CyberGumshoe's Mumblings in November/December 2015

Peter Dickinson Dies

Peter Dickinson died Winchester, Hampshire, England on December 16, his 88th birthday, after a brief illness. He was usually regarded as a children's author or a fantasy writer, but he also wrote a number of crime novels starting SKIN DEEP (Hodder & Stoughton, 1968; US title, THE GLASS-SIDED ANTS' NEST), which introduces Superintendent James Pibble of Scotland Yard. SKIN DEEP won the 1968 Gold Dagger from the Crime Writers' Association of Britain, and the second in the Pibble series, A PRIDE OF HEROES (Hodder & Stoughton, 1969; US title, THE OLD ENGLISH PEEP SHOW) won the CWA Gold Dagger in the next year. Besides six Pibble novels, he authored several stand-alones and two Princess Louise novels which are set in an alternate England. He was 88. (December 20, 2015)

Steve Shagan Dies

Steve Shagan died peacefully in his sleep on November 30 at his home in Los Agngeles, California. The former TV producer wrote his first novel, SAVE THE TIGER (Dial Press, 1972), which was actually novelized version of his screenplay of the same name. The movie version was finally made in 1973, with John G. Avildsen as a director and Jack Lemmon as a leading actor who won the 1974 Oscar. His second novel, CITY OF ANGELS (Putnam, 1975), was made into the 1975 movie entitled "Hustle" starring Burt Reynolds with Shagan's script. He also adapted his third novel, THE FORMULA (Morrow, 1979), into a 1980 film with Avildsen. His other film adaptations included Martin Cruz Smith's NIGHTWING, Mario Puzo's THE SICILIAN, and William Diehl's PRIMAL FEAR. Shagan's last and eighth novel was A CAST OF THOUSANDS (Pocket, 1993). He was 88. (December 09, 2015)

Hazel Holt Dies

Janet Rudolph of Mystery Fanfare reported that Hazel Holt died on November 23 in Somerset, England after a lengthy illness. The former reviewer and feature writer for Stage and Television Today wrote her first novel, GONE AWAY (Macmillan UK, 1989: US title, MRS. MALORY INVESTIGATES, St. Martin's, 1990), when she was in her sixties. The book was the first on the series featuring Sheila Malory, a widowed literary magazine writer in Taviscombe, England. She also wrote the biography of an "underrated" English literary writer Barbara Pym (her former International African Institure colleague), A LOT TO ASK (Macmillan UK, 1990; Dutton US, 1991). The last and twenty-first Malory novel was DEATH IS A WORD (Allison & Busby, 2014). Her son is novelist Tom Holt. She was 87. (December 09, 2015)

Nobumitsu Kodaka Dies

Nobumitsu Kodaka died of pancreatic cancer on December 08 at his home in Saitama, Japan. He almost singlehandedly popularized hardboiled fiction in the post-war Japan, by collecting and translating a lot of American hardboiled novels into Japanese. He was my mentor, agent, supporter, and sometimes partner in crime writing. He was 79. (December 09, 2015)

John Verdon Wins Nero

The Wolfe Pack, the Nero Wolfe Fan Club, announced that John Verdon won the 2015 Nero Wolfe Award for PETER PAN MUST DIE (Crown). The announcement was made on December 05 at the Black Orchid Banquet held in New York City. (December 06, 2015)

William McIlvanney Dies

William McIlvanney died peacefully at his home on December 05 in Glasgow, Scotland after a short illness. He was called the "godfather of tartan noir," and influenced a lot of Scottish crime writers such as Ian Rankin and Val McDermid. The former English teacher wrote three Jack Laidlaw novels: LAIDLAW (1977); THE PAPERS OF TONY VEITCH (1983); and STRANGE LOYALTIES (1991; all from Hodder & Stoughton), Laidlaw being a police detective in Glasgow, Scotland. The first and second novels won the Silver Daggers from the Crime Writers Association, and were nominated for the MWA Edgar. His non-series novel, THE BIG MAN (Hodder, 1985) was turned into the 1990 movie of the same name (US title: Crossing the Line) starring Liam Neeson. He was 79. (December 06, 2015)

Walter Mosley to Receive Grand Master

The Mystery Writers of America has announced that Walter Mosley will receive the 2016 Grand Master Award at the Edgar Awards Banquet, to be held in New York City on April 28, 2016.

At the same banquet, Margaret Kinsman, the former Executive Editor of Clue: A Journal of Detection, and Sisters in Crime will receive the 2016 Raven Awards for outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.

And Janet A. Rudolph, the director of the Mystery Readers Internationalm and editor of the Mystery Readers Journal will receive the 2016 Ellery Queen Award. (November 24, 2015)

T. M. Wright Dies

T. M. Wright (full name: Terrance Michael Wright) died on October 31 of Parkinson's disease in Corning, NY. He was mainly a horror writer but he also wrote susupenseful horror novels. His first published novel was STRANGE SEED (Everest House, 1978), which was nominated for a World Fantasy Award, and he may have been most famous for A MANHATTAN GHOST STORY (Tor, 1984). He wrote psychic detective Ryerson Biergarten novels starting with THE CHANGING (Tor Books, 1985) as F. W. Armstrong and began using his own name for the third in the five-book series, GOODLOW'S GHOSTS (Tor, 1992). He was 68. (November 02, 2015)