From the Utica Observer-Dispatch
July 1, 1973
Sometimes a fictional character can take on an all-too real life of his own. That's what John D MacDonald found out when he received a bill for $21.42 from the Holiday Inn of [Gaffney, South Carolina]. The bill was for a long distance phone call charged by one Travis McGee.
McGee is, of course, the fictional hero of 14 bestselling Fawcett paperbacks, the newest of which, The Scarlet Ruse, will be published in July.
In his letter to the Holiday Inn disavowing all knowledge of the phone call, Floridian MacDonald said:
"The management of Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale gets letters from time to time addressed to Travis McGee by pleasant people who are fans of the books I write about McGee. They forward them to me. This is the first instance of a rip-off.
"I would comment that the unknown person was a risk-taker. I am advised that over 14 million copies of the McGee books have been sold in this country. Assuming two readers per book, his odds were about one in nine that the person or persons at your desk would recognize the fictitious name.
"I feel a bit wistful that no one did. And I must assure you that McGee would never stoop to a fraud so petty."