Sometime in the summer of 1929,
York approached me with the usual query.
He realized he needed a literary agent and asked if I had any interest in
representing him. Unfortunately, his novellas were the usual, predictable gothic
tales of the supernatural. They were certainly marketable but not remarkable.
What was apparent, however, was that York had talent.
I won't bore you with further details of those early years but as you know the
works of Perceival York became the cornerstone of my publishing company and his
name synonymous with the macabre. He was a publisher's dream, obsessively
disciplined and enviously prolific. If he said a story would be ready in a
month’s time, then without a doubt, it would be finished within a fortnight.
Years would pass without him ever deviating from that practice until he began
keeping company with certain notorious married woman. It was the autumn of 1935
just before his move to Vermont that he began to miss deadlines. What he did submit had become a trickle of
disjointed thoughts and half finished mediocre outlines of stories that never
materialized. A troubling situation for me as Percy customarily received sizable
advances on his publications. The root of his problem was of course common
knowledge as are most illicit affairs.
York's relationship with
the woman had ended abruptly with her leaving him for a younger protégé. It was
an old story; unrequited love, inability to focus beyond his genitals, his
energy and money squandered trying to buy the affections of woman he could never
possess. Naturally, York was depressed and once again I was called upon to act as mentor
and advisor. The lady (I use the term loosely) was his first love. I realized his ego had
been wounded but weeks passed after the affair had ended and still I hadn’t
heard a word from him. He hadn't returned my messages and as far I knew hadn’t
been seen by any of his usual contacts.
His rooms were inconveniently located in
the most unfashionable part of town so as you can imagine calling round to his apartment was a last
resort. I was shocked when he finally opened the door. It was noon, Percy was
still in his pajama's and appallingly dishevelled. Unusual for a man usually so
meticulous about his appearance. Oblivious to his appearance he gestured for me
to come in then without waiting for me to take a seat began talking feverishly for what seemed
like hours. Nevertheless, I listened without complaint or interruption to a
lengthy monologue that amounted to nothing more than an excuse, the old standby,