Friday, July 18, 2008

Forgotten Books: RAFFERTY: WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME -- W. Glenn Duncan

I don't know much about W. Glenn Duncan except that he wrote a dandy private-eye series set in Dallas, Texas, while he was living in Australia.  The Rafferty books were published in the late 1980s by Gold Medal, and I think of them as throwbacks to the kind of p.i. books GM was doing in the '50s, except influenced as much by Robert B. Parker as by Spillane.

All the Rafferty books are entertaining.  I just picked this one because I ran across a copy the other day.  As you can see on the cover, Rafferty has a double caseload.  He's used as a pawn in a murder plot, and he's looking for the guy who tricked him.  At the same time, he's trying to help out a geezer who wants to keep some kids off his lawn.  Really.  (Okay, there's more to it than that, but I like the image.)  

Rafferty has an on-going relationship with a woman named Helen, who's much more interesting than, say, Susan Silverman.  He also has a psycho sidekick named Cowboy.  Even better, Cowboy has a psycho sidekick, his wife, Mimi, who stand about four feet tall.   Here's how Mimi's introduced on page 112:  

The 9mm Beretta she'd been concealing behind her hat went into a holster on her right hip. . . .

Mimi nodded and opened her jacket.  She had an Uzi slung under her right arm. . . .

Mimi giggled and scratched her forearms where the throwing knife sheaths chafed her skin.

You don't want to mess with Mimi.  But you do want to read these books, right?  I get the feeling that Harry Hunsicker's Lee Henry Oswald is Rafferty's direct descendant, though much more modern.  If you haven't read Hunsicker, try him, too.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Always interesting when a writer sets their stories in another locale, isn't it. Like Elizabeth George or Peter Robinson. I would have loved to have experienced Robinson's Canada rather than Yorkshire again.

Anonymous said...

Great - now you made me go order a couple of Rafferty books. Really, though, they sound pretty good.


Unknown said...

Patti, Duncan must have lived in Dallas at one time. He definitely knows the territory.

Jeff, the books are old-styled Gold Medal stuff. If you like them, you'll like Rafferty.

Kent Morgan said...

Thanks, Bill. I came across a couple of Rafferty books, but recently sold them to my local mystery store without reading them. Trying to keep my collection to a "manageable" size. This project of Patti's is creating problems.

Paul Bishop said...

I have all of the Rafferty titles in my collection. I've gotten rid of a lot of stuff over the years, but the Rafferty books are a mainstay. I think they're terrific!

Glen Davis said...

The Rafferty books are good, but definiely stuck in the 80's.

Unknown said...

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Bill said...


I hope you're still getting these comments - it's been almost 10 years since you posted your thoughts on Rafferty : Wrong Place, Wrong Time! Where does the time go?

W. Glenn Duncan is my father and I remember his writing days fondly; first cracking the market with Rafferty's Rules and then churning out the next 5 books in rapid sequence. Dad's in his late 70's now and not in the best of health, so he's no longer writing.

However, I've taken up the mantle and have written a brand new Rafferty mystery which I'll be releasing later this year on Amazon and other places online. In the lead up to this, I'm also re-releasing all six of Dad's Rafferty novels, as e-books (for the first time) and in new paperback format. Audiobooks may follow at some point, too.

Would you be open to my use of the comments you've posted online for marketing purposes? I will credit you appropriately.



Unknown said...

I still get notified when there's a comment, and I'm glad to hear that the Rafferty books are coming back into print and that there will be a new one. Sorry to hear about your dad's health. I'm 75 and not in the best of health, either. I do okay, though, so far. Feel free to use any of my remarks that you want to. Now I'm feeling an urge to get out my copies of the books and re-read one.

Todd Mason said...

Did he move back to the US from Australia?

Unknown said...

I don't have a clue.

Bill Duncan said...

Thanks for your response, Bill and for the permission to use your remarks. I appreciate it.

Things have been moving--the first three Rafferty books are now available on your e-reader of choice from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play and Barnes and Noble. The next three will follow in November 2017. The covers for these are being designed as we speak.

I'm just finalising the launch date for the brand new Rafferty story, FALSE GODS, but it will definitely be before the end of the year.

If you, or anyone else, wants to stay in touch with the next releases, and get a free copy of the first two Rafferty books, I've set up a website which lets you do both.

I've been keeping Dad up to date with the progress and he's been blown away with the interest, both now and also from years ago. I think back when he was writing, publishers only worked on sales numbers, not specific fan feedback. From him, thank you for your part in spreading the news about Rafferty.

All the best!

Todd Mason - Dad is still in Australia, living in far north Queensland.