Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Last Chapter for a Storyteller

Jiro Kimura of The Gumshoe Site tipped us to the news that William F. “Bill” Granger, a longtime Chicago newspaper reporter and columnist turned novelist, passed away this last Sunday night, April 22, at a veterans home in Manteno, Illinois. He was 70 years old.

“In a journalism career that stretched from 1963 to 1999,” recalls Maureen O’Donnell on the Chicago Sun-Times Web site, Granger “wrote for UPI, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Daily Herald and the Chicago Tribune. The energetic, entertaining Mr. Granger did feature stories and TV criticism and reported from hotspots such as Belfast. He liked nothing better than printing a scoop and heading to journalistic watering holes [in the Windy City] such as Ric­cardo’s and the Billy Goat to crow--or argue--about it.”

In an excellent remembrance, the Daily Herald’s Burt Constable states that “Granger always considered himself a newspaper man.” Yet he was successful, as well, at composing political thrillers:
His first book, a spy novel titled “The November Man,” was published in 1979 and attracted international attention because its plot, based on a scheme to assassinate a relative of the British queen, had parallels to the assassination of Lord Mountbatten later that year, remembers his wife, Lori Granger, a lawyer who co-authored some non-fiction books with her husband.

Bill Granger wrote a series of sequels starring the main character, Devereaux, a shadowy spy for the United States. He also wrote a series of police procedural novels, including “Public Murders,” for which he won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the best original paperback mystery novel of 1981. Granger once said he made more money from “The November Man” but that “Public Murders” was his favorite “because it was real and gritty.”
A list of Granger’s novels can be found here.

Kimura notes that in addition to publishing work under his real name, Granger saw some of his fiction appear behind noms de plume:
His second novel, Public Murders (Jove, 1980), a police procedural featuring Chicago detective Terry Flynn, won an Edgar Award in the paperback original novel. He wrote the second and third Terry Flynn novels--Priestly Murders (Holt 1984) and Newspaper Murders (Holt, 1985) respectively--under the Joe Gash pseudonym, but from the fourth Flynn novel, The El Murders (Holt, 1987) he returned to the Granger byline. He also authored three Jimmy Drover novels about a forcibly retired newspaperman, starting [with] Drover (Morrow, 1991). He used the Bill Griffith pen-name to write Time for Frankie Coolin (Random, 1982).
Sadly, as Constable reports, Granger suffered a stroke back in January 2000, which detrimentally affected his ability to work, among other things: “No longer able to live in his home in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago, Granger, who served stateside in the U.S. Army, moved into the veterans home in March 2002.”

We offer our condolences to his family.


Ed Gorman said...

Excellent post, Jeff. I really enjoyed his novels. In addition to his thrillers he wrote a series of sports mysteries as well as a number of Chicago mysteries under a pen-name. He was good at everything he attempted.

patrick foster said...

Mr Granger is too soon gone; the November Man books rank as some of the best US spy thrillers of the 80s and 90s, and his Chicago crime books were great, too. What a tragedy. What a great writer.