Incidentally, Manu’s first name in the American version is Robert, not Emile. The first alteration is understandable, and exactly what Anthony Boucher had done several years before when translating for EQMM a Simenon story with a Jewish villain. But why the second change? And, if we were to compare the two versions line by line, how many more alterations would we discover?

***

   It’s not connected with anything else in this column, but I feel compelled to bring up a recent death. Colin Dexter, creator of the immortal Inspector Morse, died on March 21, age 86. I met him once, when he was on a book tour with a St. Louis stop, and was smart enough to bring with me the only Morse novel I then had in first edition, LAST SEEN WEARING (1976), which he signed for me.

   The earliest entries among his thirteen novels didn’t make much of an impression, but once the Morse TV movie series was launched, John Thaw’s superb performance as the brilliant but flawed Oxford sleuth caused Dexter’s sales to climb into the stratosphere. The series lasted for 33 episodes, each approximately two hours long. Ten of them, including my favorites — “The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn” and “Service of All the Dead” — are based on his novels.

   The other three novels — THE RIDDLE OF THE THIRD MILE (1983), THE SECRET OF ANNEXE 3 (1986) and THE JEWEL THAT WAS OURS (1991) — were never officially filmed. Three early episodes were based on ideas or other material by Dexter, and when he turned them into the novels above, they were not remade. (The respective telefilm titles for the trio are “The Last Enemy,” “The Secret of Bay 5B” and “The Wolvercote Tongue.”)

   In Dexter’s final novel, THE REMORSEFUL DAY (2000), which was also the source of the last Morse TV movie, the Inspector dies — not at the hands of a murderer but because, as Dexter explained, he drank too much, smoked too much and almost never exercised. Well, he may have died physically, but I strongly suspect he and his creator will live on for many decades to come.

SIMON NASH – Dead Woman’s Ditch. Geoffrey Bles, UK, hardcover, 1964. Roy, US, hardcover, 1966. Perennial Library PL777, US, paperback; 1st printing, 1985.

   Most of this adventure of Adam Ludlow takes place in and around a small English hotel in remote Somerset at the end of September, and for some reason, all of the rooms are filled. What it takes a while for the police to realize, after one of the guests has been murdered, and unpleasant man by the name of Silas Taker, is that each of the others has a motive, that of blackmail.

   Scotland Yard is called in, and back in the days when they could still so things ike that, they call upon Ludlow for assistance themselves. Ludlow is what you might call a literary academician, an amateur dabbling in crime, and in this one he gets a (brief) taste of impending personal violence as well.

   There are obviously lots of suspects in the case, plus lots of clues and false trails, and it’s still a puzzle to me why the naming of the killer seems to fall as flat as it does. Barzun and Taylor [in A Catalogue of Crime] feel that this is one of Ludlow’s weaker adventures. Since it’s the first I’ve ever read, I wouldn’t know, but while I enjoyed the book, I guess what I was expecting was a stronger finale.

— Reprinted from Nothing Accompliced #4, November 1993, very slightly revised.


Bio-Bibliographic Notes:   Simon Nash was the pseudonym of Raymond Chapman, 1924-2013, a Professor of English at London University and an Anglican priest. There are no books in Hubin under his own name.

       The Adam Ludlow series [each also features Inspector Montero] —

Dead of a Counterplot, 1962.
Killed by Scandal, 1962.
Death Over Deep Water. 1963.
Dead Woman’s Ditch, 1964.
Unhallowed Murder, 1966

THE BACKWARD REVIEWER
William F. Deeck


WILLIAM RUSHTON – W. G. Grace’s Last Case, or the War of the Worlds, Part Two. Methuen, UK, hardcover, 1984; paperback, 1985. No US edition.

   [England in the 1890s], the War of the Worlds is at an end, with the earth and its microbes victorious. Castor Vilebastard (pronounced “Villibart” according to Vilebastard, but we know better), about to bowl to W. G. Grace, the world’s foremost cricketer, collapses on the pitch at Lord’s, an Apache arrow in his back.

   This novel is what may be called a reverse roman à clef — that is, there are fictitious people going about under real names. There are also real people using their real names.

   Some of the more active real people — there are scores of them — are Grace, Dr John Watson, Inspector Lestrade, Mrs Hudson, Oscar Wilde, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Professor Moriarty. The fictitious people, among others, are Dr Henry Jekyll, along with his compatriot, Mr Hyde, and A. J. Raffles. Lord Greystoke makes a brief appearance.

   Sherlockians will, of course, be fascinated by this new adventure of Dr Watson’s although they may be outraged when they note the suggestion that he has it off with Queen Victoria. They may also be puzzled by Watson’s introducing himself to Grace as “John D. Watson”, as if there weren’t enough problems with the good doctor’s name. To add to the confusion, Watson claims he saw Moriarty vanish over the Reichenbach Falls. And, unfortunately, Watson is portrayed as more than a bit of a nitwit, which he never was.

   Still, the author makes up for these strange statements by telling us, albeit too briefly, how Holmes, with Watson’s inadvertent aid, was responsible for the ultimate defeat of the Martians.

   To enjoy this novel, no reader need be aware of what a silly mid-on or even a silly mid-off does on the cricket field. What is essential to bring to it is an appreciation of delightful farce, verbal slapstick, and good bad puns as Grace, Watson, and allies pursue Pollux Vilebastard, twin brother of Castor and an even bigger villain than Moriarty, to find out just what in (and out of) the world he is up to.

   The Times Literary Supplement called this “a comic tour de force”. A typical English understatement, I’d opine.

— Reprinted from CADS 23, ca. 1994. Email Geoff Bradley for subscription information.


Biographical Note:   From his Wikipedia page: “William George Rushton (18 August 1937 – 11 December 1996) was an English cartoonist, satirist, comedian, actor and performer who co-founded the satirical magazine Private Eye.”

BASIL HEATTER – A Night Out. Popular Library #771, paperback original; 1st printing, September 1956. A shorter version appeared in Manhunt, September 1954, as “The Empty Fort.”

   For an author with a double dozen books to his credit, over a period of over three decades, there is not much known about Basil Heatter (1918-2009), except for one fact that is invariably mentioned whenever his name comes up.

   Here, for example, is the biographical blurb about him that’s on the first page of the book in hand:

    “Born on Long Island in 1918, Basil Heatter attended schools in Connecticut, then went abroad when he was 16 for a two year travel stint in Europe.

    “Returning to America, he went to work for a New York advertising agency. During the war he served as skipper of a P.T. boat in the southwest Pacific.

    “He is the son of Gabriel Heatter, the radio commentator, and at present he, Basil, is a news commentator for the Mutual Broadcasting System.”

   That was in 1956. From CRIME FICTION IV: A Comprehensive Bibliography, 1749-2000, by Allen J. Hubin (2015), we learn just a little more:

    “Born on Long Island, the son of radio commentator Gabriel Heatter; was advertising copywriter in 1970s living on a boat off Florida, and racing and chartering; died in Miami, FL.”

   Heatter has thirteen books included in CFIV, one marginally, but at the moment A Night Out is not one of them, and it should be. The crime involved is not a major one, I grant you, not at the beginning, at least — that of smuggling some booze out of Cuba to shrimp boat skipper Johnny Flake’s home port of Key West — but small capers like this often run into trouble, matters escalate, and some people end up wounded or dead, and that’s exactly what happens here.

   While this is criminous enough to suit most readers of this blog, I’d have to admit that most of the book consists of character studies of the players in it. All of them have a past, and events in the past have a way of making people who they are today. It takes awhile for their paths to converge, however, ending in a midnight shootout in an abandoned fort off the islands of Dry Torgugas, but the getting there is well worth it.

   There are two women involved, Molly being the one that Flake let get away, and the other Jessica, is the promiscuous live-in lady friend of yachtsman Allan Chambers, who can’t live without her, but neither can he live with her. Another player is an old rummy named Cruze, who was at one time a terrific ship’s engineer, but it’s only because Flake needs someone in a hurry does he hire on the old man who’s now seriously afflicted with the shakes and an unquenchable thirst.

   More than a crime novel, what this book is is pure noir. Most — not all — of the participants in the drama that takes place in this book are doomed, in one way or another. Most have no future, save what chance and pure luck give them. There’s little they can do to help themselves.

   Although far from being in their league, Heatter channels F. Scott Fitzgerald and maybe Ernest Hemingway in this novel, more so than he does either of the two old standbys of Hammett and Chandler. While all but forgotten today, Heatter is more than adequate as a writer — he certainly knew his way around boats and the Gulf of Mexico — and he brings his characters enough to life that I know I’ll remember them all for a while to come.

   John Payne could play Johnny, and Walter Brennan would be perfect as Cruze. Gail Russell could easily be Molly, but to tell you the truth, no matter what movie taking place in the 50s that I happen to be casting, there’d always be a part for Gail Russell.

THE LOST BOOKS OF PETER CHEYNEY, Part Two
by Keith Chapman


   Part One of this two-part article can be found here.

   The Detective Weekly cover (1937) is from the FictionMags Index. This is the issue that ran The Gold Kimono, which was written by Cheyney under his Stephen Law byline. Note that it has the title as “Gold” not “Golden”, as recorded in the FictionMags listings, and which I now believe might be a mistake.

   The art is unmistakably by Eric Parker who was still working for the Amalgamated Press (by then Fleetway Publications) when I got my first-ever job on leaving school (as an editorial assistant on the staff of the Sexton Blake Library). Later (1964), I commissioned Eric to do interior illustrations for the Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine when I founded and edited this digest for Micron Publications.

   And here below is the Detective Weekly cover for The Riddle of the Strange Last Words, another Stephen Law novella, which I believe was a version of the newspaper story Death Chair. Roy Glashan informs me that Detective Weekly used the wrong artwork for this issue. The illustration in fact depicts a scene from another newspaper serial, the Vengeance of Hop Fi, which DW was to use as The Mark of Hop Fi.

   I have found a Collectors’ Digest article by Brian Doyle at Google that throws a little more light on the early Cheyney career. I noted in particular this piece:

    “In 1926 he founded and directed the Editorial and Literary Services Agency. He and his staff researched, wrote and sold stories and features to newspapers and magazines throughout Britain and overseas. His agency was extremely successful and sold nearly 800 press features in its first year alone. Cheyney specialised in writing about real-life crime and criminals…”

   I surmise that the four full-length Cheyney works just discovered in the digitized Australian and New Zealand newspapers were bought from this agency … also that the loss of Cheyney’s “massive set of files on criminal activity in London …destroyed during the Blitz in 1941” (Wikipedia) possibly included the newspaper serials.

   Although I’d read before of Cheyney’s part in writing “Tinker’s Notebook” (a Sexton Blake feature in the story paper Union Jack), I didn’t know that he’d attempted a Blake yarn of his own and had it rejected. I did know that his friend Gerald Verner (aka Blake author Donald Stuart) had a hand in adapting Cheyney novels for the stage.

Note:   This article has been slightly revised and expanded since it was first posted.

THE LOST BOOKS OF PETER CHEYNEY, Part One
by Keith Chapman


   My email traffic has been buzzing with Peter Cheyney messages, both “to” and “from.”

   UK bibliographer Steve Holland of the Bear Alley blog, which has in the past run several lengthy posts about this hugely successful author of thrillers in the 1940s and ’50s, recently wrote to say: “Amazing to see all these forgotten works by such a major author turning up.”

   Now available at Roy Glashan’s freeread.com.au (a Project Gutenberg offshoot) is The Deadly Fresco, which made its first appearance as a newspaper serial in Australia in 1932.

   In Roy’s pipeline are several more such full-length works, written as much as eight years prior to publication of the “first” Cheyney novels recorded at Wikipedia, the Thrilling Detective website, the Official Peter Cheyney website, etc.

   Just a few days ago I told Roy about The Sign on the Roof, serialized in the Auckland Star from September 14 to October 5 in 1935, and about Death Chair serialized in the New Zealand Herald from May 21 to July 16 in 1932. (Very incidentally the NZ Herald was the first paper I worked on after arriving here in 1967, and I was an Auckland Star sub-editor at the time of its closure in 1991.)

   Roy replied, “I wasn’t aware of the existence of this novel [The Sign on the Roof]. ”

   Steve Holland found an advertisement in a British newspaper announcing serialization of Death Chair in the Sheffield Mail in 1931. It said, “Mr Peter Cheyney is already well known to Sheffield Mail serial readers who remember his splendid stories The Vengeance of Hop Fi and The Gold Kimono.”

   Both these serials were also syndicated and ran in Australian and New Zealand newspapers, such as the Auckland Star and the New Zealand Herald. Digital image files can be seen at PapersPast, a website of the National Library of New Zealand.

   Roy tells me he has ebook versions of the pair in the pipeline for his RG Library at freeread.com.au. The Vengeance of Hop Fi‘s first appearance that he knew of was the serialization in the Auckland Star beginning on July 7, 1928.

   The FictionMags Index has novella, presumably abridged, versions of the Hop Fi and Komino stories listed under the pen-name “Stephen Law” and published in 1937 in single issues of the Amalgamated Press’s Detective Weekly. FictionMags also lists a newspaper serialization of The Sign on the Roof in The Hawick News (Scotland) in 1935.

   Whetting my reading appetite for these well and truly forgotten books, not known to have been in print since the 1920s and ’30s, is this quote from the NZ Herald:

    “The Death Chair is an astounding story told by a great writer in his most brilliant form. It is drama, pathos, humour, a story that captivates the minds of all who read.”

Note:   Part Two of this two-part article appears here.

A 1001 MIDNIGHTS Review
by Ellen Nehr


FRANCIS BONNAMY – The King Is Dead on Queen Street. Duell, Sloan & Pearce, hardcover, 1945. Penguin #629, paperback, 1947.

   The combination of the Great Intellect and his Loyal Chronicler has been a mainstay of detective fiction since Watson first began keeping records. Academics with plenty of time on their hands to devote to travel and detection have also always been popular. Mix these elements with a colorful wartime setting in Alexandria, Virginia, and eclectic characters who are both native to the area and transient, and you have a perfect recipe for murder.

   Peter Shane, former professor and head of the Department of Criminology at the University of Chicago, and his assistant, Bonnamy, are now living in a third-floor apartment in Alexandria while on military assignment. Both are present at a neighborhood party when much-disliked Joe Long, a well-known photographer known as “The King,” is found dead — presumably from a fall down the steps of his home.

   When it is discovered that someone had tied a string across Long’s steps, Shane and Bonnamy must attempt to clear their friends and landlady from suspicion, and their investigation focuses on the interrelationships between the party guests, each of whom had an intense reason for wishing to see Long dead. Even the family dogs and the layout of the house do not escape the pair’s scrutiny as they study the past histories of this set of oddly associated people.

   Francis Bonnamy is a pseudonym for Audrey Boyers Waltz; she wrote seven Shane/Bonnamy novels, taking full advantage of local color and geography of Chicago, Maine, Arizona, and other interesting locales. All loose ends are convincingly tied up at the ends of these humorous books, and the treatment of Shane’s detective skills is particularly good.

   Other noteworthy titles are Death on a Dude Ranch (1937), which has a Wyoming setting, Dead Reckoning (1943), which deals with murder in Washington, D.C., and buried pirate treasure on Cape Fear; and Portrait of the Artist as a Dead Man (1947), which, like The King Is Dead on Queen Street, is set in Alexandria and involves interplay among a group of diverse people in the art world.

         ———
   Reprinted with permission from 1001 Midnights, edited by Bill Pronzini & Marcia Muller and published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2007.   Copyright © 1986, 2007 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust.

Bibliographic Note:   Other books in this series are: Death by Appointment (1931), A Rope of Sand (1944), Blood and Thirsty (1949) and The Man in the Mist (1951).

LIAM PHILLIPS on his father, PHILIP ATLEE,
Author of the Joe Gall Books:


   James Young Phillips, a/k/a James Atlee Phillips, a/k/a Philip Atlee, was my father. The man lived large and was somewhat of an enigma to us all. He was married three times and his last marriage was to my mother, Martha Phillips. Singer-songwriter Shawn Phillips is my half-brother from a previous marriage.

   I am the Copyright Holder of Record for all of his written works, excepting the screenplays which are the properties of the studios for whom he wrote them. We are working to get the books into digital format, including an unpublished autobiography, and at least one short story compilation. Jim wrote several unproduced screenplays as well, but the publication rights to those items is a bit more tricky. We will see what happens.

   To answer a few questions: My father resisted having his photograph taken under any circumstances. He reluctantly relented for obligatory family functions and even then often did so with a pair of his trademark dark sunglasses on. He was the subject of several newspaper articles over the years and always used the same picture — black turtleneck and dark glasses.

   Said photograph was taken for an article published in a Hong Kong newspaper in the late ’60s/early ’70s. There will be plenty of photos in the autobiography, including that one. The work is slow as I am at it by myself and struggled with serious health issues for over a decade. Thankfully, those problems are now fully resolved and I am capable of doing work again.

   The man pictured on the cover of the Joe Gall novels is an Irish bartender whose name may be lost to history. He was discovered by either Jim’s agent or a representative of Fawcett/Gold Medal and seemed to fit the description of Joe Gall. He was paid a flat fee for a photograph session and was thereafter pictured on the covers.

   We have had numerous inquiries over the years re: Joe Gall film projects. We had Clint Eastwood calling in the ’70s/80s and most recently David Mamet. We’ve also had some discussion about audio books and graphic novel versions, but the process is what it is in each case. There has never been any hesitance or reluctance (or greed) on my part, I can assure you. I, too, am a fan of the works and would love to get them out there for people to enjoy in whatever format I can.

   Jim went through life traveling light — he regularly discarded of documentation and paperwork for all aspects of his life. He did so to such a degree that the sum total of his possessions at the end of his life were a few pieces of clothing, a typewriter and a box of blank paper, and a few scribbles on notepads. Clarity on copyright, history, origins, all of that stuff, has been elusive to say the least.

   My intention is to get the works, including SOME of the unpublished material, onto Amazon this year. Digitizing via OCR, proofing, artwork – for a 22 book series, plus 5 other novels, and the short stories – is a MASSIVE amount of work for even a group of dedicated people. But we are determined! The autobiography will take a bit longer, what with the photos and so forth. The book itself is quite the read from a very opinionated character who didn’t have a PC bone in his body and we are all the better for it!

   I have cruised by Mystery*File over the years, but had nothing to add as I was too ill for even the obligations of a muted correspondence.

   I want to thank every single person who has said such positive things about my father and his works (and my brother as well). You are all truly appreciated and recognized. I hope that we can do your interests justice and produce material that meets your standards and that everyone can enjoy. Many thanks to all of you amazing people!

       The Joe Gall series —

The Green Wound. Gold Medal k1321, July 1963 [New Orleans, LA]
   — Reprinted as The Green Wound Contract, Gold Medal, 1967.
The Silken Baroness. Gold Medal k1489, 1964 [Canary Islands]
   — Reprinted as The Silken Baroness Contract, Gold Medal, 1966
The Death Bird Contract. Gold Medal d1632, 1966 [Mexico]
The Paper Pistol Contract. Gold Medal d1634, 1966 [Tahiti]
The Irish Beauty Contract. Gold Medal d1694, 1966 [Bolivia]
The Star Ruby Contract. Gold Medal d1770, 1967 [Burma]
The Rockabye Contract. Gold Medal d1901, 1968 [Caribbean]
The Skeleton Coast Contract. Gold Medal D1977, 1968 [Africa]
The Ill Wind Contract. Gold Medal R2087, 1969 [Indonesia]
The Trembling Earth Contract. Gold Medal, 1969 [U.S. South]
The Fer-de-Lance Contract. Gold Medal, Jan 1971 [Caribbean]
The Canadian Bomber Contract. Gold Medal T2450, August 1971 [Montreal, Canada]
The White Wolverine Contract. Gold Medal T2508, Dec 1971 [Vancouver, Canada]
The Kiwi Contract. Gold Medal T2530, Feb 1972 [New Zealand]
The Judah Lion Contract. Gold Medal T2608, Sept 1972 [Ethiopia]
The Spice Route Contract. Gold Medal T2697, April 1973 [Middle East]
The Shankill Road Contract. Gold Medal T2819, Sept 1973 [Ireland]
The Underground Cities Contract. Gold Medal M2925, Feb 1974 [Turkey]
The Kowloon Contract. Gold Medal M3028, August 1974 [Hong Kong]
The Black Venus Contract. Gold Medal M3187, Feb 1975 [South America]
The Makassar Strait Contract. Gold Medal P3477, March 1976 [Indonesia]
The Last Domino Contract. Gold Medal 1-3587, 1976 [Korea]

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