petite anglaise

October 4, 2007


Filed under: book stuff — petiteanglaiseparis @ 9:45 am

Once upon a time, a very puzzled petite anglaise found an email from a certain Raymond Delauney in her inbox. It nestled in amongst all manner of bona fide correspondence from literary agents and publishers (a surreal situation, in itself) and I blush to admit that I sent a curt answer to the first one, taking it at face value, even though Raymond referred to me as “Kid” and it included such gems as: “I’ll get you a book deal, sunshine, but I’ll need a slice of the pie. You’re a good looking cookie and pretty smart too. I’ve seen your type before and I know exactly how to handle artistic types…” After the second email, however, the penny dropped and I decided that one of my virtual friends was pulling my leg – see this post – and did my best to unmask the scamster (to no avail).

Imagine my amusement when “Raymond” contacted me to ask whether I might give permission for our email exchange to be used in his book – a collection of spoof emails sent to individuals around the world…

I haven’t read it – my free copy is in the post – but the concept amuses me no end, and reminds me of another book I stumbled across recently, ‘Delete this at your peril’ by Bob Servant, a collection of emails between a (fictional) retired builder from Dundee and the spammers he attempted to lead up the garden path.

Seems like a new genre is emerging. Email Anthologies. Whatever next? Books of MSN transcripts?


  1. ahhh the mystery is solved!

    Comment by Samantha — October 4, 2007 @ 10:11 am

  2. Reminds of the email that a young owoman in the UK intended to forward to her friend but ended up hitting the “reply” button, sending it back with her very revealing commentary to the guy she had shagged the night before. He forwarded it on to his friend and so on and so on. Got published in the daily mail a few days later. Scares me to no end. Email is a dangerous thing.

    Comment by Caroline in Rome — October 4, 2007 @ 10:29 am

  3. How about…

    txts u hv snt yr m8s



    Comment by Brennig — October 4, 2007 @ 10:39 am

  4. It’s been a regular genre in the days of snailmail, as far back as H Rochester Sneath in the 1940s (see also Henry Root in the 1970s, and I think a book called something like “The Timewaster Letters” more recently).

    Congratulations, it’s a sign that you’re famous enough to be worth bothering, and likely to produce something interesting in response! But I’d stick out for a share of the gross, if I were you.

    Comment by Autolycus — October 4, 2007 @ 10:49 am

  5. This reminds me of “Letters from a nut”, by Ted L. Nancy. Absolutely hilarious.

    Comment by céline — October 4, 2007 @ 10:57 am

  6. Ah well, you know, the link above (the book picture) is actually a sneaky amazon associates link. So if you do buy it, I’ll get my cut…

    Comment by petite — October 4, 2007 @ 11:02 am

  7. Not surprising! There’s enough stuff out there to fill loads of books – in particular here:
    The real world is so much more interesting than the fictional one, n’est-ce pas petite?

    Comment by Amanda — October 4, 2007 @ 11:51 am


    Comment by Amanda — October 4, 2007 @ 11:55 am

  9. Clearly that blog did not exist when I tried searching for Raymond Delauney on google back in summer last year…

    Comment by petite — October 4, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

  10. If I rub my computer hard enough will a new genre appear in a puff of smoke I wonder?

    Comment by Daddypapersurfer — October 4, 2007 @ 12:45 pm

  11. recently published book by Paul Vlitos all in emails ‘welcome to the working week’

    Comment by Kate Montero — October 4, 2007 @ 12:49 pm

  12. No need to say ‘my sympathies.’ These are aimless buffoons, take no notice. In a way I suppose it’s the worst possible indirect compliment there is. When they want to do it to bankers and persecutors, ( like our Harry) all well and good (and funny). But to do it to the struggling author and artist, nah…. that’s not good.

    Comment by fjl — October 4, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

  13. If one likes that sort of thing, Don Novello wrote three books along the same premise. His creation, Lazlo Toth, writes letters to public figures and corporations with wild proposals. Laugh-out-loud funny.

    The Lazlo Letters: The Amazing, Real-Life, Actual Correspondence of Lazlo Toth, American!
    Citizen Lazlo! The Lazlo Letters Volume 2 From Bush to Bush: The Lazlo Toth Letters

    Comment by xl — October 4, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

  14. I have a copy of “the original” of this kind of thing – and so far by far the funniest I have seen…

    “The Timewaster Letters”
    by Robin Cooper

    Comment by Jonathan — October 4, 2007 @ 3:53 pm

  15. Petite, you got “Punk’d.” revel in the moment……

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — October 4, 2007 @ 6:09 pm

  16. The original was Henry Root, and boy he was good.

    Speaking as someone who knows Raymond well (I’m him) I can say he does has a genuine fondness for Petite and her blog, having read it for many months. Petite took the ribbing in the good natured spirit it was intended.

    I’d have loved to have included in the book the whole web discussion on Petite’s forum that followed my initial approach but was told I’d have to obtain permission from everyone who posted, and the mere thought of that gave me a headache.

    I have to pay full credit to the deductive powers of this forum who correctly guessed I was male, middle aged (oil of ulay reference) and a sports jounalist.

    Don’t quite know how they discovered that last fact!

    Oh, and the name Raymond Delauney of course belongs to a character played by Terry-Thomas in the film School for Scoundrels. Terry-Thomas at his toothy best!

    The book is hilariously funny I hope, but then I would say that. Other ‘targets’ in the book are less sympathetic characters than Petite, the likes of mediums, recruitment consultants, jounalists, scientists, security guards etc.

    Please forgive me fellow forumites!

    Toodle pip,

    Raymond Delauney

    Comment by Raymond Delauney — October 4, 2007 @ 7:30 pm

  17. It’s a great way to have fun with a pen pal. Each of you define (or select from history) a different character, and then your characters correspond.
    Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer have written several cute books this way.

    Comment by Alice — October 4, 2007 @ 7:34 pm

  18. oh my. My life is utterly boring. I’ve just decided.

    Comment by beaunejewels — October 4, 2007 @ 9:11 pm

  19. Ah, so the genre of all sorts of odd letters to public bodies has moved to e-mail format? Why not, tis the century of cyber-everything after all… Next up, the book of text messages, probably.

    Comment by Ariel — October 4, 2007 @ 10:19 pm

  20. My dear friend,
    If by chance you are in Paris on the 26th of October, I would really be happy to invite you to join me at the Rock Lit’ party organized by the magazine Opium Europe for it’s launch, at the réservoir in the 11th! We will there be able to share glass of wines while listening to cool bands and writers reading their texts, more details on my blog :

    Many kisses
    King Negrito

    Comment by king negrito — October 4, 2007 @ 11:37 pm

  21. I have a couple of Novello’s “Lazlo” books and thought of them immediately when I read this. They’re definitely worth checking out.

    Comment by ~Tim — October 5, 2007 @ 8:19 am

  22. So NOW do you believe that it wasn’t me…?!?

    I second Jonathan’s comment – The Timewaster Letters gets a huge recommendation from me, and I normally HATE that sort of thing.

    Hadn’t picked up on the School for Scoundrel’s reference though. Nice one.

    Comment by JonnyB — October 5, 2007 @ 10:23 am

  23. Bloody hell – did I just put an apostrophe in ‘Scoundrels’?!?


    Comment by JonnyB — October 5, 2007 @ 10:24 am

  24. My favorite amusing exchange with a Nigerian scammer* is here:

    WARNING: you may have to clean saliva off your screen. I did. Later her ladyship said to me in the middle of the night “If you don’t stop making the bed shake I’ll go sleep somewhere else” and she did. The recollection of this particular bit of correspondence was slightly convulsive.

    The author’s collected works have since been published.

    *in the news again yesterday… it seems the well of public stupidity really is bottomless

    Comment by Eats Wombats — October 5, 2007 @ 10:35 am

  25. I remember your Raymond Delauney mystery. Glad to see that you’ve got to the bottom of it.

    It all started with Don Novello’s Lazlo Toth. I still haven’t read anyone do it as well as Lazlo.

    Comment by Damian — October 5, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

  26. Amazing, puzzling, weird.

    Comment by Parisian Cowboy — October 5, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  27. too funny, sugar! glad i’ve made my way back to your blog! :)

    Comment by savannah — October 5, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

  28. You’ve made a very cool new discovery.

    Comment by Jay — October 6, 2007 @ 9:57 am

  29. Ha! That is truly hilarious!!!
    And bizarre!!!
    What next? ;-)

    xox Girl and the City

    Comment by Girl and the City — October 9, 2007 @ 11:53 pm

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