Re: RARA-AVIS: Shaft

From: Patrick King (
Date: 30 Mar 2007

This ghost writer policy was employed very successfully by Alexandre Dumas pere who set up the first novel factory in Paris at the end of the 19th Century. He would plot novels and hire young writers to write them out under his name. At least one of his ghostwriters sued him for proceeds but lost in court because Dumas was an icon and the ghostwriter was totally unaccomplished. In the late 20th Century, the National Book Award winner, Jerzy Kosinski, was accused by the venerable Village Voice, NYC's tabloid, of plotting novels and employing writers to write them. There is a distinct difference in style between his earlier work: The Painted Bird, Steps, The Devil Tree, Being There, and his later work, Cockpit & Blind Date, Passion Play, and Pinball. His last work, Hermit of 72nd St I think it was called, was both long, his other are quite short, and an even more distinctly different style of writing. On the other hand, Kosinski spoke at least 3 languages but wrote only in English. He taught himself English writing the Painted Bird, (which won the National Book Award) and it may just be that his interest in language evolved dramatically during his career so as to seem as though written by a different person. The Village Voice, however, was adament that he was not writing those books. It was a huge scandal at the time as Kosinski was one of the most respected writers living in America. I don't believe they ever got any ghostwriter to turn on Kosinski, though.

Patrick King
--- wrote:

> In an article speculating on whether or not Donald
> Bain had ghostwritten
> Margaret Truman's novels
> (
> Public/Articles/000/000/001/886tuxmk.asp), Jon L
> Breen wrote:
> "Employing a ghostwriter on a work of fiction is
> never more dubious than
> when the putative author really is a writer. Brett
> Halliday (creator of
> Mike Shayne), Leslie Charteris (creator of the
> Saint), and Ernest
> Tidyman (creator of Shaft) all turned to ghosts to
> carry on the exploits
> of their famous characters."
> How many Shaft novels were there? I have three:
> Shaft, Shaft Amongst
> the Jews and Shaft's Big Score. All three are
> credited to Tidyman,
> though only the first two are copyrighted by him.
> The third is
> copyrighted by the studio that made the film of that
> title. I'm
> guessing that means it was a novelization, perhaps
> (probably?) not by
> Tidyman.
> Also, I haven't read any of these. Are they any
> good?
> Mark

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