In March 2013, by complete chance, I ran across an on-line piece about one of my father's two mystery novels, The Siamese Coup Affair ... on what looked like an interesting, albeit slightly quirky, website titled "Existential Ennui: The chronicle of a chronic book collector" [etc.]. For anyone who might be interested, see below.
Friday, 5 October 2012
Denis McLoughlin Designs: The Siamese Coup Affair by Sidney Weintraub (T. V. Boardman Bloodhound Mystery #447, 1963)
NB: Featured as one of this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.
Speaking of which, let's have a look at the third Boardman Bloodhound I bought off book dealer Jamie Sturgeon:
The Siamese Coup Affair by Sidney Weintraub, published in the UK
by T. V. Boardman in 1963, #447 in Boardman's American Bloodhound
Mystery line. So far as I've been able to establish, this is one of only
two novels Weintraub published, the other being Mexican Slay Ride,
issued by Abelard-Schuman and Robert Hale the year before in 1962. But
though Weintraub seems to have written just the two works of fiction, he
has, I believe, and if I've got my facts right – so take the following
with a pinch of salt – penned a hell of a lot of non-fiction. Indeed, it's for works like* his 1959 debut Price Theory (*like, but actually not; see comments) and a succession of other books on finance and free trade that he's rather better known,
as well as for being a former William E. Simon Chair in Political
Economy at the Center for Strategic & International Studies and a
former member of the US Foreign Service.
Of course, that could be an entirely different Weintraub – except for
two things. 1) Weintraub the economist is evidently something of an
expert on Mexico, so his having also written a thriller titled Mexican Slay Ride isn't entirely outside the realms of possibility; and 2) the 1964 Catalog of Copyright Entries lists both the novel The Siamese Coup Affair and the non-fiction work Intermediate Price Theory under Weintraub's name.
So, in attempt to discover if Sidney Weintraub the thriller writer and
Sidney Weintraub the economist are one and the same, I've taken the
fairly radical step of trying to contact Mr. Weintraub. I'm not overly
confident that I'll hear anything back, but if I do, I'll be sure to
update this post.
UPDATE, 19/3/13: Sidney Weintraub's son, Jeff, kindly emailed
me the other day confirming that they are indeed one and the same – and
not to be confused with the other Sidney Weintraub. Thanks, Jeff!
Perhaps even more intriguing and curious than all of that, however, is this: while The Siamese Coup Affair was published by T. V. Boardman (apparently its only printing), Weintraub's 1962 (presumed) debut novel, Mexican Slay Ride,
was published, as mentioned above, by Abelard-Schuman in the States and
Robert Hale in the UK. But in 1961, the year before that, Boardman
itself published a novel titled Mexican Slayride (two words rather than three, note), by Boardman mainstay Thomas B. Dewey (actually retitled from its original US Dell appearance as The Golden Hooligan). Moreover, in 1962, the same year as the Weintraub Mexican Slay Ride, Gold Medal in the States published a novel titled – you guessed it – Mexican Slay Ride, this one by Neil MacNeil, alias W. T. Ballard.
Three different novels, all titled Mexican Slay Ride (or Slayride),
all appearing in the space of two years: what the hell's that all
about? What was the weird fascination with that title? I must admit I'm
unfamiliar with either a Mexican slay ride or if it is, as it appears to
be, a play on words, a Mexican sleigh ride, although I'm assuming in
this context it's nothing to do with any of these practices. Furthermore, whether or not these three novels were an influence on either the American title of this film or the pilot of The A-Team is also beyond my ken, although given that A-Team co-creator and writer Frank Lupo is a keen collector of crime and spy fiction, one never knows. Answers to any of the above on a postcard, please.
Anyway, back to The Siamese Coup Affair. And while Denis
McLoughlin's dust jacket for the book isn't one of his more striking
efforts, for me it's possessed of a quiet appeal. Certainly it's good
enough to join its brethren in the Beautiful British Book Jacket Design of the 1950s and 1960s gallery – and I've another couple of McLoughlins waiting to follow in its footsteps. Because while The Siamese Coup Affair is the last of the Boardmans I bought off Jamie Sturgeon, it's not the last of the Boardmans I've acquired of late...