Larry Block sent this on to us. My thanks.
Stephen Marlowe, 79, Detective Novelist, Dies
By MARGALIT FOX
Published: February 26, 2008
Stephen Marlowe, a prolific writer of popular fiction best known for his crime novels featuring the globe-trotting private eye Chester Drum, died on Friday in Williamsburg, Va. He was 79 and lived in Williamsburg.
The cause was myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone-marrow disorder, his wife, Ann, said.
Mr. Marlowe wrote more than 50 novels in a range of genres, from crime to science fiction to historical fiction. The Chester Drum books combined elements of the hard-boiled detective story and the international espionage thriller.
Drum made his first appearance in 1955 in “The Second Longest Night.” Known familiarly as Chet, he was a tough unmarried ex-cop who kept a bottle in his office and a .357 Magnum at his side. Based in Washington, he took on cases involving international intrigue that in nearly two dozen novels took him to exotic locales around the globe.
Other titles in the series, all published by Fawcett, include “Mecca for Murder” (1956), “Murder Is My Dish” (1957), “Killers Are My Meat” (1957), “Drum Beat — Berlin” (1964) and “Drum Beat — Marianne” (1968).
With Richard S. Prather, Mr. Marlowe wrote “Double in Trouble” (Fawcett, 1959), in which Drum joins forces with Mr. Prather’s series sleuth, Shell Scott.
Mr. Marlowe was born Milton Lesser in Brooklyn on Aug. 7, 1928. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the College of William and Mary in 1949. Under his original name, he began his career in the early 1950s writing science fiction.
In the late ’50s, Mr. Lesser legally changed his name to Stephen Marlowe, one of several pen names he regularly used. (Among the others were Andrew Frazer, Darius John Granger, C. H. Thames, Stephen Wilder, Jason Ridgway and Adam Chase. In his 1961 novel “Dead Man’s Tale,” Mr. Lesser joined the cavalcade of ghostwriters who published under the name Ellery Queen.)
For much of his career, Mr. Marlowe lived abroad, primarily in France, Spain and Switzerland. In recent years, he turned to serious historical novels, most on European subjects. These included “The Memoirs of Christopher Columbus” (Scribner, 1987); “The Death and Life of Miguel de Cervantes” (Bloomsbury, 1991); and “The Lighthouse at the End of the World” (Dutton, 1995), about Edgar Allan Poe.
Mr. Marlowe’s first marriage, to Leigh Lang, ended in divorce. He is survived by his second wife, the former Ann Humbert, whom he married in 1964; a sister, Carolyn Frucht of Santa Fe, N.M.; two daughters from his first marriage, Deirdre Marlowe of Baltimore and Robin Marlowe of Boston; and two grandchildren.
Among his awards are the Prix Gutenberg du Livre, a French literary prize, in 1988; and a life achievement award from the Private Eye Writers of America in 1997.