RARA-AVIS: Robert Finnegan

From: Al Guthrie ( allanguthrie@ukonline.co.uk)
Date: 16 Apr 2003

----- Original Message ----- From: "Rene Ribic" < rribic@optusnet.com.au>

> Some of the books advertise other "forthcoming" books that I don't think
> got published - at least I've found no evidence of them being published:
> The Users - Brian Case
> The Lying Ladies - Robert Finnegan
> Darkness at Dawn - Cornell Woolrich
> I've never heard of the first 2 guys & it seems Xanadu may have had some
> problem with Woolrich. Hassles over publishing rights?

Robert Finnegan was a pseudonym of Paul William Ryan. He was born in San Francisco in 1906 and wrote three mystery novels: THE LYING LADIES (1946), THE BANDAGED NUDE (1947) and MANY A MONSTER (1948). He died in 1947 (the last novel was published posthumously). He had a remarkable reputation as a writer of labour articles (under the name Michael Quin) and his daily journalism columns were used as classic examples of good writing in English classes at Stanford University - despite the fact that Finnegan (having been evicted from the family home at the age of fifteen with only a paper bag containing his lunch and instructions to go seek his fortune) had scant education himself.

And now, having been inspired to read the first chapter of THE BANDAGED NUDE, I'm going to read the rest of it. Based on that small sample, Finnegan certainly lives up to his reputation. Interestingly, the main character's called Banion and happens to mention that his wife has died. I wonder if McGivern's choice of his main character's name in THE BIG HEAT was purely coincidental? Finnegan had died only six years previously. Homage?


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