RARA-AVIS: My Favorite Westlake Story

From: Bill Crider (macavityabc@gmail.com)
Date: 06 Jan 2009

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    Actually, the story doesn't involve Westlake himself. It involves one of his books, COMFORT STATION, published as by J. Morgan Cunningham. This is a rare book, the cheapest copy on abebooks right now being offered at
    $139.50. It became a topic of conversation in the dealers' room at the first Toronto Bouchercon because Otto Penzler said it was the only Westlake book he didn't own. George Kelley, who had a table in the room, said that he had a fine copy back home in North Tonawanda. Not only that, it was signed by Westlake. George said he'd drive home that night and get it if Otto would buy it for $100. Otto agreed, and the next day George had the book at his table. Otto hemmed and hawed about the $100, which he said was a little steep for a paperback original. Several of us were listening to the conversation, including Hal Rice. After a few minutes, Hal walked over to George and said, "I'll take that book." He handed George a $100 bill, and George gave him the book. Hal walked away, leaving Otto gaping.

    Hal being Hal, he took the book back to Chicago, read it, and then sent it to Otto.

    Bill Crider

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