RARA-AVIS: Re: Ross Thomas

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 03 Aug 2004

In a message dated 8/3/04 4:01:53 AM Eastern Daylight Time, owner-rara-avis@icomm.ca writes:

 Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2004 18:27:54 -0000
 From: "John Williams" < johnwilliams@ntlworld.com>
 Subject: RARA-AVIS: Ross Thomas etc
 At the Harrogate Crime Fest the other week - which by the way is shaping up
 as a very nice annual UK event - I heard some great stories about Ross
 Thomas' one and only publicity trip to the UK back in the late 70s. Suffice
 to say there was no way any publisher was going to invite him back after
 that one. I had no idea Thomas was as wild as his books.
Tell us more! Thomas is my modern favorite. While others may be technically superior, he gives me more satisfaction than any other crime writer.

Thomas was a well-traveled book tour writer as witness the extraordinary number of signed copies of his books. I now have six or seven signed by him and that's without ordering copies from abebooks where relatively inexpensive signed copies of his last several novels abound. In fact I belatedly discovered I had paid too much for one recent purchase but I couldn't resist it once I held it in my hands. The early novels and the Oliver Bleeck novels are, not surprisingly, very pricey.

One curiosity is that the spy novel writer Wayne Wager apparently had a complete run of personally inscribed Thomas novels which are now for sale by a dealer in California who lists each inscription by Thomas. There are dozens and I wonder if he signed them all at once or in several bunches. Wager died himself just a few weeks ago of a brain tumor.

But please tell us anything you can, John, about what you've heard. At the one Bouchercon he attended (and was interviewed by Bill Crider) I know he played poker and from bookseller Steve Stilwell (who entertained Thomas on several book tours) I know he loved to drink and tell stories but I've heard precious few details. For whatever dumb reason I didn't go to the poker game that convention.

By the way, I very much enjoyed your book traveling to visit some of the great U.S. writers popular on this list. I recently pulled it out to reread a chapter or two.

Richard Moore

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