Martin Cruz Smith Biography


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Martin Cruz Smith, born Martin William Smith on November 3, 1942, in Reading, Pennsylvania, is the son of John Calhoun, a musician, and Louise Lopez Smith, an American Indian rights activist. Smith was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964 with a bachelor of arts degree and then worked as a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News in 1965. He was employed by Magazine Management from 1966 to 1969. On June 15, 1968, he married Emily Arnold, a chef.

In 1970, he published his first novel, The Indians Won, which was reviewed in science-fiction journals. From 1970 through 1976, he wrote and published many mystery and adventure novels under various pseudonyms. Written under the name Martin Smith, Gypsy in Amber and Canto for a Gypsy (1972) indicate his fascination with mismatched partners, a motif that resurfaces in Gorky Park. Gypsy in Amber earned a nomination by the Mystery Writers of America as the best first mystery novel of 1971.

In 1973, Smith spent two weeks in the Soviet Union researching a book that was to include a Soviet detective working with an American detective to solve a murder. Refused permission to return to the Soviet Union, he did further research by interviewing Soviet émigrés about life in their homeland.

Smith’s Inquisitor series, published in 1974-1975 under the name of Simon Quinn, was received with considerable interest. His first substantial success as a writer, however, occurred in 1977 with the publication of Nightwing. This book was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for the 1978 Edgar Allan Poe Award. In 1977, Smith also had his middle name legally changed from William to Cruz, his maternal grandmother’s first name.

The success of Nightwing allowed Smith to focus on completing his Russian mystery, Gorky Park, which was published in 1981. The popularity of Gorky Park enabled Smith to spend the next five years researching and writing his novel about the Manhattan Project test site in New Mexico, Stallion Gate, published in 1986.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Martin Cruz Smith’s books are exemplars of well-crafted police procedurals—mysteries written from the point of view of the police investigating a crime. With the appearance of his Gorky Park in 1981, after eleven years as a prolific novelist, Smith moved into the ranks of America’s best-selling authors. Although nominated for a Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award for Nightwing in 1978, a sign of professional recognition from fellow authors, Smith achieved national recognition only after his books set in the Soviet Union that depict tense but engaging partnerships between Russian and American detectives. Smith’s Gorky Park and additional novels that appeared by the early twenty-first century evoked critical evaluations that ranked these works above ordinary mystery genre writing, if somewhat below the best novels of Eric Ambler, Len Deighton, and John le Carré. Smith’s readers, voting with their pocketbooks, made him a wealthy man.{$S[A]Logan, Jake;Smith, Martin Cruz}{$S[A]Carter, Nick;Smith, Martin Cruz}{$S[A]Quinn, Martin;Smith, Martin Cruz}{$S[A]Quinn, Simon;Smith, Martin Cruz}

Born Martin William Smith on November 3, 1942, in Reading, Pennsylvania, Smith was the son of musician John Calhoun and American Indian rights activist Louise Lopez Smith. Only after the success of Nightwing in 1977 did he change his middle name from William to Cruz, the name of his maternal grandmother. Entering the University of Pennsylvania in 1960, his initial interests were in sociology, but, defeated by the discipline’s statistics, he switched to creative writing and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 1964. Smith spent the next year as a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News and then took a job with Magazine Management, publishers of popular “macho” magazines. This position lasted until 1969, when his “bad attitude” led to his...

(The entire section is 784 words.)