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Lot #477
Raymond Chandler

Letters to a fellow crime writer on taxes, royalties, and Alfred Hitchcock

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Estimate: $1000+
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Letters to a fellow crime writer on taxes, royalties, and Alfred Hitchcock

Three TLSs, each signed "Ray," totaling seven pages on five sheets, dated 1956-1957, all to his English lawyer and fellow crime fiction writer Michael Gilbert.

The first, October 20, 1956, in part: "No American citizen in his right mind would give up his green passport, whatever his sentiments might be, since it is so much easier to get around with it than with any other…I picked up another book by one Michael Gilbert yesterday, called The Danger Within. There is another Gilbert, and until I knew you, there was confusion. This Anthony Gilbert writes like a woman and writes rather excitable stories about a lady named Eve Gill who lives a very threatened life. She is a bit silly and her policeman friend is sillier. Hitchcock made a film called Stage Fright from one of these Eve Gill books, a picture rather marred by a poor performance from Richard Todd."

The second, November 30, 1956, in part: "As to your reaction to the Tax Inspector, first, I haven’t seen the correspondence at all, as Helga Greene’s office did not forward it or a copy of it, so all I know at present is that they are sniffing around my heels…This last depends on what sort of tax I should have to pay on certain assumed incomes, such as $15,000, $20,000, $25,000, assuming such deductions as would normally be allowable to a person in my profession of a free-lance writer…Your phrase ‘long and blood-stained battle’ sounds bloody awful. After all, I don’t want terribly to be blacklisted. My income during the relevant period was not great. As to agents holding royalties, I did not become Helga’s client until after I left England May 11, 1956." He fills the back of the page with a lengthy autograph postscript, also signed "Ray," describing who Helga is and noting that he will send an autograph for a charity auction.

In the third, April 16, 1957, Chandler declares that he feels he should not have to pay tax on any income earned in England, in part: "So you see why I become confused. One opinion or two or three, and professional opinions at that, feel that I should not be taxed on money transferred to England and they do not say it must come from capital sources, and by the way, just what are capital sources?" The third page is irregularly trimmed and has struck-through annotations to the margins and reverse. In overall very good to fine condition, with punch holes to the left sides, and the bottom of the last page of the 1957 letter irregularly trimmed away just below the signature.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autographs and Artifacts
  • Dates: #537 - Ended October 10, 2018