RARA-AVIS: Re: My Favorite Westlake Story

From: Richard Moore (moorich@aol.com)
Date: 06 Jan 2009

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    Thanks for reminding me of that incident, one of my favorite Bouchercon memories. Hal Rice was one of the folks I most anticipated seeing at conventions. He was a huge fan but he also added the view of a fellow who owed several pharmacies in Rockford, Illinois (not Chicago, Bill) and he had magazine racks in each with the likes of Manhunt (of which he had nearly a complete run) and paperback racks with Gold Medal, Pocket Books, Ace and other gems.

    I can see him now taking a drag on his Pall Mall and smiling as he pealed a hundred dollar bill off his roll and bought the book from under Otto's nose.


    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Crider" <macavityabc@...> wrote:
    > 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
    > 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
    > 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
    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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