Re: RARA-AVIS: RIP: Richard S. Prather

From: Doug Bassett (
Date: 17 Feb 2007

What I liked about Prather was that he made it all look so easy. All of the Shell Scotts I've read have been cleanly written and well plotted, well structured craftsmanlike tales, and these are virtues you tend to take for granted in times of plenty. A lot of modern popular fiction I've read is pretty much not that, though: overlong, ill-developed, not well thought out, not well written. Prather looks like a giant in retrospect.

It's funny to me that he's not talked about more than he is, even in fan circles. He reminds me a lot of Edward S. Aarons, another guy who evidently had modest goals, but in my opinion did what he did very well. Perhaps it's this very lack of ambition that, while it helped his popularity back in the day, has caused his name to fade a bit since. It's sad, though. I think cultivated readers/fans, in particular, should be able to appreciate the intrinsic quality of somebody like Prather, or Aarons, or Charles Williams, for that matter.

I haven't read all the Scott series, I've read enough to know there are some duff books there. I've yet to find the Holy Grail, STRIP FOR MURDER. In general, my favorites are in the early Sixties, right around the dawning of the sexual revolution. I think they function wonderfully as great humorous accounts of a guy trying to stay with it. (I seem to remember GAT HEAT being an especially good one.)

I haven't read THE PEDDLER yet, though it's on my pile. Talk about a Holy Grail: HardCase justified it's existence by digging that one up, IMHO.


--- James Reasoner <> wrote:

> I'm greatly saddened to hear about this. Prather
> has been one of my favorite authors for more years
> than I like to think about.
> James Reasoner
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: e_lynskey
> To:
> Sent: Friday, February 16, 2007 12:57 PM
> Subject: RARA-AVIS: RIP: Richard S. Prather
> Forwarded from Dean Davis:
> Hello,
> I'm sorry, but I just got some bad news. Richard
> S. Prather has passed
> away. It seems he died peacefully in his sleep. I
> don't have many
> other details right now.
> You are welcome to reply to this email, but I will
> be out of town
> until Monday night. I will try to answer all
> emails when I can.
> Thanks,
> Dean


Doug Bassett

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