Thursday, October 20, 2016

Passing Comments

I have devoted a good deal of virtual ink lately in paying homage to Ed Gorman, the prolific Iowa writer and editor who died last Friday. However, his is not the only recent passing that demands observance.

As Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine editor Janet Hutchings notes,
On October 1, the mystery world lost Clark Howard, a five-time winner of EQMM’s Readers Award, an Edgar winner for best short story with five additional Edgar nominations in that category, and a recipient of the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer for Lifetime Achievement from the Short Mystery Fiction Society. Clark was also a noted writer of true or “fact” crime, and was twice nominated for the best-fact-crime Edgar. He had a larger-than-life personality, and he was generous to a fault—treating his editors and friends to elaborate dinners at five-star restaurants on the few occasions when he traveled to mystery events. Clark’s life is chronicled in his autobiography, Hard City, published by Dutton in 1990. It’s painful reading: As a boy he was parentless and homeless for a time, concealing himself in a bowling alley before closing each night so he’d have somewhere to sleep. While still a teenager, he served in the Korean War. Out of those tough beginnings he rose to become one of the best short story writers of his generation. He was one of a kind, and a friend to me and everyone else he knew at Dell Magazines.
The Gumshoe Site adds that the Ripley, Tennessee-born Clark “wrote 16 novels, six non-fiction books, and many short stories. His first sold story was ‘The Last Gunfight,’ published in the January 1956 of Stag Magazine, while his first sold mystery story was ‘Handcuffed,’ in the January 1957 [edition] of Crime & Justice. His first novel, The Arm (Sherbourn, 1967), became the 1987 movie The Big Town, starring Matt Dillon. Two of his non-fiction books were nominated for … true-crime Edgar[s]: Six Against the Rock (Dial, 1977) and Zebra (Marek, 1979), while five of his short stories were Edgar-nominated.” Clark was 84 years old at the time of his demise.

Also meeting his end last week was Larry Karp, the author of such novels as Scamming the Birdman (2000), The Ragtime Kid (2006), and A Perilous Conception (2911). A post on the Facebook page managed by the Puget Sound Sisters in Crime chapter explains:
Although Larry lived in the Seattle [Washington] area for much of his life, he grew up in [Paterson] New Jersey, as one might have guessed from the slight accent he retained. He began his career as a physician, specializing in high-risk and complicated pregnancies. He founded the Prenatal Diagnostic Center at the University of Washington as well as the Department of Perinatal Medicine at Swedish Medical Center. Residents of the Family Practice Programs at both Swedish and Providence hospitals voted him Teacher of the Year.

For years, Larry wrote articles for medical journals as well as three non-fiction works, two of which dealt with medicine and one that explored his passion for antique music boxes.

When Larry retired from medicine in 1995 he plunged into writing the mystery novels he loved, producing both standalones and two series; the Music-Box Mysteries and a trilogy of Ragtime mysteries. They are not only beautifully written, but meticulously researched. To the delight of many, he also authored a children’s book dedicated to his grandson Simon and illustrated by his friend Vic Hugo.
Seymour’s First Clarinet Concerto exemplifies Larry’s versatility as a writer. He recently completed a historical biography of Brun Campbell (Brun Campbell: The Original Ragtime Kid) and the book dearest to his heart—a mystery co-authored with his son Casey Karp. The RagTime Traveler will be available in April 2017.
(Hat tip to In Reference to Murder)

Finally, The Gumshoe Site offers this sad news: “Graham Carleton Greene died on October 10. He was a son of Hugh Greene and Helga Greene, and a nephew of Graham Greene. His father edited … The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes [1971], among other [books], and his mother was Raymond Chandler’s agent, fiancée, and original executor. Graham C. Greene himself was chairman of the British Museum and the managing director of Jonathan Cape publishers in the ’60s and ’70s. He was most recently the literary executor of the Raymond Chandler estate and a director of Ed Victor Ltd., a literary agent, which takes care of Chandler’s literary properties. He was 80.”

Britain’s Telegraph provides its own obituary of Greene.

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