As a young man living in New York City, I gradually became aware that there were other people in the world whose names were also Les Roberts. One of them, a well-known jazz-folk guitarist, used to gig at a club about three doors from where I lived. I also became aware of a professional wrestler named Les Roberts. Later I found that a Les Roberts ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in upstate New York. And another Les Roberts has written several non-fiction books as a political/scientific expert. Good for all of them—and also to the Les Roberts who came to one of my book signings years ago and introduced himself.
But in 2007 I started getting angry letters and emails from my readers, complaining about a mystery written by Les Roberts called “The Poisoned Plum,” which was all about lyme disease. None of my readers liked it very much—a few said they wouldn’t buy my books anymore as they were so dismayed by this one.
Guess what—I’m INNOCENT. I did not write “The Poisoned Plum.” I did a little research and discovered that THE OTHER LES ROBERTS lived in Atlanta and was in some sort of public relations position. I even found a photo of him—and we appear to be around the same age, both having a full head of smoke-gray hair.
I have no doubt that “PP” (Poisoned Plum) sold a lot more copies than it normally would have just because he and I share the same name. At that time I’d written about twenty-two books to his ONE. I think that were I he, I would have checked to make sure that there was no other MYSTERY writer with the same name, and would have changed mine, or used a middle initial too, or possibly fessed up to a given name, whether it be Leslie or Lesley or Lester.
I tried desperately to communicate with him at the time. I also tried hard to contact amazon.com so they wouldn’t list HIS pathetic book along with mine. I failed both times. I resent his having sold books to readers who thought he was me. I’m quite sure that some actually told him they liked his other books, meaning MY books, better. I’m annoyed he made no effort to contact ME.
So I want to clear this up once and for all. I DID NOT WRITE “THE POISONED PLUM.” I’M INNOCENT! Maybe I’ll write MY next book under the name John Grisham or Stephen King. Then I can sell a ton!