book cover of Strangers on a Handball Court

Strangers on a Handball Court

A Novella by

"Strangers on a Handball Court" was written sometime in 1975-6; Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine was the first publication to see it, and they bought it straight off and ran it in the January 1977 issue. So the story must have been during my wanderjahr, a year or so when I drove from New York to Los Angeles, taking six months or so to get there, then stayed there for another six months, and then drove back. I always think of the first eight months of that year as an unproductive time, because I kept starting books and throwing them away when they went flat. But I did write a batch of short stories during that lost time, and they all found homes.

"Strangers on a Handball Court" drew inspiration from the Hitchcock film, "Strangers on a Train," itself based on Patricia Highsmith's novel. (I've never read the novel, and probably won't; I'll remember the film forever if only for the shot at the tennis match, with Farley Granger's gaze never wavering while everyone else in the stadium follows the ball back and forth.) The situation in my story is a little more complicated, and the players have their agendas.

The story periodically draws interest from young filmmakers, and I've sold non-exclusive film rights a couple of times. It seems to me that at least one short film was made from this story, and I seem to recall that the sport morphed from handball to something else, but don't press me for the details.

OTOH, if you're interested in basing a film on any of my short fiction, feel free to get in touch...

Used availability for Lawrence Block's Strangers on a Handball Court

Kindle Editions

November 2013 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: Strangers on a Handball Court
Author(s): Lawrence Block
Publisher: Lawrence Block
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA