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42 years on Western Novel 'Shameful' Re-Released
By PR Newswire
Oct 23, 2013 - 6:40:39 AM

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While author Denis Cleary died in 1984, 2013 sees his widow re-release the hilarious Western novel 'Shameful' to an appreciative new audience. Hailed as funnier than 'Blazing Saddles', Cleary's unique narrative is now emptying the lungs of a modern audience with gusto.

United Kingdom -- 1971 was a hugely-successful year for author Denis Cleary. The day he published 'Shameful', a Western-style comedic novel, Peter Collinson (Director of 'The Italian Job') took an option on the book and the two began composing a film script. However, Cleary's dreams were shattered after just three months when Collinson suffered a sudden fatal heart attack. Cleary's own death came just thirteen years later, after selling ten thousand copies of his book and achieving admirable critical acclaim.

While the book has now been out of print for many years, growing demand for the novel has prompted the author's widow to re-release 'Shameful' in 2013.


Theodore J. Cash, travelling gambler, aged somewhere between 35 and death, man of enterprise who sold corn plasters to both sides at the Battle of Gettysburg and sole proprietor of the 'Prairie Palace', the only mobile gambling saloon West of the Chicago stockyards... In Wyoming Territory in the year 1875, Cash discovers Shameful, the only town in the West that has never known a lynching, a gunfight, a saloon girl's cough or the joys of stud poker.

He meets up with Asa Ridge, Shameful's organ playing undertaker with the secret ambition to own the biggest and most famous Boot Hill of all time. Together they set out in a hilarious attempt to bring the rip-snorting Wild West to this quiet backwater. Assisting-or hampering-the two entrepreneurs are such richly diverse characters as Jackstraw, the apprentice desperado, Clem Midnight, town tamer extraordinary, Rockhead Roger, as has-been stage coach driver, a dazed piano player, a female singer who performs best in her bath, Molly the big bosomed queen of the roulette table, and a tribe of Indians whose lack of enthusiasm for war is only equalled by their capacity for 'Devil's Breath Brewed in the Casket' whiskey.

...Cash winked at the preacher. 'The family that gambles together stays together'...

Joan Cleary is delighted to be honouring her husband's memory by making his work public once again.

"It's heart-warming to know that, even many years after his death, Denis's book is being enjoyed by people of all ages. What is really striking is the number of young people that are not only buying the book, but sharing positive reviews of it. One wouldn't immediately associate young readership with the Western genre -- so it came as a very positive surprise," says Ms. Cleary.

Continuing, "Denis always was a very talented and prolific comedic writer. He'd be touched to see his work still circulating almost thirty years after his death."

As Joan explained, young readers are turning out in their droves to share positive reviews.

"If you have a sense of humour, you will love this book. The lead character Theodore J Cash is a masterpiece of writing. Very original and visual story, ideal for a film. I was so embarrassed reading it on the tube, with everyone looking at me as I was laughing so much," says Joan Williams, reviewing the book on Amazon.

Another reader was equally as impressed, adding, "I've read the book before and i found it just as funny second time round. It's a Western with a difference - a funny, crazy and explosive tale of a traveling gambler - in a covered wagon, no less - and his effect on the various odd-ball characters when he arrives in the little town of Shameful. Mayhem starts and grows. A good, light-hearted read. Worth a shot - whoops!"

'Shameful', published by Spinetinglers Publishing, is available now:

About the Author:

  • Denis Cleary, educated at Grammer School, served in the Merchant Navy, Colonial Police and the British Army. Became a TV and film actor with over 400 performances to his credit before being a full time writer. Published books include: text from London Through the Looking Glass sequel to Shameful, titled The Tattler. Three adventure stories with co-author Frank Maher, Capricorn Run, Sahara Strike and Wipe- out.

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