Re: RARA-AVIS: Plunder Road/Squad

From: Juri Nummelin (
Date: 14 Nov 2000

On Tue, 14 Nov 2000 wrote:

> Juri, Westlake may have had Lionel White in mind when he wrote PLUNDER SQUAD.
> He was certainly very familiar with White's work. I recall an MWA anthology
> back in the 70s or early 80s that had a piece by Westlake that involved a
> White novel. A gang (I think in Europe somewhere) used a White novel as a
> plan for a caper. It worked beautifully but then, as Westlake gleefully
> pointed out, "They ran out of book." Life continued beyond the point where
> the book ended and they began to screw things up and were caught.

They kidnapped a child of the Peugeot family. I don't remember which Lionel White that is, but the idea came from him: kidnap a baby, so he can't recognize you afterwards. I think Westlake was ordered to write a movie based on the incident, but the project went down and Westlake put the stuff into a non-existent Parker book that Dortmunder & Co. read in one novel. (The name? I remember only the translation's name!)

> Does the 1958 movie you mentioned, "Plunder Road," star Wayne Morris and
> include a scene where two cars lock bumpers in a traffic jam? That was the
> first caper movie I can remember seeing and it really had an impact. I
> haven't seen it in forty years and I would be curious to see it again and see
> how it holds up.

The very same film. I haven't seen it myself, though I'd very much like to.


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