Thursday, October 15, 2015

Leuci, Wright Meet Their Ends

Jiro Kimura’s The Gumshoe Site--which, by the way, will celebrate its 20th anniversary this coming January (wow!)--brings us the sad news of two more deaths in the crime-fiction community.

First is Robert Leuci, who, Kimura writes, “may have been (in)famous as a rogue cop turned informer who exposed corruption in the Special Investigation Unit of the Narcotics Division of the New York Police Department in the 1970s. He became the main character of the non-fiction book Prince of the City (Houghton Mifflin, 1978), by a former New York Times reporter and a former NYPD deputy commissioner … After [his] retirement in 1981, Leuci became a crime writer of six novels, starting with Doyle’s Disciples (Freundlich, 1984). He also wrote short stories for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and anthologies such as Murder Is My Racquet (New Millennium Press, 2002) and Providence Noir (Akashic, 2015).” Leuci died on October 12 at his Rhode Island home. He was 75 years old.

Passing away only days before Leuci, on October 9, was Eric Wright, a “former university professor [whose] his first novel, The Night the Gods Smiled (Scribner, 1983), introduce[ed] Police Inspector Charles Salter in Toronto, Canada. The novel won the 1984 Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) and the 1983 John Creasey [Memorial] Award from the Crime Writers’ Association of Britain (CWA). The third Salter novel, Death in the Old Country (1985) won the 1986 Arthur Ellis Award, while the first Joe Barley novel, The Kidnapping of Rosie Dawn (Perseverance, 2000), won the Barry Award in the paperback category. Barley is a part-time English lecturer and part-time security guard. Wright also won two Arthurs in the short-story category and received the 1998 Derrick Murdoch Award from the CWC. He created two other series characters: Mel Pickett, a retired Toronto policeman; and Lucy Trimble Brenner, a private eye and librarian in Toronto. His last novel was A Likely Story (Cormorant, 2010), featuring Joe Barley.” Wright was 86 at the time of his demise in Toronto.

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