Re: RARA-AVIS: Bill DeAndrea (was Spillane's influence)

Date: 03 Dec 2004


Re your comments on Bill DeAndrea:

> By the way, DeAndrea was a very good writer who
> could write them
> tough or write them funny and earned two Edgars for
> his fiction to go
> with the one he won for this book. Sadly, he died
> at a quite young
> age of cancer.

The hardest-boiled novels Bill ever wrote were a damned fine series of spy novels about a super-agent whose name changed in every book. He went by
"Clifford Driscoll" in the first book, and that's generally how he's referred to (in the same way that Len Deighton's nameless agent is called "Harry Palmer" because of the movies).

The Driscoll novels, which have a very Spillane-like view of the Soviet Union, are CRONUS, SNARK, AZRAEL, and ATROPOS. Interestingly, each of them, while having all the thrills and derring-do you expect from an espionage novel, are also fair-play whodunits. One
(actually two) of Bill's favorite writers was Ellery Queen, and he had the same respect for playing fair in the puzzles he constructed that Queen did.

For those of you who like westerns, Bill's last two novels were a kind of frontier take on what he called
"the Nero Wolfe paradigm," a brillian, but sedentary detective, whose legwork is performed by a partner who regards the great man with an irreverent respect. The Wolfe figure was crippled former US Marshal Lobo Blacke who becomes wealthy when a book of his memoirs becomes a best-seller and uses his money to buy a newspaper in a Wyoming town. His "Archie" was Quinn Booker, a writer from the East who was Blacke's
"ghost" collaborator on the autobiography, and who comes out West to be his star reporter.

The Blacke/Booker books are WRITTEN IN FIRE and FATAL ELIXER. The second book was published posthumously.

Aside from everything else that can be said about Bill DeAndrea, he was an extraordinarily nice, decent man.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 03 Dec 2004 EST