Mickey Spillane's Fan Letter
To Carroll John Daly

Just in case anybody doubts that Spillane's Mike Hammer was inspired by Daly's Race Williams, check this out:


Dear Mr. Daly,

This letter is a long time in the writing. It was meant for you years ago, but has never been started until now. Through Scott Meredith I located you... and I didn't want any more water to go under the bridge before this goes in the mail.

Right now I'm sitting on the top of the heap with my Mike Hammer series, but though the character is original, his personality certainly isn't. Sometimes I wonder if you've ever read some of the statements I've released when they ask me who I model my writing after. Maybe you know already. Mike and the Race Williams of the middle thirties could be twins.

Yours was the first and only style of writing that ever influenced me in any way. Race was the model for Mike; and I can't say more in this case than imitation being the most sincere form of flattery. The public in accepting my books were in reality accepting the kind of work you have done.

It has always been my hope that you and I could team up on one big book--A Race and Mike job--but it looks like an impossibility now since in view of the work I'm doing with Jehovah's Witnesses, my former writing style must be chopped down.

But anyway, a big thanks for all you've taught me. I only wish that you could get Race back in hardcover and reprints and swamp the markets. The field could certainly use you and if there's anyway I can help out--Just ask.

Sincerely,
Mickey Spillane

 

The story goes (at least as far as Spillane tells it) that when Daly's agent at the time saw the letter, she instituted a plagiarism suit. Whereupon Daly canned her because he hadn't gotten a fan letter in years and he sure as hell wasn't about to sue anybody who had actually taken the time to write one.The Vintage Library John Carrol Daly Page

It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Daly had taken Spillane up on his offer.


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