I've commented before on the business of one writer ghosting another writer's book. Writer one gets sick; falls off the wagon; wife dumps him. Something amiss anyway. He can't do the book. He asks a friend. Friend writes the book, it's published and is credited (unless it's a house name job) to the bibliography of writer number one.
Nobody will ever know. Well, almost nobody.
This is not a new process. It may well have gone on back in Shakespeare's time.
I bring this up because I admire a novel by Leigh Brackett called STRANGER AT HOME. I've been assured she didn't write it. I also admire a novel by Henry Kuttner called MAN DROWNING. Apparently it's an open secret that Cleve Cartmill wrote it.
I guess I have to accept this scuttlebutt as fact. But I wonder. Brackett's style--that sweeping almost mythic prose--is very much in evidence in Stranger. I grew up reading her. I know from Leigh Brackett. I find it difficult to believe that she didn't at least go through somebody else's first draft and make it her own.
As for the Kuttner, a man I admire as much as I admire Brackett, if Drowning is actually by Cleve Cartmill then Cartmill was suicidal when he wrote it. I also know from Cartmill. I can't recall a single Cartmill novel that displays this sense of loss and despair. Despite the fact that Harpers published this in hardcover, this is very much a true Gold Medal novel. And the grotesque woman who hires the protagonist is right out of Kuttner. Not Cartmill. Did Cartmill do the first draft and Kuttner the polish?
See the trouble you get into when you try to fool people?