Thursday, January 7, 2010



Gordon Williams is best know for his 1971 novel The Siege of Trencher's Farm (controversially filmed as Straw Dogs by Sam Peckinpah) and for a series of four co-written private novels (under the pseudonym P. B. Yuill), which spawned the popular British television series, Hazell.

For me, however, it is Gordon’s least known novel, Pomeroy, which stands out in my memory. I’ve always thought the character strong enough to carry a series, and have been constantly disappointed the novel has remained a stand-alone.


Meet John Stockley Pomeroy, black sheep scion of an aristocratic Tennessee family, cardsharp, hustler, adventurer, seducer – the thoroughly winning new rakehell hero of this high-spirited tale of intrigue and skullduggery set against the gilded splendor of Edwardian London.

Pomeroy’s style is impeccable; his skills flawless; his methods utterly reprehensible. He is wanted for larceny in six states. He is also the perfect man to act as President Theodore Roosevelt’s personal undercover agent for a most unorthodox and dangerous mission, involving a love-struck United States Ambassador, and the object of his affections . . . a young woman whose foreign entanglements indicate she is a pawn in a far deeper and more sinister game.

Elegant, unruly and fatally charming, Pomeroy is a hero who can ascend the heights, and sink to the depths . . . but always with an irresistible élan. He will be heard from again.

Well, actually, he wasn’t heard from again. While information on the back cover of the book indicates Pomeroy is the first in a promised three book series, books two and three never materialized for unknown reasons. It’s a shame because the character really did have a roguish charm, the writing was strong, and the promise of a series well founded. However, even as a stand-alone, Pomeroy is worth tracking down and enjoying.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Have never been able to watch Straw Dogs. Hope you had a great holiday with the grandson.

Evan Lewis said...

This sounds like great fun, and the cover implies Hercule Poirot with sticks of dynamite. Will look!

George said...

AMAZON lists a POMEROY UNLEASHED title supposedly published by Arbor House in 1986.

bish8 said...

Wow, George! Thx! I'll check it out!

ShadowGuy said...

I realize this is a fairly old post, but I thought I'd put in my two cents.

I fell in love with Pomeroy when it was originally released. I worked in a bookstore in 1982 and I opened the box it came in. I read the dust jacket and my copy never made it to the store shelves.

Like you, I eagerly awaited the release of the second book which never came. It showed up on several order lists but never materialized (much as it shows up on Amazon today).

What I believe happened -- and I have no way of confirming this, despite several phone conversations and later email correspondence -- the book was on the schedule for Arbor House, but Arbor House went belly up; or else it was bought/absorbed by another publisher ... whatever. But because the book was solicited, it ended up on distribution lists and that's why it shows up on Amazon today even though it has never been published. Frustrating, really.

Like you, I loved the book and thought it would make not only a great series of books and also a marvelous miniseries on PBS.

I've even tried upon occasion (always unsuccessfully) to contact Mr. Williams and ask him if he ever wrote the other books and what his intentions were with the character. Perhaps someday.

Keith Holt