Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Huggins and Chandler

Etienne Borgers (
Wed, 20 Oct 1999 23:22:48 -0700 (PDT)

Last week I took the volume of Chandler's letters looking for some references. This book having the same effect on me as browsing a dictionary or an encyclopedia, I was finally reading something else that what I was looking for. In the same page, my attention was caught by a writer's name: Huggins. And, reading the letter further he appeared to be the writer discussed here in a recent thread. His novel: DOUBLE TAKE is cited.

The comments of Chandler: he thinks the writer was a little too much inspired by Chandler's work. This was done in a rather soft tone, so maybe we could suspect that Chandler's remark was partly made tongue in cheek

QUOTE: In writing to thank him (N: Huggins sent a signed copy of his book to RC, explaining his inspiration)I said his apologies were unnecessary or inadequate and that I could name 3 or 4 writers who has gone as far as he had, without his frankness about it.
/..... Somebody who read Huggins' book told me it was full of scenes which were modeled in detail on scenes in my books, just moved over enough to get by. I didn't seem to notice it myself. Another party, whom I don't care to name on paper even writing to you (=Cleve Adams), told me that when the script of DOUBLE TAKE was submitted, the publisher told Huggins, in effect, that it was bad enough to steal my approach and my method or whatever, but stealing my characters was going a little too far I understand there was some rewriting, but cannot vouch for any of this.

This is only part of Chandler's comments and I'm not a good typist! For those interested, the letter is dated: 4 Sept 1948 addressed to Cleve Adams (contributor to famed 'Black Mask') I myself have no opinion, not recalling having red Huggins' book, but I thought it could be interesting as it probably explains Huggins' early influences.

Going on on the same subject in the same letter, Chandler had a less tender opinion about 'No Orchids for Mrs Blandish' by James Hadley Chase, whom he openly accuses to steal "verbatim" passages from his own works, and from others like Latimer and Hammett.... The letter gives also some Chandler's views about plagiarism.

As I recall, Chandler was generally very critical of writers' novels, was it in the mystery genre or in general literature.

E.Borgers Hard-boiled Mysteries

--- Kevin Burton Smith <> wrote:
> . In fact, I'm working on a mini-bio and
> bibliography for my
> site, because, like it or not, he did much to bring
> the P.I. form to
> television
> And THE DOUBLE TAKE still stands out as some kind of
> classic of its
> kind. Had the studios kept their paws off it, and
> trusted Huggins a
> bit more, 77 SUNSET STRIP would have been a much
> better show.
> (Really, lend me your comb?)
> Kevin Burton Smith

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