Re: RARA-AVIS: RE: Browne and Chandler

From: Rene Ribic (
Date: 12 Feb 2002

he and Browne were La Jolla neighbors, drank
> together and were as friendly as Chandler was to any competitor. Was
> there a letter critical of Browne that I missed?
> Dick Lochte
I was referring to the BBC radio programme that had Ian Fleming chatting with Chandler & the subject turns to contemporary thrillers. I've had a copy of the transcript in an old fanzine for some years & the relevant portion reads like this :

Fleming : I've just bought "The Taste of Ashes" by Howard Brown (sic). He wrote a book called "Thin Air" before, I don't know if you've read that.

Chandler : No.

However, if you listen to a recording (I downloaded the mp3 either from rara-avis or a link provided by someone here, IIRC) you hear something that goes a little closer to this, with Chandler & Fleming both talking at the same time, more or less.This is an approximation from (recent) memory :

Fleming : ... "The Taste of Ashes" by Howard Browne.

Chandler : Who?

Fleming : Howard Browne.

Chandler : Oh.

Fleming : Well it's very good.

Chandler (muttering, almost under his breath but clearly audible) : He must've improved.

Fleming : Sorry?

Chandler : He must've gotten better.

Of course, Chandler may just have been in a grumpy mood or just annoyed with Browne at the time. Although the interview was broadcast in the morning, according to the story Chandler was already a little under the weather when a nervous Fleming picked him up to drive him to the BBC but luckily he seemed to sober up enough to conduct a reasonable interview. I must stress that the above transcript (mine) is from memory & may not be 100% accurate but it would be pretty close & I stand by the accuracy of the gist of the exchange.Have a listen anyway, if you haven't already. It's supposed to be the only recording extant of Chandler's voice. Speaking of Chandler's voice, for me his accent was a little bit of a surprise. I'd always "pictured" him with an English accent or with a strong trace of one. The accent he has is reminiscent of William Burroughs' accent, which I believe is Mid-Western. Is that the dialect/accent that Chandler spoke in? Was Chandler from the Mid-West, originally?


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