Writing As Richard Meade


TWO SURGEONS – Lancer 70-012, 1962 PBO. Cover by Harry Schaare.

When Ben had a ‘major’ idea, he wrote under his own name. Otherwise, he used a pen name. As a result, Richard Meade became a prolific paperback writer in many varied fields of genre fiction – the medical novel, spy thrillers, political comedy, sword & sorcery, Westerns, screenplay novelizations, just about anything. Even though he did not really exist, Ben’s alter ego “Richard Meade” became one of the most eclectic writers of the 1960s and 70s.

Garth and Harold Cannon are brothers and both brothers are surgeons. A woman and booze complicate their lives as they struggle to save a dying child with a bad heart.


1st UK PB: Mayflower Dell 9208, 1964.

THE RESIDENT PHYSICIAN – Medical Fiction ( Neva ) 203, 1963 PBO. Cover by Robert Bonfils.

Hospital administrator John Travis fights to save his dying hospital – and the career of a young doctor.

Medical Fiction was a short-lived (I think there are four of them) experiment in 1963 by Neva Paperbacks Inc of Las Vegas , to cash in on the popular “doctor books” of the day.  Neva ’s main line was the sexy Playtime Books, many of which also featured Bonfils cover art. When Richard S. Prather sued Neva for plagiarism, his lawyers learned that the Las Vegas address was just a mail drop. The real operation was being run out of Florida .  

Bonfils and Haas were destined to work together again.


SUMMER ALWAYS ENDS – Dell 8379, 1966 PBO. Cover by Robert McGinnis.

With a you-are-there feeling of realism that causes the characters’ emotional turns to hit like electric shocks, SUMMER ALWAYS ENDS is a rite of passage novel about the end of childhood. Jud Beecham is the handsome football star carrying his scholarly, heart-on-his-sleeve roomie Webb Prentice through college. Jud always has a new girl, and the unending good times start to unravel when Webb falls in love with Jud’s latest, a gorgeous alcoholic named Jordan Gill.



CIMARRON STRIP – Popular Library 60-2245, 1967 PBO. TV tie-in. Uncommon.

Jim Crown lost his first love Ellen when she married his best friend Asher Haines. Now years later, Jim is marshal of Cimarron Strip. To his surprise Asher and Ellen arrive in his town one day.  Ellen seems to want to rekindle the old romance, and Asher seems to have a new agenda – robbing trains.


ROUGH NIGHT IN JERICHO – Gold Medal d1846, 1967.  Novelization of a screenplay by Sidney Boehm & Marvin H. Albert, based on the novel THE MAN IN BLACK by Marvin H. Albert (writing as Al Conroy).

UK hardcover: TBS The Book Service Ltd, 1972 (not shown).

When they turned Marvin Albert’s book THE MAN IN BLACK into a movie, they changed it enough so a different version of the same story could be published as the movie tie-in. A book based on a movie that was based on a different book does not happen too often. (Ian Fleming’s MOONRAKER and Christopher Wood’s movie tie-in JAMES BOND AND MOONRAKER is another example.)


BEYOND THE DANUBE – Peter Davies ( UK ), 1967.

1st UK PB: as THE GUN RUNNER – NEL 2519, 1969. Extremely scarce. This wondrous cover photo comes from a 1968 Signet called THE SURVIVOR.


As THE DANUBE RUNS RED – Random House, 1968. American hardcover edition of BEYOND THE DANUBE / THE GUN RUNNER.

1st PB: Berkley S1797, 1970.

The first of two espionage thrillers about John Allison, an American who sells arms to the highest bidder, a business model that constantly brings him afoul of the American State Department. 



BIG BEND – Doubleday, 1968.

1st PB: Signet P4130, 1970.

The Big Bend of the Rio Grande in South Texas is the setting for several of Ben’s Westerns under various pen names. One of them is Richard Meade’s BIG BEND, the story of Nora Stewart, lost in the wild country with two men who love her – a rancher named Sam Ramsay looking for his rustled horses, and the huge and powerful ex-slave named Concho.


4th printing: Signet J9981, nd (1981). Canadian ed.

A SCORE OF ARMS – Peter Davies ( UK ), 1969. No PB found. (Although this is a paperback catalog I am showing the hardcover jacket for A SCORE OF ARMS here.)


After John Allison sells some old Sherman tanks to an African rebel army, rumors arise that the tanks are being used for brutal atrocities against the civilians. Traveling to Africa he re-connects with an old friend named Erika Wolf, a fraulein seriously obsessed by memories of her Nazi father. 


As THE LOST FRAULEIN – Random House, 1969. American edition of A SCORE OF ARMS.

1st PB: Berkley S2042, 1971.



THE SWORD OF MORNING STAR – Signet P3774, 1969 PBO. Cover art by Jeff Jones.

Is that phallic symbolism or are you just happy to see me? Apparently our hero has two swords of Morning Star. I guess that big thing between his legs is supposed to be his “short sword”. I’ve never seen one pressing against a man’s ribs, and it makes you wonder – how can he sit down? Or relieve himself? (He only has one hand, and the author stresses the point that he can only handle one sword.)  Not sure what else is going on here, but he appears to be doing the pelvic thrust from the Time Warp.

“Beyond the future – before the past – into the strange realm of The Sword and The Sorcerer”.  Oh, by the way, the story told here is great reading, sheer fun, and now that special effects technology has caught up with it, it would make a hell of a movie.


EXILE’S QUEST – Signet T4348, 1970 PBO. Cover by Kossin.

EXILE’S QUEST takes place in the same mythical universe as THE SWORD OF MORNING STAR. In fact, the events here take place before the earlier book.

They call it the Power Stone. Some men called it by other names, Philosopher’s Stone, Grail. A sorcerer has given it to the Queen of the Unknown Lands. King Sigreith wants it, so he sends an exiled swordsman, Baron Gallt, at the head of an army of cutthroats and prisoners into the legendary Unknown Lands.  All sorts of monsters and half-men wait along their path. Another adventure tale from a master storyteller.

THE BELLE FROM CATSCRATCH by Richard Meade and Jay Rutledge. Gold Medal M2605, 1972 PBO. Cover by Jack Davis.

Jay Rutledge was the pen name of Jim Henderson. Ben and Jim were old friends, and Ben co-dedicated THE HOUSE OF CHRISTINA to Jim. Jim was the editor of the Norfolk Virginia Pilot.

A riotously hilarious satire on Southern politics, this is the story of Governor Thomas Prevatte Guthrie and his wife Betty Jo, the belle from Catscratch. Betty Jo has something that may destroy Tom Guthrie: a mind of her own.


CARTRIDGE CREEK – Doubleday, 1973.

1st PB: Manor 95389, 1975.

Will Leatherman rides into Cartridge Creek , New Mexico with a plan to buy land and settle down. But how do you do that when the town has been split open by a bloody war between two gangs?



GAYLORD’S BADGE – Doubleday, 1975.

1st PB: Belmont Tower BT50974, nd (1976).

It’s too bad Randolph Scott had retired before this book was written, as it would have made one hell of a Randolph Scott Western. Tough and arrow-straight Frank Gaylord, Sheriff of Colter County, Wyoming Territory, runs into trouble as crooked powerful men tempt him to get re-elected by turning his back on his own integrity. 


“To Seek The Dream” in GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, January 1976.

Novelette. Illustrated by Ted Coconis.

A young couple from Ohio , on the road to find work in Florida , break down in North Carolina . A lonely old man called Uncle Calvin picks them up and moves them into his abandoned grist mill in the hills, changing all three of their lives.

Lynn Munroe Books