Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pete Enfantino-A Tribute To Robert Colby

Ed Gorman: When Robert Colby died my friend Pete Enfantino wrote a fine piece about Bob, who was a gentleman of the old school and a damned fine human being as well as a damned fine writer. After reading The Captain Must Die again for the twenty fifth time or thereabouts (I read it when it came out and have been reading it over and over ever since) I decided to read Pete's piece again. It's a good one.

ROBERT COLBY - A TRIBUTE by Peter Enfantino

Robert Colby died last week. A lot of people won’t even recognize the name. That’s a shame, but it’s their loss. Colby was every bit as good a writer as the other Gold Medal authors of the 50s and 60s who’ve found favor among historians and collectors. He just never had one of those million sellers like the other guys did. There was no Death of a Citizen or Hill Girl. Just respectable sales for some of his “adult” titles like Lament for Julie (Monarch, 1961) and Executive Wife (Monarch, 1964).

My introduction to Robert Colby, as was my introduction to all the classic Gold medal authors, was through an article Ed Gorman wrote for a magazine I used to co-publish called The Scream Factory. In the piece Ed sang the praises of a couple dozen GM authors, writers such as Peter Rabe, Vin Packer, Gil Brewer, Wade Miller, and Harry Whittington. Back in 1993, (when the article first appeared) Black Lizard was publishing a lot of forgotten writers like Packer, Rabe, and Brewer, so I was fairly familiar with those guys. One of the writers Ed praised was Robert Colby, a name I was not so familiar with. Ed called Colby’s The Captain Must Die (Gold Medal, 1959) “one of the great GM novels,” so I knew I had to check this one out.

Because of Ed’s article, I had a long grocery list when I hit Tom Lesser’s annual Paperback Show (a must for pb collectors, by the way) in Mission Hills that following April. There I found plenty of the recommended reading, including The Captain Must Die (in a quarter box, no less) and two other Colbys: The Star Trap and Murder Times Five. The latter two were decent reads, but Ed was right on in his assessment that Captain was a must. It’s a nasty revenge tale that holds its own with the best “nasty revenge tales” that Gold Medal excelled in and could have been made into a nice, tight little 50s noir had the movie deal not fallen through.

for the rest go here: http://www.mysteryfile.com/Colby/Tribute.html


Dan_Luft said...

I imagine the article was "Golden Harvest." That article has encouraged me to spend some serious cash over the last 12 years

Anonymous said...

Timely piece. The book I'm reading right now is Colby's RUN FOR THE MONEY. I haven't read a great deal of his stuff (though I have read THE CAPTAIN MUST DIE and a few others), but what I have read has been quite good.

Ron C.