Biography (Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction, Revised Edition)
William John Pronzini was born on April 13, 1943, in Petaluma, a small town north of San Francisco, to Joseph Pronzini and Helen Gruder Pronzini. Joseph Pronzini was a farmworker. The younger of two children, Bill was reared in Petaluma, where he attended the local schools. He wrote his first novel at the age of twelve. In high school, he began collecting pulp magazines. It was at this point that Pronzini did his first professional writing, working as a reporter for the Petaluma Argus Courier from 1957 to 1960. After attending Santa Rosa Junior College for two years, Bill refused a journalism scholarship to Stanford University, choosing instead to become a freelance fiction writer. During the early years of his writing career, Bill supplemented his income by working at various times as a newsstand clerk, warehouseman, typist, salesperson, and civilian guard with the marshal’s office.
Pronzini married Laura Patricia Adolphson in May, 1965. The following year, he sold his first story, “You Don’t Know What It’s Like,” to the Shell Scott Mystery Magazine. Pronzini was divorced in 1967. His writing career flourished, however, and he had short stories published in a variety of pulp magazines. One product of this period was his unnamed detective: The Snatch, published in 1971, was Pronzini’s first novel featuring Nameless. Pronzini moved to Majorca in 1971. There he met Brunhilde Schier, whom he married in 1972. They lived...
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