Hillary Waugh Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

One of the true pioneers of the police procedural, Hillary Waugh was not the first writer to use police officers as detectives, but he was one of the first to present a realistic portrait of police officers and police work, emphasizing all the details of the case from start to finish, including the dull legwork that is often ignored. This emphasis was picked up later by other writers such as Ed McBain and Dell Shannon. According to Julian Symons and others, Waugh’s first police procedural, Last Seen Wearing . . . (1952), is one of he classics of detective fiction. Waugh’s later police novels involving Fred Fellows and Frank Sessions are praised for their realism and polish. In his less-known works as well as in these police procedurals, Waugh is a master craftsman who knows how to tell a good story and construct a tight and suspenseful plot. His prolific and enduring career is a testament to his ability and innovation.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Ball, John, ed. The Mystery Story. San Diego: University Extension, University of California, 1976. Collection of essays about the mystery genre, its conventions, and its authors. Includes an essay on the form by Waugh himself.

Dove, George N. “Hillary Waugh.” In The Police Procedural. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1982. Examines Waugh’s relationship to the genre of police procedural.

Dove, George N. Introduction to Last Seen Wearing . . . New York: Carroll and Graf, 1990. Critical analysis of Waugh’s novel, arguing for its central place in the history of detective fiction.

Malmgren, Carl D. Anatomy of Murder: Mystery, Detective, and Crime Fiction. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 2001. Discusses Waugh’s Last Seen Wearing . . . Bibliographic references and index.

Penzler, Otto, ed. The Great Detectives. London: Little, Brown, 1978. Waugh’s characters are among those afforded the status of “great” fictional detectives in this study of the most important and memorable characters in detective fiction.

Waugh, Hillary. Hillary Waugh’s Guide to Mysteries and Mystery Writing. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer’s Digest Books, 1991. Waugh’s handbook for aspiring writers and critical analysis of the genre provides crucial insight into his own creative process and investments.