Re: RARA-AVIS: Reprinting the lost classics

From: Rene Ribic (
Date: 31 May 2002

> Never read it but have always heard "You Play the Black and the Red
> Up" by Richard Hallas to be a certifiable classic and as far as I can
> long out of print.
> I think someone mentioned Donald Hamilton's "Death of a Citizen" the
> in the Matt Helm series, but I think they may be reprinted sometime
> since the rights to the series were bought by Dreamworks recently for
a new
> film adaptation.
> Brad
> --
 YOU PLAY THE BLACK ... is an excellent book, well worth the republishing. Apparently it was written as a parody/pastiche of the hardboiled school but I found it to be quite readable as a "straight" HB novel. I only found a battered copy of the Black Lizard ed. in comparatively recent times, managing to miss it when it was first reissued. Edmund Wilson's quote, something along the lines of "a 1001 nights on the screwy west coast" adorns the back cover, although he wasn't being complimentary when he wrote it. Speaking of ambivalent blurbs, hows this one from Anthony Boucher on the back of a Nick Carter pb: "with a mastermind antagonist named Mr Judas". I bet a ringing endorsement like that from Mr Boucher helped shift a lot of copies! The Hamilton news is particularly good if you have trouble picking up his books although I have found them easy to find, no doubt reflecting on Hamilton's great popularity back in his day. Still, it's nice that he's still alive to pick up a few new royalties (not to mention film rights).


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