Lot #543
Raymond Chandler

Letters to a fellow crime writer on taxes and "intimate letters which could be embarrassing"

This lot has closed

Estimate: $2500+
Own a Similar Item?


Letters to a fellow crime writer on taxes and "intimate letters which could be embarrassing"

Three TLSs, each signed "Ray," totaling seven pages, dated 1957-1958, all to his English lawyer and fellow crime fiction writer Michael Gilbert.

In the first, April 4, 1957, the author attempts to find ways to avoid taxes: "Your letter is full of beautiful words. It seems, somehow, to me, to evade the issues that really worry me: first, whether income transferred by me to England from capital sources, that is, the sale of property of any kind, is not to be regarded as taxable income in the United Kingdom…From the general tone of your letter I gather, perhaps incorrectly, that you have reconciled yourself to my paying income tax for the fiscal year of 1955-56. I am not reconciled at all. I have not accepted that I owe the tax, nor that my stating in England in aggregate but not continuously, longer than six months necessarily makes me subject to your tax…I like you as a friend and I admire you as a writer but I am rather disappointed that you do not engage an expert tax accountant, because after all, this is an age of specialization and tax matters are hardly your line of country." In a postscript, Chandler writes: "A letter from the British Consulate received this morning tells me that I need not renounce British nationality but does not make it certain to my mind that even travelling on an American passport I still may not be regarded as a British national, since they refused me a permit to enter as a prospective resident."

In the second, April 22, 1957, Chandler discusses provisions for his will, in part: "The question of personal letters is always difficult. It is difficult for me to destroy the last link with Cissy by destroying her letters to me and mine to her. Since then, also, I have many intimate letters which could be embarrassing. So I should like that any such letters be handed over unread to Helga."

In the third, January 15, 1958, Chandler attempts to clarify taxes owed: "Of course, this is what Helga and her solicitors had in mind, and the Guinness Mahon Tax Department, when I was so strongly advised not to disclose any of the funds transferred by me to my London Bank…A point which has not been cleared up is this: although a regular annual visit of three months is assumed to make one a resident, I was in England in the tax year of 1956-7 only from April 6 to May 11, so as a visitor, would I, in the current tax year, be allowed to stay 6 months, or if not, for how long?" In overall very good to fine condition, with punch holes to the left sides, some of which are torn.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autographs and Artifacts
  • Dates: #539 - Ended November 07, 2018