Friday, January 2, 2009

Hillary Waugh, mystery novelist, 1920 - 2008

Detective novelist, one of the first to create the police procedural genre, Hillary Waugh has died. He was 88. After reading a book on true crime, and inspired by the post war fad of semidocumentary crime films, he came to believe mysteries that implied that law enforcement personnel were bumblers who needed the insights of amateur sleuths were not correct. He began to write a series involving the painstaking, but still dramatically absorbing work of a Connecticut small town police chief, Fred Fellows. Whereas today's police procedurals often involve several cases his focused on one case at a time just like traditional mystery novels.

He said, "I try to put a little meat into my stories in hopes that the reader won't digest the book in a gulp and forget it, but will have something to chew on afterward. I would like my books to make the reader think, without the books telling him what to think. Lastly, I try to make sure that none of my books ever ends on an anti-climax. The tension should build to an explosion, not a let-down."*

*From Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009. [Database available to Glendale Public Library card holders at our Online Resources page.]

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