Crime Novels of the 1960s


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Fredric Brown (1906–1972) was considered a master of “Flash fiction” and has received high praise from colleagues such as Stephen King and Phillip K. Dick. Dan J. Marlowe (1914–1986) worked as the credit manager for a tobacco company before rising to prominence as a crime writer with The Name of the Game is Death. Charles Williams (1909–1975) published his first novel at the age of 42. Twelve of his novels were adapted to film, including Dead Calm, which gave Nicole Kidman her breakthrough role in 1989. Trained as a journalist, Dorothy B. Hughes (1904–1993) wrote The So Blue Marble, her first mystery novel, in 1940 and followed it with thirteen more. In 1978, she received the Grand Master award from the Mystery Writers of America. Donald Westlake (1933–2008) wrote over a hundred books under his own name and various pseudonyms, most famously Richard Stark. He was the recipient of three Edgar Awards and was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. Margaret Millar (1915–1994) was an American-Canadian writer of suspense and mystery novels who was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. Ed McBain (1926–2005) was the pseudonym used by Evan Hunter to publish his acclaimed series of police procedure novels, the 87th Precinct series. He was nominated for multiple Edgar Allan Poe Awards and was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.  Chester Himes (1909–1984) was known for his hard-boiled crime fiction, most notably the nine novels in his Harlem Detective series. In the 1950s, he moved to Paris, where he won France’s Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in 1958.  Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) wrote over twenty highly acclaimed novels and many short stories. She is best known for her psychological thrillers, most notably Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Geoffrey O’Brien, editor, is a poet, a widely published critic, and the author of books on crime fiction, film, music, and cultural history, including Hardboiled America, The Phantom Empire, Sonata for Jukebox, Where Did Poetry Come From: Some Early Encounters, and Arabian Nights of 1934. He was for many years editor-in-chief of Library of America.

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