RARA-AVIS: Re: Browne & Spillane

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 12 Feb 2002

Both "versions" of the circumstances surrounding Howard Browne buying and rewriting a Spillane short story are related in Browne's INCREDIBLE INK memoir. The excerpt on the website must have left out the "Life" magazine part of the story. Browne sought a Spillane story at the suggestion of the publisher Bill Ziff. It was an unpublishable dog even though Spillane was at the time as hot as a writer could be. Browne got a letter from the agent saying he could make any changes and then ghosted "The Veiled Woman." At some point during the time before publication, Life magazine did the spread where Spillane related the original "The Woman With Green Skin." Browne saw the article and knew "I had my ace-in-the-hole if it ever came to it, which it did!" It was the Life article stepping on the story that backed Spillane off, although it did help matters when Spillane learned that Browne wrote the "Halo" books under the name John Evans.

I almost didn't buy INCREDIBLE INK because of the expense but I'm glad I did.
 As I've stated here before, I consider Browne's THE TASTE OF ASHES (1957) one of the great PI novels of all time.

Richard Moore

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