|Rufus King was a prolific
novelist, playwright, and short story writer in the Van Dine school, whose career
stretched from the 1920's to the 1960's. King had a vivid writing style, with colorful
characters, events, and images. The star of this tale is King's series detective Reginald
De Puyster, who is clearly related to Philo Vance. It is hard to tell at this date, who
came first, Vance or De Puyster. The first Vance book appeared in 1926, the same year as
De Puyster apparently appeared in magazines. Both men are verbally witty sophisticates.
King's later series detective, Lt. Valcour, is much more down to earth, but similar
sophisticates appear as suspects in some of the Valcour novels, such as Dumarque in Murder
by Latitude (1930).
After De Puyster, King created New York police Lieutenant Valcour, and starred him in a series of 11 novels from 1928 to 1939. Some of King's stories show a tendency to degenerate from mystery tales into thrillers, for example, Murder by the Clock (1928-1929). Valcour is French Canadian, and the son of an émigré French police officer. The biography states that Valcour was trained in the "brilliantly" intuitive methods of the French police. It explicitly contrasts these with the "plodding detailed routine" of British police officers.
During the 1940's, King published a number of mystery and suspense novels without continuing series characters.
London John Griffith London (1876-1916) was born in San Francisco of an unmarried
mother, Flora Wellman. His father may have been William Chaney, a journalist, lawyer, and
major figure in the development of American astrology. Because Flora was ill, Jack was
raised through infancy by an ex-slave, Virginia Prentiss. Late in 1876, Flora married John
London, a partially disabled Civil War veteran. Although The Call of the Wild
(1903) brought him lasting fame, many of his short stories deserve to be called classics,
as does his critique of capitalism and poverty in The People of the Abyss
and his stark discussion of alcoholism in John Barleycorn
Robert W. Chambers (b.26 May, 1865
Brooklyn, NY- d.16 December 1933 NY, NY) .American novelist and short-story writer, the son
of William Chambers and Caroline (Broughton) Chambers. As a writer he exhibited his ability
to handle crowds, invent exciting incident, and exercise his painters dexterity in
painting vivid landscapes.
Richard Harding Davis, (1864-1916), American writer and journalist. He was born in Philadelphia. He served as war correspondent for the London Times and the New York Herald during the Greco-Turkish (1897), Spanish-American (1898), South African (1899-1902), and Russo-Japanese (1904-1905) wars. During World War I (1914-1918) he was correspondent with the French and British armies in Serbia. Among his most popular writings are Gallegher and Other Stories (1891), Soldiers of Fortune (1897), The Bar Sinister (1903) and The Man Who Could Not Lose (1911).
George Barr McCutcheon
1866-October 23, 1928), novelist, eldest of three sons of John Barr and Clara (Glick)
McCutcheon, was born in Tippecanoe County, near Lafayette, Indiana.
Maurice Leblanc, (1864-1941) was born in Rouen as the son of a wealthy shipping owner. He was educated in France, Germany (Berlin) and Italy, and worked for the family film. He studied law but abandoned his studies then to become a pulp crime writer and police reporter for French periodicals. His first works appeared in newspapers, such as Echo de Paris. In 1887 Leblanc published his first novel, Une Femme, a psychological study that enjoyed only moderate success. French author and journalist, known as the creator of Arsène Lupin, French gentleman-thief turned detective. Leblanc was very prolific writer - he published over 60 novels and short stories which have been translated into several languages. Arsène Lupin appeared first time in a crime story L'Arrestation d'Arséne Lupin, which was written for periodical Je sais tout in 1905. Although he had long career as a writer for periodicals, it was not until the creation of Arsène Lupin, when he gained in his forties international fame. Lupin, the ultimate gentleman criminal, kept Leblanc busy for the next twenty-five years. The character was born by an accidental assignment from the editor of a new journal, Je Sais Tout. Leblanc eventually became a member of the French Legion of Honour. He died in Perpignan on November 6, 1941.
The first Lupin novel, Arséne Lupin, Gentleman Cambrioleur, appeared in 1907. Lupin is a master of disguise, whose criminal activities have more or less "unselfish" grounds. His opponent is inspector Ganimard from the Sûrete. Leblanc himself became a consultant on the staff of the Paris Prefect of Police, and this shift reflected in the stories about Lupin. Among the best novels are 813 (1910), in which Lupin, accused of murder, heads the police investigation to clear himself by finding the true killer, and L'Aguille Creuse (1910), in which Lupin is shot by a beautiful girl and falls in love with her, vowing to give up his life of crime. The Seven of Hearts (1908) is considered below the normal level of the series. - Arsene Lupin's adventures have been also basis for several movies and television series. In Japan the gentleman burglar has inspired a series about Lupin's grandson, Lupin III. Leblanc's sister, the singer and actress Georgette Leblanc, was the companion of the Belgian author Maurice Maeterlinck.
Copyright © MCMXCIX-MMXVIII Ellery Queen, a website on deduction. All rights reserved.