Friday, May 22, 2009

Forgotten Books: THE CHISHOLMS -- Evan Hunter

I wrote about this one on the blog around 5 years ago, but I figure you might have forgotten (heh heh).  Sure, it's a western, but it's by Evan Hunter.  I was in a thrift store the other day, saw a copy of the paperback, and picked it up.  I figure you can never have too many copies of Evan Hunter books.

The Chisholms appeared in hardcover in 1979, and it was the basis for a TV mini-series that year, screenplay by Hunter.  (Maybe you recognize Robert Preston there on the book's cover as the Chisholm patriarch.)  The mini-series led to a short-lived TV series (13 episodes) in 1980.  The book is a family saga and "way west" epic.  It has a little bit of everything, and it's all good.  The Chisholm family leaves Virginia to travel to Oregon and make a new start.  Here's what I had to say in the original review:  "They leave at the wrong time of year and so have to travel virtually alone rather than with a wagon train.  They run into scamsters [crime element!], Indians, bad weather, and plenty of other problems."  

As far as I know, Hunter never wrote another book like this one.  It's quite a change of pace from his crime novels, and I recommend it highly if you're looking for something a little different.

12 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:38 AM

    And yet I've been unable to find a paperback of LAST SUMMER for the last year.

    Jeff

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  2. That's because you don't order from abebooks.

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  3. THE CHISHOLMS shows that Evan Hunter (aka "Ed McBain") could write just about anything well. He even wrote some science fiction I recall.

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  4. Anonymous8:53 AM

    I do order from abe, Bill, but lately I've been getting most of my secondhand stuff from paperbackswap.com. Gotta use up those credits.

    Jeff

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  5. Evan Hunter wrote the first “adult” book I ever read, MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS. I still have the beat-up paperback copy I first read 40 years ago this summer. I view the book with so much nostalgia that about once every five years or so, I read it again. Although not technically a mystery, the book does have a slowly-revealed “shocking revelation” that is a hallmark of a certain type of mystery. As a result of this book, I have always enjoyed that type of fiction. I had no idea he was Ed McBain until many years (and many books) later.

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  6. I still haven't read a Hunter/McBain/Lombino/et al. I'm fully satisfied with, so should probably try THE CHISOLMS sometime...I very faintly recall the tv adaptations. But LAST SUMMER the novel was certainly better than LAST SUMMER the film, which I finally caught up with, and despite Barbara Hershey being as good as she could in it. Yep, as Lombino and as Hunter, George, most notably "Malice in Wonderland" (drugged future a bit grittier and no happier than BRAVE NEW WORLD, in IF magazine in 1954 and later novelized).

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  7. He also did some western short stories, I think it was as Lombino. And some air stories, too. There's a collection to be made...

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  8. He wrote one of my favorites under his name: LAST SUMMER. Pretty scary movie too. Whatever happened to those four teenagers? Oh, there our age now.

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  9. Todd, have you read "Every Little Crook and Nanny"?

    I remember it being hilarious.

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  10. No, Sonny, not yet. I'll see about digging that out sometime. Thanks for the tip.

    Barbara Hershey still good when one gets to see her, too, Patti.

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  11. I had read Hunter's novel, "THE CHISHOLMS" years ago. It was okay. But if I must be honest, I preferred the miniseries adaptation, which featured Robert Preston, Rosemary Harris and Ben Murphy.

    I have the entire miniseries on VHS . . . somewhere in the house.

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  12. The miniseries has a great cast, for sure.

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