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

From: Doug Bassett (
Date: 21 Feb 2007

I like DOUBLE IN TROUBLE too, although I've never been that enthusiastic about Chester Drum. Still, I'm glad I have it.

I generally can recommend the run of books Prather wrote from about 1955 to 1967 (GAT HEAT, one of my favorites.) STRIP FOR MURDER is ridiculously hard to find, at least where I'm at, but I seem to recall liking THE KUBLA KHAN CAPER, THE COCKEYED CORPSE, TAKE A MURDER, DARLING, and OVER HER DEAR BODY.


--- JIM DOHERTY <> wrote:

> John,
> DOUBLE IN TROUBLE a series-crossover on which
> Prather
> collaborated with Stephen Marlowe (and Prather's
> LA-based PI Shell Scott collaborated with Marlowe's
> DC-based PI Chet Drum) is one of my all-time
> favorite
> private eye novels. It has the two dicks working at
> cross-purposes as they investigate the Mob-dominated
> Teamsters Union (referred to in this novel as the
> National Brotherhood of Truckers).
> Except for Chandler's THE LONG GOODBYE, it was also
> the longest private eye novel ever published to that
> point.
> PATTERN FOR PANIC is probably the best
> "ultra-right-wing private eye takes on an army of
> commie spies" novels outside of Spillane's ONE
> NIGHT. Actually, odd as it sounds, there were a
> whole
> lot of those in the '50's.
> PATTERN FOR PANIC has kind of an interesting
> publishing history. When he submitted it to his
> regular publiser, Gold Medal, they were uneasy about
> the up-front anti-red sentiments expressed, and
> turned
> it down. Unbowed, Prather simply turned Scott's
> hair
> from white to red, his military background from
> former
> Marine to former Army Ranger, his name from Shell
> Scott to Cliff Morgan, and resubmitted it.
> THE TROJAN HEARSE, which has Scott getting involved
> in
> an attempt to fix a presidential election, is also a
> particular favorite.
> Prather's own favorite was STRIP FOR MURDER, in
> which
> Scott investigates a case at a nudist colony, a
> situation that makes it difficult to wear a shoulder
> holster concealed. Prather always thought this was
> the book where the humorous elements that were the
> hallmark fo the Scott series started to really
> assert
> themselves.
> When it turned out to be a huge success for another
> publisher, the thoroughly abashed editors at Gold
> Medal asked if they could publish a reprint edition
> with Scott restored as the hero.
> If you've never read a Scott, you might want to try
> a
> few of the short stories to see if they're to your
> taste. Prather wrote four Scott short story
> collections, THREE'S A SHROUD, HAVE GAT - WILL
> SAMPLER. He also left behind one uncollected short
> story, "The Bloodshot Eye," which you can read for
> free here:
> If you like the short stories you'll probably like
> the
> novels.

Doug Bassett

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