One of the things I've learned in my magazine work is that it's nearly impossible to write for publication without making errors. Even The New Yorker with its stable of top-notch fact-checkers is forced to print corrections. While no one likes to make a mistake, the best journalists of my acquaintance appreciate having their errors identified. Better to set the record straight.
Today I heard from a reader who noticed a couple of inaccuracies in The Poacher's Son:
At one point in "The Poacher's Son" you used the phrase "smell of gunpowder'" and I thought 'this is a writer who knows what he is writing about,' but then, when Mike shoots Truman Dellis with the shotgun, you write "The smell of cordite hung in the air."Cordite is an obsolete British propellant and has not been manufactured since WWII. I see this reference all the time in books, and even a CSI episode. The only way one could smell it would be if very old ammunition was being used. Look it up on Wikipedia.You write that Mike ejected the magazine from Truman's bolt-action Remington 30-06. Most Remington bolt-action rifles have either a box magazine that does not extend through the bottom of the stock (it is built-in) or a floorplate magazine where the floorplate, magazine spring, and follower plate swing down on a hinge, like a Winchester or a Mauser. Very few Remington hunting rifles have a removable, ejectable magazine, although it is possible, and I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.It is too bad Truman didn't have an Enfield .303, which does have a removable magzine and conceivably might be loaded with old cordite-filled cartridges. But, it was the shotgun that killed him.