RARA-AVIS: Charles Williams

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 25 Apr 2000

I have always thought Charles Williams did not get his due. He did write a series of backwoods tramp novels for Gold Medal in the 1950s. It was a very active sub-genre inspired by the tremendous success of Erskine Caldwell in paperback. Growing up in Georgia myself I always wished the Daisy Mae tramps were as common in real life as in that type novel.

In addition to Williams' generally excellent "bad woman gets good man in trouble" novels, he also did some of the best mysteries with a sailing background. They generally had hardback publication. DEAD CALM is a good example. As the novel was reprinted when the movie came out a few years ago, I doubt there is any trouble with the estate on republication.

The best thing on Williams I remember was an article in a book edited by Jon Breen. It quotes Williams' agent (Don Cogden?) as saying Williams committed suicide. He had spent some time in Europe, I believe, where he did film work. I think the article was by Ed Gorman.

Sorry to be so imprecise but I am an ocean away from my collection in Alexandria, Virginia. Bill Crider also had an article in the collection so perhaps he can supply the particulars. The book is well worth seeking out as it covers Peter Rabe, Whittington, Ed Lacy, as well as some of the more celebrated writers from the 1950s.

Richard Moore

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