or: The Secret Life of Walter (Witty)*
Contribute your own thoughts or read what others have said.
Walter led a life as adventurous and often mysterious as his books. We welcome your comments on both here.
Be sure to click through the links at right to read the extraordinary memories and deep appreciation that his many friends and fans have posted to date.
* Thanks to Jean Heller for sharing this brilliant headline to her article describing Walter’s “Trailer Trash” book tour.
I met Walter at a party for British publisher Collins Crime Club in the early 1990s, introduced to him by our mutual editor Elizabeth Walter (who had been Agatha Christie’s last editor). We hit it off, left the party together and went out for dinner. It was the start of a beautiful friendship – think Bogart and Rains in ‘Casablanca’; me, of course, being Claude Rains.
Whenever he was in London, we would hang out in pubs and wine bars, usually with the late Sarah Caudwell completing the terrible trio. I read and reviewed many of Walter’s novels and have personally bought six copies of ‘Wilde West’ to distribute to the unconverted. I even, in 2017, got the chance to edit re-issues of his three Pinkerton novels. I was fascinated to see ‘Blood Imperative’ as it brought back many memories. More than twenty years ago, before the ‘Twilight’ craze or ‘True Blood’, Walter and I collaborated on a film script titled ‘Daybreak’ about modern day vampires who had developed a super-sunblock allowing them to survive daylight and who had limited their blood drinking to the spoonful, always taken without violence and often quite sexily. It was Walter’s original idea; all I did was throw in some bad jokes (which Walter took out!) and wrote in a part for John Cleese as an Old World vampire master checking up on the more unruly young American vampires. Nothing came of it but I still have a script bearing the dedication ‘To Walter S. without whom…it would have been much funnier.’
I supported his ill-fated trip to Greece last year, but lost touch (laptop problems I think) when he arrived in Bruges. I offered to jump on a Eurostar and take him out for lunch, but he never responded and then, four months later, he got in touch from Seattle. In his last messages, knowing that my wife and I visit Italy twice a year, he urged us to go to Bologna, one of his favourite European cities. We are doing so in May and will raise a glass, perhaps two, to a talented writer, a charming man and good friend.
Hello Mike Ripley
I discussed with Walter very recently the idea of someone else finishing Blood Imperative. He was (conditionally) enthusiastic about the that prospect. I will be happy to try to recall the details of his statements if they are of interest and potentially useful.
By all means get in touch regarding Blood Imperative. You can reach me at Mikeripley1952 [at] talktalk (dot) net.
I enjoyed Walter’s books and will miss him.