From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 01 Jun 2002

In a message dated 6/1/2002 4:01:56 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Joy writes:

 I was reminded of an exciting adventure book I thought was by Frank Gruber
 that took place in South America and concerned llamas. "The Red <something
 or other>"? So I Googled, and didn't see anything close by the time I was
 distracted by the story of his friendship with and influence on L. Ron
 Hubbard. Does this book sound familiar to anyone?

I don't see a book "The Red (blank)" on the Gruber list I checked. It sounds like one of his novels published in the 1960s that had international themes such as: The Gold Gap (1968), The Etruscan Bull (1969) and The Spanish Prisoner (1969). I was never moved the read any of those but it is likely others on the list have. Gruber writes about Hubbard in several points in The Pulp Jungle. A couple of times when the story or comment might be seen as uncomplimentary, IIRC, Gruber did not use Hubbard's name but it was easy to figure out from the context. In those days discussing Hubbard in print could spark litigation or threats of litigation.

Regarding YOU PLAY THE BLACK AND THE RED COMES UP, I leaned toward the parody opinion when I read it. Various aspects were just a touch too much, yet never so much as to be an obvious sendup. Thinking about it since, I am not as certain it was an intended parody or just a clever writer trying to mimic James M. Cain who had hit the big time with POSTMAN. The book gave off the feeling that the author wasn't really into it or viewed the story and the characters with a bit of distain. Was it a parody or just someone painting by the numbers? I don't know. Either way it is worth reading as a clever piece of writing.

Richard Moore

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