CyberGumshoe's Mumblings in November/December 2021

Andrew Vachss Dies

Andrew Vachss died on December 27. He was a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, and a labor organizer and a prison director for violent juvenile offenders before becoming an attorney for abused children and adolescents. He wrote his first novel, FLOOD (Donald I. Fine, 1985), introducing "outlaw investigator" Burke and his gang, which was nominated for the 1986 Shamus Award for best best first novel. The Burke series ends with ANOTHER LIFE (Pantheon, 2008). He wrote The Cross trilogy and the Dell and Dolly trilogy and several standalones and a number of short stories. He was 79. (December 30, 2021)

Stephen Spotswood Wins Nero

The Wolfe Pack announced at the Black Orchid Banquet held in New York City on December 04 that Stephen Spotswood won the 2021 Nero Award for FORTUNE FAVORS THE DEAD (Doubleday, 2020) as "the best American Mystery written in the tradition of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe stories."

At the same Banquet, Alexis Stefanovich-Thompson won the 2021 Black Orchid Novella Award for "The Man who Went Down Under," which will be published in the July 2022 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. (December 10, 2021)

In Memoriam

LeRoy Lad Panek died of pancreatic cancer on November 05 in Westminster, Maryland. The retired McDaniel College English professor wrote a number of scholarly books on detective fiction starting with WATTEAU'S SHEPHERDS: THE DETCTIVE NOVEL IN BRITAIN, 1914-1940 (Bowling Green Popular Press, 1980), which was nominated for the 1981 Edgar Award in the critical/biographical work. He won the 1988 Edgar Award for INTRODUCTION TO THE DETECTIVE STORY (Popular Press, 1987), while THE AMERICAN POLICE NOVEL: A HISTORY (McFarland, 2003) was nominated in the critical work. He was 78.

G.M. Ford (real name: Gerald Moody Ford) died on December 01. The former college Enlish teacher wrote his first novel, WHO IN HELL IS WANDA FUCA? (Walker, 1995), introducing Leo Waterman, a wisecraking private eye in Seattle, Washington. This first novel was nominated for the 1996 PWA Shamus Award for best first novel, and the sixth Waterman novel, THE DEADER THE BETTER (Morrow, 2000), for the the 2001 Shamus Award for best novel. His another series character Frank Corso, a Seattle jounalist, was introduced in FURY (Morrow, 2001), and four more Corso novels followed. The second Corso novel, BLACK RIVER (2002) won the 2003 Spotted Owl Award from Friends of Mystery, a mystery fan club based in Portland, Oregon. He was 76.

Gordon McAlpine died on November 29. The former college writing teacher wrote his first novel, JOY IN MUDVILLE (Dutton, 1989), set in 1930's Chicago's Wrigley Field. WOMAN WITH A BLUE PENCIL (Seventh Street Books, 2015) was nominated for the 2016 Edgar Award for best paperback. He used his pseudonym Owen Fitzstephen to write HAMMETT UNWRITTEN (2013) and THE BIG MAN'S DAUGHTER (2020; both from Seven Street Books). The last two novels features Dashiell Hammett and some people on whom Hammett modeled the colorful characters in THE MALTESE FALCON. He was 62.

Stephen Sondheim died on November 26 of natural causes in Roxbury, Connecticut. Yes, he was a very famous music composer and/or lyricist of many musicals such as West Side Story, Gypsy, A Little Night Music, Into the Woods and so on. But he liked mystery stories and co-wrote (with Anthony Perkins, Yes, that Anthony Perkins!) the screenplay for The Last of Sheila, the 1973 mystery movie directed by Herbert Ross, starring Richard Benjamin, Dyan Cannon, James Coburn, James Mason, Raquel Welch and others. He and Perkins won the 1974 Edgar Award in the screenplay category from the Mystery Writers of America. He was 91.

(December 07, 2021)

John Malcolm Dies

Martin Edwards reported in his "Do You Write Under Your Own Name" blog that John Malcolm Andrews dies on October 30 of cancer in East Sussex, England. The antique collector co-founded (with his wife Geraldine) the Antique Collector's Club and wrote its first book, THE PRICE GUIDE TO ANTIQUE FURNITURE (1968) and several other Antique furniture books under the John Andrews name. As John Malcolm, he started writing crime novels with A BACK ROOMS IN SOMERS TOWN (Collins, 1984), the first of the 15 Tim Simpson books as well as a finalistee for the 1984 New Blood Dagger Award. Simpson is an art investment specialist based in London, England, and has to investigate consequent art forgeries, art thefts, and murders. Malcolm also wrote two stand-alone novels: MORTAL INSTRUMENTS (2003) and THE CHIPPENDALE FACTOR (both from Allison & Busby, 2008). He served as Chair of the Crime Writers' Association of Britain in 1994-95. He was 85. (November 19, 2021)

Wilbur Smith Dies

Wilbur Smith died unexpectedly on November 13 at his home in Cape Town, South Africa. The former tax accountant shot to fame after the publication of his first novel, WHEN THE LION FEEDS (HeinEmann, 1964), also the first book of the Courtney family adventure-saga.set in southern Africa. After the instant success of the first novel, he quit his accountant job and became a full-time writer. HIs second novel, THE TRAIN FROM KATANGA (Heineman, 1965; retitled THE DARK OF THE SUN), a stand-alone, was turned into the 1968 movie entitled "The Mercenaries" starring Rod Taylor. Smith wrote about 50 bestsellers, including The Courtney family saga, the Ballantyne family saga, the ancient Egypt historical saga, mercenary Hector Cross thriller novels. He was 88. (November 16, 2021)

Caroline Roe Dies

Caroline Roe died suddenly on November 07 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The former English teacher started writing in her forties with MURDER ON THE RUN (PaperJacks, 1986) under the Medora Sale pseudonym, which won the 1987 Arthur Ellis Award for best first novel from the Crime Writers of Canada (CWC). The first novel of hers introduced Toronto police detective John Sanders and photographer Harriet Jeffries, and was followed by 5 more Sanders-Jeffries books. After the last and sixth novel of Sanders-Jeffries, SHORT CUT TO SANTA FE (Scribner, 1994), Roe started a new series featuring blind Jewish physician Isaac and Bishop Berenguer in 1350's Girona, Spain with REMEDY FOR TREASON (Berkley, 1998). The third Isaac novel, ANTIDOTE FOR AVARICE (Berkley, 1999) won the 2000 Barry Award for best paperback. The Isaac series ended with CONSOLATION FOR AN EXILE (Berkley, 2004). Roe served as president of both CWC (1989-90) and Sister In Crime (1998-99). Roe's last book was THE SPIDER BITES (Rapid Reads, 2000; as by Medora Sale), a stand-alone who-done-it novelette for the Hi-Lo middle school readers. She was 84. (November 14, 2021)

Mikael Niemi Wins Petrona

Mikael Niemi was named the winner of the 2021 Petrona Award for TO COOK A BEAR (MacLehose Press) as the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. The winning novel was translated from the Swedish by Deborah Bragan-Turner.

The other shortlisted titles are: A NECESSARY DEATH by Anne Holt, tr. Anne Bruce (Corvus; Norway); DEATH DESERVED by Jorn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger, tr. Anne Bruce (Orenda Books; Norway); THE SECRET LIFE OF MR. ROOS by Hakan Nesser, tr. Sarah Death (Mantle; Sweden); THE SEVEN DOORS by Agnes Ravatn, tr. Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books; Norway); and GALLOWS ROCK by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton; Iceland)

The announcement of the Petrona Award winner was made on November 04. (November 05, 2021)

Richard Hammer Dies

Richard Hammer died on October 17 of heart failure in a hospice facility in the Bronx, New York. The former journalist for the New York Times received an Oscar for best short documentary film, "Interviews With My-Lay Veterans" (1970). His well-known nonfiction books were BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH (his first book; Macmillan, 1969), ONE MORNING IN THE WAR, THE TRAGEDY OF SON MY (Coward McCann, 1970), and BEYOND OBSESSION (Morrow, 1992) among the others. He won two fact crime Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) for THE VATICAN CONNECTION (Holt, 1982) and THE CBS MURDERS (Morrow, 1987), and served as executive vice president of MWA (1995-1997). He also co-wrote (with Vincent Murano) two novels featuring NYPD detective Bob Rogers: THE THURSDAY CLUB(Simon & Schuster, 1992) and THE DEAD FILE (St. Martin's, 1996). He was 93. (November 01, 2021)

Brannavan Gnanalingam Wins Ngaio Marsh

New Zealand's WORD Christchurchh Festiva has announced the winners of four 2021 Ngaio Marsh Awards as follows:

Best Novel: SPRIGS, by Brannavan Gnanalingam (Lawrence & Gibson)
Best First Novel: FOR REASONS OF THEIR OWN, by Chris Stuart (Original Sin Press)
Best Non-Fiction: BLACK HANDS, by Martin van Beynen (Penguin)
Best YA/Kids Book: KATIPO JOE, by Brian Falkner (Scholastic)

The announcement was made on October 30 during a special video-streaming event. (November 01, 2021)