E. V. Cunningham is the pseudonym used by Howard Fast for his mystery fiction. Notable for his prolific output (two or more books a year), he brought a social conscience to the detective genre, with works that expose the pitfalls of power and wealth and the virtues of the simple life. Cunningham was praised for his lifelike characters and action-packed narratives, but it was his commitment to liberal and humanitarian values that truly distinguished his work. His novels are characterized by a sympathetic treatment of women: They are portrayed as courageous, witty, and in some ways superior to men in intuition, reason, and values, empathizing with cultural outcasts, understanding of the pressures that sometimes force decent men to conform, and disdainful of prejudice, hypocrisy, and abuse of power. His Nisei detective allowed him to explore the values of Zen philosophy while facing the materialism and inhumanity of the rich. In sum, Cunningham combined political statement with enjoyable entertainment.