Harry Jones wrote Guns at Chinooga Peak during 1982 and in the October advised his publisher, John Hale, that the book was ready. In November Hale agreed to publish and both parties had signed the contract by 9 December. Hale sent the cheque on 10 December, but the £75 fee was somewhat eroded because Jones needed more than the usual six complementary copies of this and other soon–to–be published books for his family – he ordered three copies each of Travis, U.S. Marshal and Channel Incident for his sisters. Hale, with an extreme absence of tact, sent copies of Buck Standish’s book, Gunsight, by mistake!
Jones never saw Guns at Chinooga Peak published. He woke up one morning in mid–January with jaundice and ‘complications’ and was taken by ambulance to Southmead Hospital, Bristol. After a certain amount of mismanagement, Jones was discharged from hospital in early February 1983 and his family was advised that he would require a long convalescence, but would otherwise be fine. He died at around 3.30pm on the afternoon of 9 February 1983.
With excellent timing, Hale requested the marketing blurb for Guns at Chinooga Peak the following day. At least this gave Jones’ wife, Alice, something to occupy her and she submitted it to Hale on 16 February 1983. Just in case you are of the mistaken belief that your debts die with you, Alice was left to pay Jones’ income tax on his recent books.
Harry Jones never saw a great deal of money from his books, but a deal he had brokered via Hale with certain UK Lending Libraries, such as those on overseas Armed Forces bases, meant that each time one of his more recent Hale books was borrowed, there was a micropayment made to the author. For several years this generated more income to Jones’ wife than had been paid in the original book deals. It is interesting to note that Jones had campaigned for just such a system of micropayments based on lending from UK libraries as far back as the early 1960s.