Thursday, March 5, 2009

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE CANVAS COFFIN BY WILLIAM CAMPBELL GAULT!

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE CANVAS COFFIN BY WILLIAM CAMPBELL GAULT!

I know this is sacrilege, but I have never been much enamored of William Campbell Gault’s adult mystery novels. He is, however, one of my favorite young adult sports authors. On a few occasions, he combined his love of sports with more adult themes with some success, as in The Canvas Coffin.

My name is Max.


I’m a worried man.

I manage Luke Pilgrim, the best middleweight around. Last night my boy gets hit – bad. He goes on to slap the other guy silly, but he don’t remember a thing . . .

He don’t remember the knockout. He don’t remember this gorgeous red-head he gets cozy with . . .

What’s worse, Luke forgets he even goes out with this doll and that he comes back late – very late. So maybe I got a punchy champ on my hands.

But that’s the least of my worries. Because this morning I see a picture in the paper. It’s a she-corpse in a negligee, with her beautiful face bashed in. She’s a B-girl named Brenda Vane . . .

And she’s Luke’s red-head, which he don’t remember . . .


I have a couple of dozen boxing novels from this same era, and The Canvas Coffin is one of the better ones – despite being more of an expanded version of one of Gault’s sports pulps short stories. Still, it’s a tight little story with some good action.

4 comments:

David Cranmer said...

I haven't read a good boxing tale in awhile.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have Eddie Muller's boxing novel sitting right here. Maybe I'll give it a try.

Cullen Gallagher said...

Gault is someone I've been curious to check out but have never read him before. I saw a bunch of his young adult novels on eBay but had never spoken to anyone who had read them. Glad to hear that they are worth picking up - I'll keep my eyes peeled for them in used bookstores.

Todd Mason said...

Even better than his YA sports novels, which I read and thoroughly enjoyed as a kid, are his adult sports short stories, such as the one that this book is expanded from, which one can find scattered through a variety of sports-fiction anthologies, particuluarly those published in the '50s and '60s. He simply was the giant in that field, in my experience. Though I like his crime fiction nearly as well.

I can't recall now if anyone ever published a collection of his sports short fiction. It's way the hell overdue.