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Richard S Prather Books In Order

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Publication Order of Shell Scott Books

The Case of the Vanishing Beauty (1950)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bodies in Bedlam (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
Everybody Had a Gun (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
Find This Woman (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dagger of Flesh (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
Darling, It's Death (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
Way of a Wanton (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pattern for Murder / The Scrambled Yeggs (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
Always Leave 'em Dying (1953)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ride a High Horse / Too Many Crooks (1953)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pattern for Panic (1954)Description / Buy at Amazon
Strip for Murder (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wailing Frail (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
Have Gat - Will Travel (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
Three's a Shroud (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
Slab Happy (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
Take a Murder, Darling (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
Over Her Dear Body (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
Double in Trouble (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dance with the Dead (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dig That Crazy Grave (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shell Scott's Seven Slaughters (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kill the Clown (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dead Heat (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
Joker in the Deck (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Cockeyed Corpse (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Trojan Hearse (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dead Man's Walk (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kill Him Twice (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Meandering Corpse (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Kubla Khan Caper (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gat Heat (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Cheim Manuscript (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kill Me Tomorrow (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Shell Scott Sampler (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dead-Bang (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sweet Ride (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sure Thing (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Amber Effect (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shellshock (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Death Gods (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Shell Scott Collections

Hot Rock Rumble & The Double Take (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Lie Down, Killer (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Peddler (As: Douglas Ring) (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dragnet: Case No.561 (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Sleeper Caper (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Comfortable Coffin(1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
Masters of Noir, Volume One(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Richard S Prather was an American novelist born in 1921. The author, who was best known for creating Shell Scott, died in 2007 from respiratory complications.


Richard S Prather was born in Santa Ana in California. Before heading into the army, Richard attended Riverside Community College. Back then, it was called Riverside Junior College.

Between the years of 1942 and 1945, Richard was in the U.S Merchant Marine. With World War II finally winding down, Richard decided to marry Tina Hager. The author did not completely cast the army aside, though, even with the end of the war.

Even as a civilian Richard continued to operate within the vicinity of the military. He worked at March Air Force Base in Riverside as the Chief Clerk of Surplus Property. It took a while for Richard to begin writings seriously.

It wasn’t until 1949 that Richard became a full-time writer. His most popular creation, Shell Scott, came into being a year later. Beginning with Case of the Vanishing Beauty’, Richard S Prather went on to write dozens of Shell Scott Mystery books.

Even with the success of his Shell Scott books, which were highly sought after, closely chasing the popularity of the Sherlock Holmes books, Richard’s literary career wasn’t without its problems.

Richard and Pocket Books, his publisher kept clashing over various issues. In fact, Richard went so far as to sue them in 1975. There are still debates raging with regards to whether his issues with the publisher drove him to quit writing. It is possible that Richard actually found some satisfaction in growing Avocadoes, which he did for a while.

Either way, fans were happy when Richard S Prather books returned to the shelves, starting with The Amber Effect’ in 1986. Richard S Prather’s final book in the Shell Scott Mystery series was released in 2011. The Death Gods was published by Pendleton Artists, made available in print and ebook formats.

This was several years after Richard’s death in 2007; he had written The Death Gods’ but never got around to publishing it before his death. By this time, his wife, Tina, had also died.

They had been married for 58 years before her demise in 2004. For his efforts Richard S Prather received a lot of recognition from Mystery enthusiasts, winning accolades like the Private Eye Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award in 1986.

While Richard is best known for the Shell Scott series, he also wrote other books that his fans might be unaware of under pseudonyms like David Knight and Douglas Ring.

+Strip for Murder

Shell Scott had a difficult assignment. No one could convince him otherwise, not with all the people that kept dying; and this included the private eye he had been sent to replace.

None the less, he had a job to do, though that didn’t mean that he would have to like it. Rather than the mayhem and murder he had become accustomed to, Scott had to go undercover in a nudist camp. Not that Scott had any real reason to fear the naturalists he would have to integrate with, not when one of them was a gorgeous blond.

However, being naked meant that he had nowhere to hide his gun, and that would definitely complicate his efforts to protect his charge.

This is a pretty enjoyable private eye story, the kind that one reads if they are looking for a crime novel they can rely upon to engross and entertain. In truth, there is nothing special here. Scott is the archetypical private investigator, though he doesn’t really bring any subtlety to the table.

What you see is, more or less, what you get. The nudist camp will probably draw the most attention from fans, though the book isn’t as immersed in that world as some people might assume; only a portion of this book actually ventures into the nudist colony.

More importantly, the nudist situations are not nearly as sexualized as one might expect. Instead, Richard S Prather plays those scenes for laughs. The book is definitely a product of the time, but there are still some gems that make it worth the read.

Richard’s imagination in some scenes, in particular, is worth appreciating. In fact, there are some things in this book that are a little too silly to believe. However, if it wasn’t for some of those less conventional ideas, this book wouldn’t amount to much.

The novel is very linear. The bad guys are easy enough to identify and distinguish from the good guys. There isn’t much of a mystery to talk about. Richard clearly knows how to tell fun stories and he keeps his readers engaged with little more than that in this book.

+The Peddler

Tony Romero was determined to make it all the way to the top of the ruthless arena of organized crime. However, he quickly found that his path to victory was littered with pain, misery, and bodies.

This book was first released under the Douglas Ring pseudonym in 1952. It was eventually published again in 1963 under the Richard S Prather name. Tony Romero, Richard’s protagonist, starts out as a poor Italian child.

He slowly rises through the ranks of the organized crime world, finding success in pimping. It takes a lot of scheming and murder but Tony is determined to make it, no matter the price.

Then he meets a woman that he would rather not throw into his pool of prostitutes. He starts to consider the prospect of putting his pimping ways to rest in order to pursue a life with her. But, what if he’s too deeply intertwined with the world of organized crime?

Can he honestly make a clean break and find happiness?

Tony Romero is a detestable lowlife that, under the masterful hand of Richard S Prather, you begin to care for. He might be a liar and a woman beater but Richard gives him a heart. He has fought to rise to the top of the rackets for so long that he doesn’t know what to do when a woman makes him question his future.

The only downside of this book is the female characters that all feel and sound the same. This makes Tony’s relationship with Betty a little difficult to believe. Richard fails to distinguish her from every other female character in the novel.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Richard S Prather

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