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Saturday, 24 January 2009


Couldn't resist bidding for these four books on Ebay - got them for £2 and the same amount postage which is a bargain as they are quite rare.

The first title The War Wagon by Clair Huffaker is a tie-in version of the novel, originally published under the title, Badman in 1957 - that original novel was in turn an expanded version of a short story, Holdup at Stony Flat which was originally published in Ranch Romances. This one is in very good condtion and the Kirk Douglas, John Wayne cover art done by - well the artist isn't credited in the book so I guess the name's lost to time.

Second in the lot is The Commancheros, Pual I Wellman's 1954 novel which was the basis for the 1962 western of the same name. This time there's a photographic cover image from the movie. This version was published by Corgi Books and boasts the cover price of 2/6.

" 2/6 there was a time when you could take a girl to the pictures for 2/6 and still have enough for bus fair home and a bag of scrumps from the chippie."

he next two titles are novelisations by Brian Fox which is a pen name and the author is also credited on the inside jackets with writing several of the Dollar novel spin offs. Who was Brian Fox? Was he one author or many working under the same name?

I'm banking on Chap O'Keefe knowing this and posting the answer in the comments section. If not Terry Harknett are you reading? Do you know?

The titles are Sabata which was an italian western starring Lee Van Cleef and the second is The Wild Bunch which truly was a classic western. These books have the cover price of 25p. Sabata has a photographic cover while the Wild Bunch boasts artwork, again uncredited, with a Gatling gun spewing death out of the book straight into the face of the reader.


I found this info on the excellent GUNS IN THE GUTTER blog which is run by Christopher Mills - the E-justice blog have just listed their top 50 detective based blogs which makes for some interesting reading. Next to westerns the hardboiled detective stuff is a fave with the Archive so this list is bound to have me checking blogs for weeks to come.

Also thanks to Guns in the Gutter is this image from the forthcoming series of graphic novels based on Richard Stark's Parker series - the hardest bastard in crime fiction is coming to the graphic medium.

Now that I'm looking forward to.


A Beautiful Mind said...

What fun finds! I was unaware that Italian westerns even existed. The cover art is fascinating.

I keep reading your blog and wanting to ask you... Do you read Robert B. Parker? You must. He writes great mystery/suspense, but has also written a westerns including "Appaloosa", "Resolution", and "Gunman's Rhapsody".

A Beautiful Mind said...

Wait... Are Italian westerns the same as spaghetti westerns? Forgive my ignorance.

Joanne Walpole said...

FYI they keep showing War Wagon and Sabata on Sky Movies for Men.

Ray said...

Consider yourself lucky otherwise we'd have been having a shoot out.
I was going to bid - then I saw the other two - so honours even.

Steve M said...

Gary, Brian Fox is a pseudonym used by W. Todhunter Ballard - I believe just for his film and tv tie-ins (he wrote the Alias Smith and Jones books too as Brian Fox). He's also written westerns under his own and other names such as a few of the Lassiter series as by Jack Slade.

Steve M said...

Oh...and Ray, it would have been a three way shoot-out as I wondered about bidding on them but I have one of them already.


steve and ray - thanks for the info...and for not bidding.

Beautiful Mind - Yep they are. But my faulty I called them Italian because it's easier to spell. LOL


Beautiful - Yes I love the Spenser series - though I only started reading them last year. I've not read any of Parker's westerns as of yet but will do.

Charles Gramlich said...

I have a bunch of the Dollar books written by Joe Millard. I thought that was his real name but I could be wrong.


Not sure if Joe Millard was one guy or not - I know Terry Harknett did some of these books.

Steve M said...

Charles, Gary...

Terry Harknett wrote the one 'Dollar' western - A Fistful of Dollars, as by Frank Chandler.

W. Todhunter Ballard wrote 'A Dollar to Die For as by Brian Fox.

The other six 'Dollar' books - For a Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, A Coffin Full of Dollars, The Million Dollar Bloodhunt, The Devils Dollar Sign, and Blood for a Dirty Dollar - were all written by Joseph J. Millard (Joe Millard on the books).

All three of these writers wrote books from screenplays and other westerns too.

Chap O'Keefe said...

Time zones had me sleeping when you posted this one, Gary, and I see I don't need to comment! Many others are better qualified and placed to do that anyway.

Joe Millard was a real person, with a list of work going back to pulp days, and he did write most of the Dollar books.

I've never come across the original novel of The Comancheros. It made a good movie, though one that played fast and loose with history, mixing up period details as only Hollywood is allowed. (And certainly not non-US authors of westerns!)

Juri said...

Joe Millard worked also on comics in the fifties.

The first Sabata as by Fox is a good one, the second one not so good, so I would suspect it's not actually by Ballard who was always a consistent writer.