Saturday, June 17, 2006

Reader Feedback

Every writer I know gets feedback from their readers. Some types of readers are more likely to write or email than others. Maybe you ran over a cat in one of your books. Maybe you got a fact wrong about the Glock one of your characters carries. You will hear about it. Cat-lovers and gun-lovers at last find common ground!

Now and then I get an email about a mistake I've made that I find utterly charming. And this one is an example of that:
One hundred six/seven years ago Rimsky Korsakov composed the Flight of the Bumble Bee.

I am nearing 76 years of age. I commenced piano lessons at age 4. My mother was a classically trained pianist of considerable dexterity and varied repertoire - but that comes with decades of practice and performance. I heard her play Flight of the Bumble Bee without missing a single 64th note. I seethed with envy and respect - in that order.

About 35/40 years after the piece was first performed the staff producing The Green Hornet, searching for an appropriate theme and knowing absolutely nothing about the difference between hornets and bumble bees opted to use Nikoli's piece.

I recall being glued to the Philco cathedral radio listening to the Green Hornet, thrilling to the theme rendered by a stringed ensemble.

I have read every one of your books. I frequently have laughed out loud at some of your very witty writings. I lost my wife of 54.3 years of happy marriage last year. We both read avidly. I think I average 200 books a year or thereabouts.

Now searching for a comparison I envision Bear could make his living in the World Wrestling Alliance. I think it was in KILL CLAUSE you had Bear humming the "theme from the Green Hornet."

Have you ever attempted to do that? When I read that line I marked the page with a laminated book mark and for roughly 5 minutes tried to hum the Flight of the Bumble Bee. Now I have been a fair to middling pianist most of my adult life. I could not hum it. I firmly believe no one else could, let alone our mutual friend Bear-- or his creator!

If you'll keep writing I'll try to live to read as many of your books as possible in whatever time remains in my life. The tie between the drugs in the punch in THE PROGRAM and Al Gore kept me laughing gleefully for an enjoyable spell.

Note this e-mail is written on faint but discernible replicated sheet music. Perhaps Bear could sight read and hum it in a future plot.

I wrote back:

I just listened to the Green Hornet theme and yes, it would be difficult for someone to hum, especially Bear, who generally has his mouth full. Your suggestion about Bear as a professional wrestler made me laugh – particularly after the Great Mustaro scene in TROUBLESHOOTER.
And the gentleman was, in fact, kind enough to include some sheet music for the next time Bear feels like humming.


Noreen Cullenward Knapp said...

Dear Mr. Hurwitz,
I have read (actually, I listened to them on tape) three of your books, Kill Clause, The Program, and Troubleshooter, and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I appreciate in particular your ethics and how you show the moral dilemma that so many decent people are in today as a result of what I see as a failing justice system. Who can help but like and admire Tim Rackley and the lengths he is willing to go to to help people? I gather that the character of Rackley is based on an actual U.S. Marshall. Knowing that there are such good people in the world is very heartening. I appreciate, too, the lengths you've been willing to go in researching your books and, in my opinion, that is quite a gift.
Noreen Cullenward Knapp said...


Thank you very much for your kind words. I've always envisioned the Rackley books as holding an essential ethical dilemna in them, and I'm glad that came across. Rackley isn't actually based on any one person; like all of my characters, he's an amalgam of many people I've met.