the marksman
I’ve read plenty of William Campbell Gault’s mysteries, but not many of his short stories. This Crippen & Landru collection from 2002 features an informative Introduction by Bill Pronzini and an Afterward by Shelley Gault. I really liked the Joe Puma tales in this book. And the non-series stories are very good, too. If you’re a William Campbell Gault fan, you probably already own this book. But if you’re a fan of classic private eye fiction, you’ll find a lot to like in Marksman & Other Stories.
Introduction by Bill Pronzini
Non-Series Tales
“They’d Die for Linda”
“Tin-Pan Alibi”
“Creature of Habit”
“Dead End for Delta”
Joe Puma Stories
“The Unholy Three”
“Deadly Beloved”
“Down’t Crowd Your Luck”
“No Client of Mine”
“Stolen Star”
Afterword by Shelley Gault

19 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #321: MARKSMAN & OTHER STORIES By William Campbell Gault

    1. george Post author

      Bob, I discovered this book by chance. I was looking for some other book when I ran across this Crippen & Landru gem. I bought a copy online for a pittance.

    1. george Post author

      Sergio, I don’t know how this volume got past me a decade ago, but it’s on my shelf of Crippen & Landru books now.

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    Excellent choice. I read it in 2003. To be honest I really don’t remember the details but I do remember liking the book a lot.

    I go to meet Gault and talk to him a little bit at a Milwaukee Bouchercon years ago and he was as down to earth as you’d expect.

  2. BV Lawson

    I actually haven’t read any of these stories, George – thanks for tip! Apparently it includes the “entire short–story career of private–eye Joe Puma”? (according to Amazon)

    1. george Post author

      BV, I’ve been reading William Campbell Gault books since I was a teenager. He wrote some terrific Young Adult novels. Later, I started reading his Joe Puma series and loved them. You’re right: this book collects all the Joe Puma short stories in an attractive package.

  3. Cap'n Bob

    Ah, the MDM letters. Behind the scenes, he was writing me one or two letters each month with essentially the same material in them, and the same as the previous letters. I had a hell of a time trying to winnow out the repetitions and trying to make what was left seem fresh. I knew and liked Bill and also knew he was getting very forgetful so I was on the horns of a dilemma. Should I say something to him or just run what he sent and have him look bad publicly? So, I wrote him a letter and as gently and tactfully as I could told him that certain topics had been addressed while suggesting a few he might explore.

    He took great umbrage, stopped writing, and I lost a valued friend. He even sent my letter to a few people to show them what an s.o.b. I was but they disagreed and said I was kind and deferential in my letter.

    On reflection, I wish I’d said nothing. Oh, the pain of fan editing.

    1. Todd Mason

      Yes…it’s not professional, so the nature of the exchange isn’t tempered by, Well, I’m getting paid for this, so requests seem reasonable…so much as I’m having my charity thrown back in my face. Been in that kind of situation.

    2. george Post author

      Bob, you had the patience of Job in dealing with some of the MDM correspondents. I know William Campbell Gault tried your patience, but think about the torture Mike Avallone put you through!

  4. Evan Lewis

    This book has a great (though small) cover painting by Tom Roberts. I’ll be featuring a larger version on Sunday, as part of “The Art of Tom Roberts (Part 2)”

    1. george Post author

      Evan, thanks for the heads up! I’ll be visiting your blog on Sunday to check out “The Art of Tom Roberts (Part 2).”

  5. Todd Mason

    A very useful book to have at hand, I picked up my copy as soon as I’d heard of it (not long after publication). As yet another who first came across Gault for his sports fiction (reprints in anthologies of his auto-racing short stories even before his YA novels), I still say we need a good selection of his sports short fiction. Might have to do something about that myself.


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