Re: RARA-AVIS: Charles Williams

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 31 Aug 2002

Paul said:
> Charles Williams left home to ride the rails during the Great Depression.
> Charles Williams went to sea instead, serving ten years as a radioman in
> Merchant Marine. Later, when he became a writer, he put his nautical
> background to good use, with many of his best stories taking place at sea
> in port. When on land, his stories were usually set in the rural South; as
> Geoffry O'Brien puts it, "When his characters talk about going to the big
> city they usually mean Shreveport."
> Williams' fiction wasn't jam-packed with action like that of many of his
> contemporaries, but simmered with hidden conflicts that grew until they
> boiled over into sudden violence. Frequently the conflict featured a woman
> whose motives were unclear, sometimes even to herself.
> A sensitive man who was unwilling to change with the demands of the
> marketplace and unable to face failure, Williams drowned himself in 1975.
> I found this on

********* Thanks, Paul. I found that part about him being in the Merchant Marines on the inside cover of my DEAD CALM dust cover. I dragged out my copy of O'Brien's HARDBOILED AMERICA last night and read what it had on him. Not much. I've got a Mystery Encyclopedia that has a short section on him. Not much there, either. I can think of at least a hundred questions about him that I'd like answered. From somewhere I picked up that he only had a 10th grade education. I'll drag everything I have on him together next week.

Maybe Bill Crider knows somebody in the publishing biz that could shed some light on his life.


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