Biography (Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction, Revised Edition)
Alan Furst was born to Jewish American parents on the Upper West Side in New York City in 1941. He received a bachelor of arts degree in English from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1962 and a master of arts degree in English from Pennsylvania State University in 1967. Later, he took courses at the School for General Studies at Columbia University in New York, where he encountered the prominent anthropologist Margaret Mead, for whom he later briefly worked as an assistant. He worked as a freelance writer for magazines before moving to France in 1969 as a result of receiving a Fulbright Award to teach abroad. Once in France, he contributed a regular column to the International Herald Tribune. Later he moved back to the United States to work for the Arts Commission in Seattle, but he made frequent visits to Paris and soaked in the atmosphere of the city that was to become a cynosure for his major fiction.
While in France, Furst began to publish fiction. Although Your Day in the Barrel (1976) had the thriller-genre elements so central to Furst’s later fiction, it was basically a comic mystery about a drug dealer named Roger Levin. The book was influenced by the exuberant, countercultural style of Tom Robbins, who provided a blurb on the novel’s back cover. The book received appreciation only in Seattle, where Furst was then working. The Paris Drop (1980) and The Caribbean Account (1981) are suspense novels that concern drug...
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