5/23/2002 
TRIALS AND ERRORS 
BOOKS ABANDONED 
by Evan Hunter/Ed McBain

I once started a book titled S.P.Q.R., about a young
screenwriter who goes to Rome to do a film about the
Roman Empire, and he gets overwhelmed and
overpowered by the director of the film. I got about a
hundred pages into it, and let it go.

I started another book on virtually the same theme,
titled THE FINAL KISS, which was about a young
screenwriter who goes to a small New England town to
do a movie titled hamlet (in lower case, in its meaning
as "town") which is a retelling of the Shakespeare play
in modern language. I gave that one up after 62 pages.
It was to be premised on the following epigraph:

Francois Truffaut:

Do you think the rules still apply, namely that an
appealing main character and a happy ending are still
valid?

Alfred Hitchcock:

No. The public has developed. There's no more need
for the final kiss.

I outlined a book titled THE LAST MAN ALIVE, which
was to be about a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust,
who is so certain it will happen to him again here in
America, that he trains for the eventuality, which leads
to disaster on a boat trip he takes with his wife and
another couple. I never got past the outline on this one.

These were all to be Evan Hunter novels.

Here are the notes for THE SUMMER OF PABLO'S
FOOT, another EH novel I never got around to write. The
novel was to begin this way:

I had already begun to hate him by then, you know. We
all start hating our fathers sooner or later, don't we?
This was during the summer of Pablo's Foot. If I heard
him tell me one more time how it came to be called
that, I knew that I would scream.

During the summer of Pablo's Foot, I was only
thirty-nine. I mean, I wouldn't be forty till September. I'd
been to Woodstock, you know. In 1969. I was one of the
people there, swimming naked in the pond. Twenty
years later, what infuriated me most about him was his
fucking foot.

And this was how the novel would end:

On September the twelfth, I turned forty.
I recognized then that during the summer of Pablo's
Foot, he'd been right all along.

But that's all I wrote.

I've never started an 87th Precinct novel I didn't finish.
    
Evan Hunter

 

 
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