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The Inheritors

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#1 Ghost Writer in Disguise

Ghost Writer in Disguise

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 08:29 PM

Hello, short time lurker first time poster here. I was wondering if anyone here (if anyone is here; I seem to be alone right now) knows anything or has ever been curious about The Inheritors by Philip Atlee, a/k/a James Atlee Phillips. Published in 1940, it is a novel about wealthy idle youth in Fort Worth circa 1935 written by one who knew the scene firsthand. The central library has one copy, kept locked away in the local history section. I read the first couple of chapters long ago but never got around to finishing it. Needless to say it cannot be checked out. Copies are so rare they are not found on eBay, though Alibris finally shows two, one for around $200, the other for around $250 --I think I'll have to pass for now. It was here that I discovered an alternate title, The Naked Year. And the library's catalog now has his name as James Younger Phillips.

Whatever his name, not much seems to be available about him. He had a somewhat more famous brother, David Atlee Phillips, a former CIA officer and author of such books as The Night Watch: 25 years of Peculiar Service (at least I think it was 25; I'm not real sure) and The Great Texas Murder Trials. Also, if some assassoholics are to be believed, he had a role in whacking JFK.

And of course there's his son, Shawn Phillips, legendary if little-known musician, who unfortunately may be better known to some for a boating accident he had while living in Italy. Shawn is still around and has a website, an earlier version of which I think had some background on JAP but if it's still there I can't find it. I just remember reading something on the web about him and his book to the effect that it had actually been kind of suppressed over some things that were just barely fiction. None of my recent web-wending has led me back to this nugget, however. All I've found is an item about his other literary output, the "Joe Gall" series of sleazy paperback secret agent novels published in the 1960s and '70s. Apparently he, like his brother, had been in the spook biz.

Anyway, that's all I've got on this minor Fort Worth mystery. What have you got ? Anything? Anyone else curious?

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