Friday, March 07, 2014

A Short but Tragic Month

The closing days of February proved fatal for several writers of importance to the crime-fiction community.

Television screenwriter-producer Juanita Bartlett, who worked with James Garner on Nichols, The Rockford Files, and the 1978 TV pilot The New Maverick, passed away “in her sleep” on February 25. According to Facebook’s Official James Garner Fan Page, “Juanita’s age is unknown as she was a very private person.” Beyond the aforementioned credits, Bartlett worked on The Greatest American Hero, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, Alias Smith and Jones, and The Magician. She was brought in to “fix” Spenser: For Hire during its second season (sadly, its least appealing one), and later produced the series In the Heat of the Night. The International Movie Database (IMDb) has a lengthy rundown of her TV work.

Bill Adler, who, according to The New York Times, “pursued his goal of being the P. T. Barnum of books by conceptualizing, writing, editing, compiling, and hustling hundreds of them--prompting one magazine to anoint him ‘the most fevered mind’ in publishing”--died on February 28 at age 84. Among his credits, recalls Jiro Kimura of The Gumshoe Site, Adler “‘conceptualized’ contest mystery novels including Who Killed the Robins Family? (Morrow, 1983) and its sequel, The Revenge of the Robins Family (Morrow, 1984; both written by Thomas Chastain); The Agent (Doubleday, 1986; written by David R. Slavitt); and Murder on the Internet (Morrow, 1999; written by Bruce Cassiday). He also conceptualized two mystery anthologies: Murder in Manhattan (Morrow, 1986) with stories by NY writer[s], and Murder in Los Angeles (Morrow, 1987) with stories by L.A. writers.”

Finally, we mourn the demise of Aimée Thurlo, who penned novels in the mystery, romance, and young adult categories, often with her husband, David. The FantasticFiction Web site explains that the Thurlos had “three ongoing mystery series: the Sister Agatha series, starring a cloistered nun, the Lee Nez series, featuring a Navajo vampire who teams up with a female FBI agent to fight crimes that have elements of the supernatural, and their flagship series, the critically acclaimed Ella Clah novels. Several Ella Clah novels, including Tracking Bear, Red Mesa, and Shooting Chant, have received starred reviews from Booklist.” The couple welcomed the release of their first Charlie Henry novel, The Pawnbroker, in January of this year, and they have another new work, Undercover Warrior, due out in June. Oline Cogdill reports that “Their last novel will be Eagle’s Last Stand, due to come out later in 2014.” Aimee Thurlo died as a result of cancer.

READ MORE:Rockford Files: Writer, Producer Juanita Bartlett
Passes Away
” and “Rockford Files: The Juanita Bartlett Story” (Jim Suva’s Blog).

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