RARA-AVIS: New boy

From: RCsaltaire@aol.com
Date: 04 Feb 2001

Having found rara-avis thanks to the wonders of google.com, I've been lurking around, reading the emails, surfing various links and realising that I probably have no place here on two counts - 1) I haven't read nearly enough and 2) I like Robert B Parker's Spenser books.

Still, I did discover and buy thanks to the archive and courtesy of Amazon, Tom Nolan's biog of Ross Macdonald, so I intend to linger. Therefore I'd better introduce myself.

I'm Richard Coomber, a sports journalist from West Yorkshire in England. I missed out on hard-boiled fiction as a young man (I'm now 55) because I was a bit of a book snob, although a musician from the Drury Lane theatre tried to convert me when I ran a small bookshop in London. He would buy two or three thrillers a week to read in his non-playing moments during a long running muscal. That got me thinking and dabbling.

Later as a salesman and publicity man for Penguin Books in the UK, I read several more thrillers - that's where I became enthusiastic about Parker who we introduced to Britain - as well as other writers who have become firm favourites like Richard Condon, who became a friend.

After several years and several different careers, when reading seemed to disappear from my life, I became a sports journalist aged 40. It was a matter of learning some technique and quick, and somehow I stumbled on a quote from Chandler that seemed to sum up what sports writing should be all about: "We are dealing with a public that is only semi-literate and we have to make an art of a language they can understand." I also loved the idea of "putting into the stuff something they (the readers) would not shy off from, perhaps even not know was there as a conscious realization, but which would somehow distil through their minds and leave an afterglow." Needless to say, I ain't achieved it often, if at all.

That started me off reading hard-boiled fiction in order to improve my writing style and led, inevitably to Ross Macdonald, who I would probably name as my favourite author if I was held against a wall by a persistent library researcher.

I'm also a fan of Paretsky, McBain and Leonard and look forward to being led towards new, as yet untried authors via this list.

Richard Coomber

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 04 Feb 2001 EST