We were deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death on Thursday of Elaine Dundy, author of The Dud Avocado. Elaine never lost her fight, and even as she entered her eighties, she could still crack you up or make you blush with her salty anecdotes. And she was possibly the only person I knew who could utter a sentence that began, "One day, Errol Flynn said to me..."
Elaine was a tireless advocate, not only for her own books, but also for the writing of others, including Daphne du Maurier and Jilly Cooper. As her eyesight worsened as a result of macular degeneration, she reached out to others who suffered from the same condition, letting them know about a miraculous device that enlarged text so that she could continue to read (see the entertaining "Out of the Darkness," which was published in The Guardian in 2006). Having spent so many hours listening to the books on tape provided by the Library of Congress, it was her wish that The Dud Avocado be part of that program, and happily, the editors there agreed.
Elaine was overjoyed to learn that we'd be publishing her follow-up to The Dud Avocado, The Old Man and Me. I only wish that she had been able to see it happen.
Correction: Elaine Dundy was born in 1921, not 1927, as previously reported on this post.