Author Richard S. Prather

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on February 22, 2004

I’m interested in knowing more about Richard S. Prather, who authored the Shell Scott detective books. These books were very popular when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s.

—David P., via e-mail

Richard S. Prather, who wrote 40 Shell Scott novels, is now 82 and very active. He and his wife have a home in Sedona, Ariz. (pop. 10,192), where he takes care of their organic garden, watches golf on TV and keeps up with correspondence from his fans. He’s even working on another book in the Shell Scott series. “It’s not 16-hour days like it used to be for me,” Prather says of his current manuscript, “so there’s no way to tell when it will be done.” The last one, Shell Shocked, was released in 1987. Prather’s books were notable for their light touch at a time when most detective novels were of the hardboiled variety. Though wildly successful, the books never made it into movies or television. “We had nibbles and options, but for some reason it never happened,” Prather says, admitting that he’d be happy to see Scott come to life onscreen someday. All 40 Shell Scott books are available through the website: