Fredric Brown (all of his life he fought against being called “Frederick”) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 29, 1906. As a teenager, he lost his parents in consecutive years, 1920 and 1921, and was forced to work at odd jobs to support himself. During the 1920’s, he attended Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana, as well as Cincinnati University. He married in 1929 and moved to Milwaukee, where he worked as a proofreader for several publishers until he finally settled down at the Milwaukee Journal. There he remained until 1947, when he moved to New York, having been offered a position as an editor for a chain of pulp magazines.
It was in 1938 that Brown sold his first story, “The Moon for a Nickel,” which appeared in Street and Smith’s Detective Story Magazine. From that time on, Brown sold regularly to the pulps, writing in a variety of genres, from Dime Mystery to Planet Stories to Weird Tales. He built a considerable following among pulp readers.
Brown’s first popular success came with the publication of his first novel, The Fabulous Clipjoint (1947), which introduced the nephew-and-uncle team of Ed and Am Hunter. The novel won the Edgar Allan Poe Award of the Mystery Writers of America in 1948. Brown’s literary fortunes improved, and he moved to New York to take up a major editorial position; moreover, he divorced his first wife, Helen.
A succession of...
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