Author Stephen Marlowe contributes an entertaining essay today on Ed’s blog about what it was like collaborating with Prather on a Shell Scott/Chester Drum novel, an idea cooked up by their mutual agent.
[…]Until then, we had never met. We developed the plot as
we went along, mostly by long-distance phone call. There were telegrams
too, including one that went something like "Body of Hartsell Committee
lawyer found in Rock Creek Park" that must have startled the Western
[…]Well, we finished that first draft by writing alternate chapters, as
those of you who read the book may remember, Scott narrating chapter 1,
Drum chapter 2, and so on–to a total of more than eight hundred
pages–enough for three Gold Medal books. Drastic measures had to be
Ever been out to the Coast? Dick asked me by phone. Nope, I
hadn’t. Well, said Dick, come on out and we’ll help each other cut.
How? I said. There was a silence. Maybe, I suggested half-heartedly, I
cut your deathless prose and you cut mine. Maybe, Dick said. Come on
So a couple of days later I flew out of Idlewild for LA, and
was met at the airport by Dick Prather and his wife, Tina, in a snazzy
pale blue Caddy.
"It’s yours while you’re here," Tina said.
"Well, you see, we’ll work together at the house but we figured you’d
like some privacy, so we booked you a room at a seaside motel."
"So the car is all yours while you’re here," Dick explained.
The Prathers were like that–private people but the best hosts I’d ever known.