So, "members of my wife's family" have kicked up a fuss about some of the photographs in "Rudolph Valentino's Moose: The Nancy Sphinctergritzel Story".
If she was alive, I'm sure Nancy would be shocked. To be honest, I had no idea who these people were. The pictures were so old, I assumed everyone would be dead. They were found in various archives, and I can only imagine with their reaction, what the reaction will be when I publish my own story, which is rather heavy on the abusive father and wicked stepmother front.
Anyhow, I hearby apologise to LEONARD DAYKIN for using his picture unintentionally, as a portrait of Nancy when she appeared in a Mary Pickord film in 1920.
I hearby apologise to JAMES SANDERSON for using his picture unintentionally as one of Nancy's neglected children, who turned up at her funeral just to make sure that she was dead.
I hearby apologise to MARGARET GILL for using her picture unintentionally as 2-year-old Lord Cecil Wilde, pictured in 1851. I would however like to point out that Cecil was not bisexual, he was entirely gay and yes, by having sex with men under the age of 21 he was committing a criminal act, but as he's been dead for almost seventy years I doubt if anyone care any more.
I hearby apologise to WINIFRED BROWNLOW, who if she is not actually dead must be very, very old (that picture is at least sixty years old) and for using her picture unintentionally as Molly, Nancy's mother who had a child with a Red Indian chief and subsequently named it Two-Skunks-Fucking-On-A-Log.
Needless to say, my own story--which it to be published in December--will contain more details about these people.
And here is my reply to their solicitor, for anyone who may be interested:
Letter To *****
I thank you for your correspondence of 20 August 2014 with reference to your clients Leonard Daykin and Others.
I believe that I can make out the gist of your correspondence despite the many spelling errors. I also thank you for taking the time to read my "Nancy Sphinctergritzel" books. Indeed, your correspondence could not have arrived at a better time. You will have observed that Nancy died on 23 August--this weekend there is a big promotion regarding this.
I will begin by stating that I had no idea who any of the people were in the photographs contained within the books, other than my mother-in-law, father-in-law and his mother (Nancy) who are all deceased. As any lawyer would know, in Britain one cannot libel the dead.
These photographs were found in my mother-in-law's and other family archives, including my own from France. The ones you refer to were bequeathed to her daughter, my wife--this is captioned on the pictures. They are therefore her property, and we are free to do with them as we so wish. On saying this, each book and its promotion bears the following legal disclaimer:
This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to persons living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Naturally I will remove the pictures detailed in your letter. This cannot however be "forthwith"--e-books can be amended within a matter of days, but print books take up to eight weeks. I will not be offering any public apology to your clients as per the disclaimer, as I did not know the identies of these people. Some of the pictures in the "Nancy" books are up to a hundred years old. Regarding your contacting all the sales outlets--good luck with that one, as "Valentino's Moose" is published as far afield as Russia and Japan.
Nancy is an unpleasant character. That is the nature of these stories. They are promoted as spoofs. Regarding your claim that they fall under the Obscene Publications Act, I would also wish you luck with that one. The following notice appears on each one:
"WARNING: This story contains adult material of a sexual nature."
Have you not seen any adult books advertised on Amazon? I'm afraid there are rather a lot, far more adult than mine. I feel you need to lighten up!
My books are not defamatory, because the characters are all fictitious--again, I ask you to read the disclaimer. Neither are they libellous: not one of your clients' names are mentioned because when I wrote the books, I had no idea who these people were. Therefore they are not a breach of your clients' privacy. I will not be removing them from the market, but I will remove the pictures you speak of.
Regarding an apology. If this is what your clients want, then I will offer an apology on my Blog, which reaches a very large worldwide audience. This will of course name your clients and possibly cause them considerably more embarrassment than they claim they have encountered thus far.