Thursday, January 01, 2009

Mystery Author Donald E. Westlake Dies

The New York Times is reporting that multi-award winning mystery author died yesterday while on vacation in Mexico. He was 75.

Westlake was widely considered to be one of the most successful and versatile writers of crime fiction in the US. His many awards included three Edgars and the title of Grand Master from the Mystery Writers of America. More than 15 of his books were adapted for the screen and made into movies.

He was so prolific that he took to writing under multiple pen names. One of our favorite series was the Samuel Holt mysteries that he wrote using the name Samuel Holt. There were only four books in the series, but the title of the third remains one of the most clever we've ever seen: What I Tell You Three Times Is False. And we've frequently told people that the restaurant scene in his novel High Adventure is one of the funniest we've ever read.

Westlake's contributions to the field of mystery fiction are so numerous it's hard to mention them all for fear of leaving something out, though the NYTimes article provides a good summary. He will be sorely missed.

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