Re: RARA-AVIS: Jim Doherty's Favorites

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 02 Oct 2002

----- Original Message ----- From: "JIM DOHERTY" <>
> > John Wainwright: DIG THE GRAVE AND LET HIM LIE -
> > Jim claims that Wainwright
> > "doesn't belt it out of the park every time he steps
> > up to bat." This was a
> > fresh-air shot (don't know the baseball terminology,
> > sorry).
> Is "fresh-air shot" a Cricket term? And if so, does
> that mean you liked it or not? This is a Wainwright I
> haven't read yet.

I know cricket terminology only slightly better than I know baseball terminology, Jim. I don't know which sport inspired the phrase, but a
"fresh-air shot" is one in where you miss the ball completely. Ergo, no, I didn't like it at all. I'll look out for ALL ON A SUMMER'S DAY, though. I'll happily give Wainwright another shot.

> In a recent article (in fact, it may have been the
> intro to a reprint edition of KILLER'S CHOICE) McBain
> reveals that he introduced Hawes at the behest of
> Pocket Books (the origianl publisher of the series),
> which wanted a handsome, unmarried character
> introduced to take over Carella's "first-among-equals"
> position. The theory was that readers would respond
> better to a hero who was more like a bachelor private
> eye than a suburban schlub, however gorgeous his wife.
> Apparently, McBain had misgivings about this, and it
> probably showed in the finsihed book.

When he came over to Glasgow last year he spoke about this. Apparently his publishers envisaged Cotton Hawes becoming the series's main character, his appeal (and availability - despite being a fictional character - he was single, unlike Carella) to women inspiring romantic titles along the lines of "Cotton and Silk" (if only Ed McBain used real placenames, Cotton could have gone to Harlem).

BTW, I bought John Galvin's BOG WARRIORS last time I was in Ireland. Like yourself, though, I haven't got round to reading it yet.


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