A CARROLL JOHN DALY FAN LETTER

by Mickey Spillane

Route 3 Rockout Road
Newburgh. NY

Dear Mr. Daly

This letter is a long time in the writing. It was meant for you years ago, but has never been started until now. Through Scott Meredith I located you... and I didn't want any more water to go under the bridge before this goes in the mail.

Right now I'm sitting on the top of the heap with my Mike Hammer series, but though the character is original, his personality certainly isn't. Sometimes I wonder if you've ever read some of the statements I've released when they ask me who I model my writing after. Maybe you know already. Mike and the Race Williams of the middle thirties could be twins.

Yours was the first and only style of writing that ever influenced me in any way. Race was the model for Mike; and I can't say more in this case than imitation being the most sincere form of flattery. The public in accepting my books were in reality accepting the kind of work you have done.

It has always been my hope that you and I could team up on one big book--A Race and Mike job--but it looks like an impossibility now since in view of the work I'm doing with Jehovah's Witnesses, my former writing style must be chopped down.

But anyway, a big thanks for all you've taught me. I only wish that you could get Race back in hardcover and reprints and swamp the markets. The field could certainly use you and if there's anyway I can help out--Just ask

Sincerely,
Mickey Spillane


And here is an interview where Mr. Spillane explains the story behind this fan letter.

Interviewer: That reminds me of a quote from Race Williams: "My conscience is clear; I never shot anybody that didn't need to die,"

Mr. Spillane: Jeez, you bring up Race Williams. I had a bunch of his stuff I saved for years.

Interviewer: He sounded in a way like Mike Hammer. The words weren't the same but the ideology was.

Mr. Spillane: I always liked the Race Williams stories so much. I used to say that's the kind of story that l am going to write. I'll tell you an awful story about this. I wrote a fan letter to Carroll John Daly. A guy told me where he lived in California. And I told him how I really liked his books, his novels in Dime Detective and ....

Interviewer: Black Mask.

Mr. Spillane: They were great. I wrote to him and said, one of the things I've always wanted was to write the way you did. So his agent gets my letter and starts a lawsuit against me saying that I had stolen all his material. My postman said, "What did you get into now, Spillane?" I said, "Wait a minute, l just wrote a fan letter!" So somebody got in touch with him. He got so mad, he said, "This is terrible!" It was the first fan letter he had gotten in about 25 years, on my big letterhead stationery, and he was so pleased. And she was trying to sue me. He fired her, Bing! just like that, and sent a letter back to my publisher. It was a total apology.