RARA-AVIS: The Travis McGee series

From: George C. Upper III ( gcupper3@yahoo.com)
Date: 12 Jul 2002

Into each life a little rain must fall.

Many of you know that I spent some time in the JDM papers at the U of Florida library earlier this year. What I haven't mentioned since then (except to Bill and one or two select others) is that in that collection is an unpublished Travis McGee novel: LITTLE FOXES, THE COLOR OF CREAM. Perhaps I'm just behind the times, and the existence of this novel is common knowledge; but it's never come up in any of the material I've read on MacDonald.

Anyway, it was written as the third in the series, but JDM pulled it before the first one came out. (In fact, it was because of a cover letter from JDM to Knox, explaining the re-write of the end of Deep Blue Good-By, that I found the manuscript.) It's similar in some respects to THE QUICK RED FOX, but not in plot. I suppose you could read the one as an early, early draft of the other, but even that is stretching it.

At any rate, I've kept my find quiet in hopes that the estate would let me do a short run of the novel for collectors and libraries, but I just got word today that they're not going to do that. I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed. I hope that somehow this novel gets out where it can be read. It's not his best McGee, but JDM at his worst is still considerably better than a lot of other people at their best.

Anyone in the Gainsville, FL area--or passing through--might want to take a couple of hours in the Smathers Library special collections department to read through the manuscript. There are also a lot of
"false starts"--one or two chapters of uncompleted novels--of both McGee and stand-alone novels. It's a fun collection to go through, and there are literally hundreds of boxes. The man saved everything.


===== George C. Upper III, Editor The Lightning Bell Poetry Journal http://www.lightningbell.org/

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