Historical Correctness

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Bob Rothwell
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Historical Correctness

Post by Bob Rothwell » Sat 29 Oct, 2005 22:53:27

Phil Baker has drawn to my attention that over the past week The Guardian, Observer and The Times have all carried an obituary to the writer, etc. Ronald Pearsall. In it, they all mention that [Pearsall]
... was also one of the team that wrote Dennis Wheatley thrillers after Wheatley died in 1977.
Be it known that there is not an element of truth or fact behind this statement. In fact it is beyond my powers of reasoning as to where the author of this article could have mixed up his facts.

If anyone has got any ideas, please tell!

But in the meantime, I have written asking The Guardian (which is where I think the story originated) to correct their facts.

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Post by Jim » Sun 30 Oct, 2005 01:49:52

That's astonishing. There *weren't* any Wheatley thrillers published after his death, only the final volume of the autobiography, if I remember rightly.

Aren't there any fact-checkers at The Times?

Wheatley's family and Hutchinson certainly would have every right to demand a retraction!

I've written (via e-mail) to the Guardian, the Observer, and the Times; I wasn't able to call up the obit on the Independent's site, because they wanted a fee! (Pfui!)

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Post by Bob Rothwell » Sun 30 Oct, 2005 16:41:37

Well done, Jim - that's the sort of fighting talk I appreciate!

No point doing the Independent - I got a copy and it does not include the erroneous sentence.

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Histiorical correctness

Post by Rob Pritchard » Wed 2 Nov, 2005 20:19:06

Do they mean Ian Flemings 007 Novels after his death?

Not sure when he died.
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Post by Jim » Thu 3 Nov, 2005 00:02:55

<< Do they mean Ian Fleming's 007 Novels after his death? >>

I don't see how that could be. With the exception of COLONEL SUN, each of the Bond sequels has been plainly credited to a single author (who also gets the job of novelizing the film scripts).

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A reply!

Post by Jim » Thu 3 Nov, 2005 02:51:59

Wow! I got a message tonight from Angus Clarke (deputy editor, the Times Register) who says:

<< I spoke to the person who wrote the obituary--someone who knew Pearsall extremely well--and received the following by reply:

"What I understand is that there was a particular detective-hero of Wheatley's (called Cross?) who had appeared in a number of his novels and a couple more were written on the model of these after Wheatley's death. Whether they were claimed by the publishers to be by Wheatley or written up by others from notes that he had made towards them (quite possible) I do not know."

The obituarist also said that Pearsall was not a man to make exaggerated claims, implying, I think, that he may well have been involved in some project which did not in fact see the light of publication.

I don't know if this helps to answer your query but perhaps you could shed more light on the topic. Otherwise we will just run a correction in the usual way. >>

I wrote back to thank him, and said:
<< None of Dennis Wheatley's series has a central character named Cross (or anything like that name) nor, to the best of my knowledge, has anything been published since his death featuring the characters he created. I can only assume from the material you quote that Mr Pearsall's friend simply misremembers the name of the author whose works were to be continued. >>

So far, Mr Clarke is the only person to send me an actual reply, though two of the three papers I e-mailed sent computer-generated acknowledgments of my notes.

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