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Daughter spurred to finish late dad Albert King's cowboy adventure

Wild West novel to be completed in writer's own style after help is rustled up from avid fan

By Eddie McIlwaine

Writer of Wild West cowboy stories Albert King – who died 20 years ago this week – left his last yarn unfinished on his desk on the day he passed away at 70.

But now bestselling author Paul Charles says he will help Albert's daughter Kelsey Buck write the final chapters and wrap up the plot in her father's style.

Kelsey, a 55-year-old grandmother, explained: "I'm always being asked if there is a last King book so perhaps the time has come to complete the job dad started. To have his last western of all published would be a tribute to a prolific storyteller."

She discovered her dad's last chapters in an old Amstrad computer he had taught himself to use in his study in Newtownards.

"There were handwritten scribbled notes, too, about the plot and chapter headings, so I have an idea the way father was going with this cowboy book."

Albert King wrote more than 600 novels. They included romances and science-fiction thrillers; but the man was best known for his westerns which he churned out, one a month, under pen names like Craig Cooper, Dean Taggart, Paul Muller and Agnes Wallace.

And down the years Charles, an impresario and agent in the entertainment business based in London, who writes thrillers for a hobby, read most of them including Vigilante Terror, the front cover of which I reproduce and which King he wrote as Dean Taggart.

"I was captivated by Albert's westerns as a boy in my home town Magherfelt," Paul explained. "It would be special giving Kelsey a hand to get this final tome finished."

What intrigues Charles about Albert is the fact that he wrote so vividly about the old West, its cowboys, ranchers and rustlers without ever setting foot on the American prairies. He never made it across the Atlantic once, but had fan clubs in 11 countries.

"My mum Agnes used to chuckle when the fan mail arrived from readers in the States who were convinced dad actually lived in America," said Kelsey, a businesswoman.

Albert was born in Portadown and left Hart Memorial PE school when he was 14. He held down various jobs like milkman and bus conductor and then opened his own printer's shop before penning his first yarn, Gunsmoke Heritage in 1963, as Lewis Wetzel. He became a newspaper sub-editor and retired in 1991 to concentrate on his yarns about cowboys riding the range – a range he could only dream of and which he had never seen.

Smithfield legend Kavanagh had tentacles in everything

Wheeler dealer entrepreneur, the late Joe Kavanagh, had a boast: "I buy anything."

It became one of Belfast's favourite catchphrases and you can still hear it being used around Smithfield Market where Joe was a fixture for many years. He died in the spring of this year at 97.

But did the legend that was Kavanagh ever buy an octopus? "Of course he did," maintained retired docker Sean Bannon of Hannahstown.

Apparently Sean and six mates unloading merchandise from a ship anchored in Dufferin Dock one afternoon in the summer of 1966 spotted an octopus clinging to the hull.

"We rescued it, put it in a big bucket and took it to Mr Kavanagh and he gave the seven of us a £1 note each.We spent the £7 drinking pints in the Elms Bar. We found out afterwards that he took it down to the seashore in Bangor and returned it to its natural home."

Belfast Telegraph


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