The introductory matter to the Dortmunder short story collection "Thieves'
Dozen" mentions this:
"It all began when my regular guy stood me up. I have been, intermittently,
a writer known as Richard Stark, who chronicles the incidents in the life of
a character called only Parker. In 1967, Parker refused the role I'd
planned for him in what was supposed to have been his next book; he thought
it was beneath his dignity. So that's when I first turned, just as a
subsitute, a temp, a one-time hire, to John Archibald Dortmunder. And all I
asked him to do was steal the same emerald six times -- piece of cake."
On Fri, Mar 13, 2009 at 3:25 PM, trentrey <firstname.lastname@example.org>wrote:
> Thanks for the kind words about the site.
> I don't have any coverage of The Hot Rock up yet, but plan on some soon as
> it's long overdue. But since the Parker connection has come up, this seems
> like an opportune time to try to take advantage of this message boards'
> knowledge base.
> Does anyone know of an interview or introduction written by Westlake where
> he discusses how an attempted Parker became The Hot Rock? I've heard it
> mentioned many times but the only reference I have found in print is in
> Brian Garfield's (excellent) introduction to the Gregg Press edition of The
> Outfit. All that says is:
> "But it is interesting to note that Westlake's "Dortmunder" series of
> comedy-caper novels, beginning with The Hot Rock (1970), grew out of the
> Parker stories. Westlake sat down one day to start writing the next Richard
> Stark novel, decided that the situation in the plot was too funny to let
> pass, and converted Parker into Dortmunder, Grofield into Kelp, and the
> tough plot into a comedy."
> When I do write up The Hot Rock, it would be great to include more detailed
> information, especially if it came straight from Westlake. Anyone seen
> anything like that?
> --- In email@example.com <rara-avis-l%40yahoogroups.com>, JIM
> DOHERTY <jimdohertyjr@...> wrote:
> > Re Todd's message below:
> > "The first Dortmunder novel, of course, by Donald Westlake...and what
> surprises me most is how broad the comedy is, at least in the early chapters
> that Westlake apparently set aside for a while. (I've read a number of
> Dortmunder stories, out of order, but the latter-day works are somewhat
> subtler.) Haven't seen the film version yet, either, as I was consciously
> putting that off till after reading the book."
> > Most of you probably already know this, and our new member, Mr. Trent,
> could probably give you more details on the metamorphisis, but for those of
> you who aren't aware of it, THE HOT ROCK started out as a dead serious
> Parker novel. Westlake's original idea was to see how Parker would handle
> the frustration if he had to steal the same item over and over again. But
> the book kept, as Westlake later put it, "wanting to be funny," and a Parker
> novel just CAN'T be funny.
> > Rather than risk having his diamond-hard gangster come off as ridiculous,
> Westlake created a comedic doppelganger, Dortmunder, the master criminal
> with constant hard luck who became his most popular series character.
> > By the way, when Mr. Trent introduced himself, although he mentioned the
> address of his very good website, he didn't provide a link. Here it is:
> > http://violentworldofparker.com/
> > Great site. Heartily recommended for Parker fans.
> > JIM DOHERTY
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