The Pug Ate His Face

When his cover artist Jonny M. told Hack that if he ever became incapacitated, it would be his fate for his pug Boris to eat his face within 15 minutes of the dog not receiving a treat when he demanded it. Hack was delighted at the idea of Jonny’s face being devoured in that fashion and immediately wrote this novel around the mental image.

Murder on the Super Chief

The Super Chief was the express train between New York and Los Angeles that was favored by the Hollywood elite in the 1930s and 1940s. Hack had long wanted to write a murder mystery set on the train but when he discovered that Agatha Christie had already written Murder on the Orient Express using precisely the plot that he planned to use, he sued her for plagiarism even though her book had been written 45 years before and he had yet to commit a word to paper. After losing the case in court, he wrote his version anyway which is almost a word-for-word rewrite of Christie’s book except that the characters are classic Hollywood stars and the murderer turns out to be Groucho Marx. Both Christie and Marx sued and were victorious in court, even though Hack was so destitute that they never collected a penny.