Monday, August 08, 2011

A real mystery-Shell Scott name used in non-Scott novel

Ed here: My friend Greg Shepard of Stark House sent me the following. Back in the Seventies Gold Medal made Dan J. Marlowe convert some of his stand-alones into series adventure novels--that's the closest example I can come to this. Though historians will probably come up with others. Can anybody speak to the legality of this? Wouldn't they need the permission of the estate? Does the estate still hold the copyrights? Maybe this was all done legally. INquiring minds want to know.

Hi Ed:

I received this following email from a reader friend named Frank Loose. He noticed that there is a distinct difference between two editions of Prather's Dagger of Flesh. It started life as a non-Shell Scott book, but the ebook publisher changed it to a Shell book. Can they do this? Know anything about this publishing phenonenon? Might be worth a write-up on your blog, might not. But I thought I'd ask since you are delving deeper than I into the world of ebooks.


-- >
Date: Monday, August 8, 2011, 8:12 AM

Greg ... On a lark, I was checking Amazon to see what various editions were
out there for the Prather book DAGGER OF FLESH. Its fun to peruse the
covers, when they're shown.

In addition to scores of editions from the 50s and 60s, there's a new
edition that e-books has put out in addition to dozens of Shell Scott
titles. Only, what I noticed on the cover was it said DAGGER was a Shell
Scott book.

Well, I know it isn't, so I clicked on the preview button and pulled up the
first couple pages on the computer. It read exactly the same as my PB and I
figured the publisher was sloppy in their cover work. Then I noticed the
name Shell on the page where in my PB book it says Mark. I checked further
into the preview, and found that every Mark had been replaced by Shell.

I've not heard of someone doing this. Have you? I'm also curious when the
change took place. The new publisher? The old publisher telling Prather
his book was too hardboiled for a Shell Scott, so Prather changed the main

All a bit of a mystery.



Randy Johnson said...

I've always known that Pattern For Panic and Dagger of Flesh were first offered as Shell novels, turned down for various reasons(the Pattern... was heavily anti-Communist and I've never read either version of Dagger..). Never one to waste a manuscript, Prather rewrote them as standalones. After they sold well, Gold Medal wanted them for Shell Scott novels and the originals were published as part of the canon. Dagger of Flesh was published in 1956 as A Shell. So the ebook folks were not trying to pull some kind of fraud for extra bucks.

Randy Johnson said...

Here's a link to where I wrote a post about them a few years back:

Frank Loose said...

The oddity here is when i compare the texts of my PB of DAGGER with the text excerpt at Amazon which shows the Kindle version as published by ereader, the names have been changed, Mark becoming Shell, but the physical description a couple pages in is not changed. Both editions show the Mark character in my BP edtion, and Shell in the second version, being described as having dark curly hair and a dimple in his chin. Well, we all know that is not Shell Scott, even though the book says it is Shell. So, something is fishy. Sounds like a FIND AND REPLACE edit. Gold Medal would not do this.