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

From: Richard Moore (
Date: 04 Dec 2004

--- In, JIM DOHERTY <jimdohertyjr@y...> wrote:
> Richard,
> 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.
Thanks Jim! One of the pleasures of this list is the discovery of new writers to seek out or unheard of books by writers I enjoy. I had missed out on the Blacke/Booker books but will certainly check them out based on your description.

You also inspired me to pick up my copy of ATROPOS. The first sentence is a great hardboiled hook:

"He had expected it to be horrible--burning the house, burning Pina-- but it was really sort of pretty."

Richard Moore

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