Sunday, January 04, 2009

3 Feet Tall and Rising

In response to my most recent Westlake post, re Peter Rabe, Dzyd Bill writes:

I know Peter Rabe from a battered copy of "The Spy Who Was 3 Feet Tall." I never actually read it (and certainly didn't dream anyone would link its author to Nabokov and Hammett). The cover copy was well worth the price. The title character is a "pygmy" espionage agent nicknamed "Baby." I just love that premise, he's a spy and has to be inconspicuous.

I didn't know anything else about Rabe, but your mention prompted me to find these websites ( and Rabe was born Peter Rabinowitsch, escaped the Nazis, and wrote about 38 novels. After the death of the mass-market paperback, he quit writing and taught psychology at California Polytechnic.

One of Rabe's covers has a blurb from Mickey Spillaine: "This guy is good."

* * *

Further notes:

1. Sharp-eyed Dzyds will recognize the Rabe title from...the Spinal Narratives/Title Bouts competition!

2. Dzyd Sarah W. also had this to say:
Rabe is a criminally underrated writer, one whose work I'm less familiar than I ought to be. He wrote primarily in the 40s and 50s and Hard Case Crime is reissuing one of his books, STOP THIS MAN! in August, I think. Stark House has also reissued a number of Rabe novels, too.

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