Richard S. Prather was the author of the world-famous Shell Scott detective series, which has over forty million copies in print in the United States and many millions more in hundreds of foreign-language editions. There are forty-one volumes, including four collections of short stories and novelettes. In 1986, Prather was awarded the Private Eye Writers of America’s Life Achievement Award for his contributions to the detective genre. He and his wife, Tina, lived among the beautiful Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona. He enjoyed organic gardening, gin on the rocks, and golf. He collected books on several different life-enriching subjects and occasionally reread his own books with huge enjoyment, especially Strip for Murder. Prather died on February 14, 2007.
This was a warm Sunday afternoon; Sheldon Scott, Investigations—my downtown L.A. office—was closed, and I was invited to a party. A Hawaiian party at that: luau, roast pig, the works. From behind the house somewhere I heard a happy squeal. A happy feminine squeal. Sounded like a good wild party. There was a lot of hellish yelling and whooping. At the top of six cement steps I found a buzzer on the right of the massive door, poked it as chimes went off to the tune of How Dry I Am.