From Chicago History Comes Well-Aged Mystery   

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I was a police reporter only for a brief spell at the beginning of a journalism career that spanned 44 years, but it was long enough to create a permanent impression of the experience that enabled me to develop police reporter-protagonist Steve “Snap” Malek.

My five Malek mysteries from Echelon Press are set in Chicago between 1938 and 1949 and are set against the backdrop of real events, among them the Chicago Cubs’ classic 1938 pennant race, the early work on the atomic bomb at the University of Chicago in 1942, the tragic Naperville, IL. train wreck of 1946, and the historic 1948 presidential campaign between Harry Truman and Thomas E. Dewey.

Now my brief time as a police reporter took place in 1959, well after the time frame of the Malek stories, but the Chicago of the late ’50s was little changed from the two preceding decades. In my books, I felt comfortable describing the sprawling city, the newspaper business, and the police department that existed in a slightly earlier time.

My fictional “Snap” Malek (so nicknamed because he always wears a snap-brim hat) interacts with many historical figures, including Al Capone, actress Helen Hayes, baseball pitcher Dizzy Dean, star-crossed automaker Preston Tucker, newspaper magnate Col. Robert R. McCormick, President Truman, future Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, and filmmaker/cartoonist Walt Disney.

Malek, who possesses what other describe as “essential brashness,” is not intimidated by coming in contact with these and other well-known figures, which is one of the hallmarks of newspaper reporters. To them, famous persons are useful because the help make the story headline-worthy.

The Steve “Snap” Malek Series:

  1. Three Strikes You’re Dead”  (Set in 1938)
  2. Shadow of the Bomb” (1942)
  3. A Death in Pilsen” (1946)
  4. A President in Peril” (1948)
  5. Terror at the Fair” (1949)

The Chicagoland “Family” of Mystery Writers

 

I am very fortunate to be a mystery writer in the Chicago area because of the strong support and encouragement I receive from other authors in the region. And I am hardly alone. Mystery and crime writers working in Greater Chicago, almost without exception, applaud the successes of others in the field.

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Robert Goldsborough with Michael Black at Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Forest Park, IL 2016

We attend one another’s book signings and other events, e-mail or text congratulations on awards and good reviews, and generally serve as an informal “cheering section” for colleagues. There seems to be an almost total lack of jealousy or resentment of success.

Now, it is possible this spirit of collegiality also exists in other metropolitan areas, although I am not qualified to say, having lived my entire life in what our media like to term Chicagoland. I only hope other cities have this same spirit.

Whether or not these cities are similar, I am proud to be a part of the Chicago area’s mystery writing community and its generosity of spirit.

The Order of Things

murder-stage-left-goldsboroughThe arrival this month of “Murder, Stage Left” marks the publication of my 17th mystery novel. Below, in the order they were written in each series, are the titles.

Please note that while the Snap Malek mysteries are best read in sequence, it is far less important that my Nero Wolfe books be read in any order.)

Nero Wolfe Mysteries

  1. Murder in E Minor
  2. Death on Deadline
  3. Fade to Black
  4. The Bloodied Ivy
  5. The Last Coincidence
  6. Silver Spire
  7. The Missing Chapter
  8. Archie Meets Nero Wolfe
  9. Murder in the Ballpark
  10. Archie in the Crosshairs
  11. Stop the Presses!
  12. Murder, Stage Left

Snap Malek Chicago Mysteries

  1. Three Strikes You’re Dead
  2. Shadow of the Bomb
  3. A Death in Pilsen
  4. A President in Peril
  5. Terror at the Fair

 

Setting My Stories Squarely in New York

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I was delighted to learn that my latest Nero Wolfe novel, “Murder, Stage Left,” has been warmly received by the publishing industry.

Publisher’s Weekly gave the book a starred review, calling it “Goldsborough’s superior 12th Nero Wolfe pastiche” and adding that “Even die-hard Rex Stout fans will have a hard time distinguishing Goldsborough’s prose and plotting from the originals.”

Booklist, the American Library Association publication, called it “a virtually perfect homage to the Rex Stout originals, from the orchids to the beer to the gourmet foods and, best of all, to Archie’s bemused, self-deprecating narration. Comfort food for fans of classic mysteries.”

Long before I was given the wonderful opportunity to write and publish the Nero Wolfe stories, I had always viewed Rex Stout’s creations as “the ultimate New York mystery series.” Mr. Stout placed his tales in the midst of the largest city in America, with numerous references to businesses, landmarks, and neighborhoods.

broadway-theaterWith New York, and specifically Manhattan, in mind, I have endeavored to work into my stories the businesses, entertainments,  and industries the city is famous for. “Murder, Stage Left” is a case in point, using the Broadway Theater as its backdrop. What other city has a theater scene to compare with that of the Big Apple?

Other New York strengths I have focused on in my books include: the advertising business (“Fade to Black”); book publishing (“The Missing Chapter”); newspapers (“Death on Deadline”); major league baseball (“Murder in the Ball Park”); and a symphony orchestra (“Murder in E Minor”).

So as an author, I say “Viva New York.”

Publishers Weekly says…

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Murder, Stage Left

coming

March 17, 2017

“Even die-hard Rex Stout fans will have a hard time distinguishing Goldsborough’s prose and plotting from the originals.”

Murder, Stage Left is the 59th book in the Nero Wolfe Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.

*Starred Review

Stop the Presses! by Robert Goldsborough

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Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin are tasked with protecting the most hated columnist in New York City

There are few people Nero Wolfe respects, and Lon Cohen of the New York Gazette is one of them. So when Cohen asks for a favor, the famously brilliant—and notoriously lazy—detective is inclined to listen. According to Cohen, someone wants to kill the Gazette’s gossip columnist, Cameron Clay. Death threats are a regular hazard for Clay, who’s hurled insults and accusations at every bold-faced name in the five boroughs. But the latest threats have carried a more sinister tone.

The columnist has narrowed his potential killers down to five people: an egomaniacal developer, a disgraced cop, a corrupt councilman, a sleazy lawyer, and his ex-wife. But when Clay turns up dead, the cops deem it a suicide. The bigwigs at the Gazette don’t agree, so they retain Wolfe and his indefatigable assistant, Archie Goodwin, to figure out which of the suspects had the mettle to pull the trigger.

“Outstanding….Goldsborough again demonstrates an impressive ability to emulate Rex Stout’s narrative voice.” —Publishers Weekly

“Mr. Goldsborough has all of the late writer’s stylistic mannerisms down pat.” —The New York Times

“Goldsborough does a masterly job with the Wolfe legacy.” —Booklist

Some Nice Words from Publishers Weekly

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*Starred Review*

Did you know  that in its Nov. 25, 2013 issue the trade journal Publishers Weekly gave a starred review to my latest Nero Wolfe novel, “Murder in the Ball Park.” PW is most selective in handing out its starred reviews, and I was honored to again receive that merit, which also had been awarded to my “Archie Meets Nero Wolfe” a little more than a year earlier.

The PW reviewer called my latest effort “superb” and went on to say that in the storyline “the investigation follows the dynamic of Rex Stout’s originals, with Archie (Goodwin) dutifully reporting back to the sedentary genius (Nero Wolfe) before a gathering of the suspects in Wolfe’s West 35th Street brownstone for the satisfying denouement.”

I hope readers agree the PW assessment of “Murder in the Ball Park,” which came out January, both in print and as an e-book.

You can also find several of my previous Nero Wolfe books on Amazon.com.