RARA-AVIS: Kersh & Raymond

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 06 Dec 2002

A tip of the hat to Al Guthrie for correcting me on the ending of Kersh's PRELUDE TO A CERTAIN MIDNIGHT. Next time I decide to comment in detail on a novel I read in the late 1960s, I will first refresh my memory.

Miker says the achives mention a Kersh influence on Derek Raymond, another favorite of mine who wrote under his birthname of Robin Cook until another's success made that impossible. Without checking the archives, I looked at an interview conducted by Kersh biographer and former Rara-avian Paul Duncan with Raymond. In that interview Duncan said Raymond was very familiar with Kersh and poet Wilfred Owen because he was fascinated with "war authors." Kersh became celebrated in Britain during the war because after service with the Coldstream Guards he wrote about life in the army with both power and humor. Ironically, Kersh had to leave active service with the Guards as in London on leave he was severely injured by German bombs during the blitz.

In the same interview Raymond says he did not write a thriller until he was 50 years old because he had read Chandler and thought "he'd done it all."

I can see how Raymond would have been influenced by Kersh's NIGHT AND THE CITY and I certainly see the Chandler influence. But then it is hard to look anywhere and not see Chandler's influence.

Richard Moore

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