Re: Charles Williams' suicide (was RARA-AVIS: Re: On Noir)

Date: 07 Oct 2005

I got into this late. I'm assuming you're talking about Charles Williams the suspense novelist (as opposed to the Brit lit novelist and an adventure writer from the Thirties).

For a book edited by Jon Breen called Murder off The Rack, seven or eight of us took our favorite pb writer and did a piece on him. I took Williams. I had two or three long discussions about Williams with his long-time agent Don Congdon. Don told me that he was one of the best writers that he'd ever represented but that Williams just never got the break some of the others did. Even though he did some movie work from time to time and even though he was reviewed widely and well, he just never hit the big time the way John D or a few other pb boys did.

There really isn't any mystery to how Williams died. One Monday morning Condgon got a telegram (?) saying By the time you read this, Don, I'll be dead.

Congdon said that he'd been begging Willims to come back to the small town where he'd been living. Congdon, as I recall, said that Williams hadn't been writing and was deeply depressed folowing the death of his wife from cancer. He stayed on his boat alone after his wife passed. So, after sending the telegram to Congdon, he went over the side of the boat and drowned.

I may have a few details wrong--our conversation were twelve thirteen years ago--but that's essentially the story. No real mystery that I'm aware of.

Ed Gorman

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 07 Oct 2005 EDT