x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

An end to the story

Peter Leonard, the son of Elmore Leonard, raised eyebrows when he said he would ''probably'' complete his father's unfinished last novel.

It is not unusual for a son to follow in his father's footsteps. And Peter Leonard, the son of Get Shorty and Out of Sight author Elmore Leonard, did just that by becoming a writer. But he raised a few eyebrows when, in an interview with the BBC after his father's death last week, he said he would "probably" complete Elmore's unfinished last novel.

The statement raises the question: how can anyone, even his own son, replicate the success of the so-called "Dickens of Detroit" whose admirers included Martin Amis and Stephen King?

From Sherlock Holmes to James Bond, many characters have lived on long after their creator died. But, almost without exception, the sequels have never lived up to the brilliance of the original stories. Does Elmore Leonard's Raylan Givens deserve the same fate?

Peter Leonard certainly has enjoyed some success as a writer, with five titles currently on sale on Amazon, and he may see it as an act of honouring his father's legacy by completing the Givens novel, which has the working title Blue Dreams. It would, no doubt, be a commercial success.

Wanting to finish a story is understandable but after that, his father's literary legacy would be best served by closing the chapter completely.