Hillary Baldwin Waugh was born on June 22, 1920, in New Haven, Connecticut. He remained in that city until he received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1942. Straight from graduation, he entered the navy and became a pilot in the Naval Air Corps in May, 1943. He remained in the navy until January, 1946, achieving the rank of lieutenant. It was in the navy that he began to write his first mystery, which was published in 1947 as Madam Will Not Dine Tonight.
After his discharge from the navy, Waugh returned to New England. With the exception of some time in New York and Europe, Waugh has mostly lived in Connecticut. In 1951, he married Diana Taylor, with whom he had two daughters and one son. After a divorce in 1981, he married Shannon O’Cork. He worked as a teacher (1956-1957), edited a weekly newspaper (1961-1962), and was involved in local politics, serving as First Selectman of Guilford, Connecticut (1971-1973). These vocations were always secondary, though, to his writing.
A prolific writer, Waugh published more than forty novels in the forty-two-year span between 1947 and 1989. Waugh was a past president of the Mystery Writers of America and received that organization’s Grand Master Award in 1989. Waugh died on December 8, 2008 in Torrington, Connecticut at the age of 88.