30 July 2010

Abebooks as Wikipedia or a Lame Joke?

Nine decades ago, Frank L. Packard was giving Stephen Leacock good chase for position as Montreal's bestselling author. Today, his novels are all but forgotten, but I'm not so sure they're forgettable. Populated by con men, gangsters, faith healers and dope fiends, they look to be gritty, entertaining summer reading. I'm betting that each is more fun than his rival's Hellements of Hickonomics.

I've been meaning to give Packard a read for some time now – say, two decades – but where to begin? No one I know has read the man. W.H. New's Encyclopedia of Canadian Literature is of no help; it's entry consists of just two sentences, including: "Packard practiced as an engineer."

All is to explain how it is that I came across this very peculiar Abebooks listing:

So, we're meant to believe that the man who wrote both
Pawned and this book...

also acted in this...

and is the same Frank Packard who directed this...

which was originally released as this...

a few months after his hundredth birthday.


"Obviously a joke", said my wife.

"But the seller is a member of the ABAA. They do have standards... and a Code of Ethics."

"No, it must be a joke. It's so over the top."

"But—" And it's here that I realized it doesn't matter nearly so much as our need for a new eavestrough.

Not that the recognition prevented this post.


  1. I so WANT it to be true!

  2. Probably not a joke. ABAA has quite a few thick booksellers and very few jokers. Drugs are good subject matter and might sell the book quicker than the faux Baum angle and the fantastically wrong-headed blaxploitation schtick.

  3. You'd think I'd know better than to trust more in people who place letters after their names.

  4. Well, you talked me into buying a copy.

  5. The Gray Seal will live forever.