ED LACY: NEW YORK CITY CRIME AUTHOR - by Ed Lynskey
On Sunday, January 7, 1968, crime author Leonard “Len” S. Zinberg, perhaps better known by his Ed Lacy pseudonym, suffered a fatal coronary in a laundromat near his 75 St. Nicholas Place residence in north Harlem. He was 56. A widow Esther (1910-86) and a daughter Carla (born in the late 1950s, possibly adopted, and presumably still living) survived him. Zinberg had had a medical history of heart trouble dating back as early as 1960.
Zinberg wrote about his heart ailments as “a form of therapy” as well as “a source of story ideas.” As early as 1946 in a New Yorker piece titled “The Convert,” he wrote about an apartment dweller whose heart is “pretty bad.” One year after his first heart attack, he brought out Bugged For Murder (Avon, 1961) about PI Billy Wallace with a bad ticker who becomes a couch potato. In The Hotel Dwellers (Harper & Row, 1966), Howie Fisher managing a hotel gift shop leads the sedentary lifestyle of a recovering heart patient. Looks are deceptive. On the same novel’s rear dust jacket, a grainy black-and-white portrait of the burly Zinberg (who resembles a begrizzled Alan Arkin) glowers back at us any thing but sedate.
Little is known of Zinberg’s early life. He was born on August 25, 1911 in New York City (some sources say upstate New York) to Max and Elizabeth Zinberg. This marriage ended in divorce a few years later. Max Zinberg, 88, died in Newark, New Jersey in November 1972. Elizabeth remarried to Maxwell Wyckoff and Len went to live with them in Manhattan from age ten on. “Mac” Wyckoff, a Yale graduate, worked as a banking lawyer at the firm Livingston, Livingston, & Harris. Len as a teenager lived in a fairly affluent family at 450 West 153rd Street on the fringes of Harlem.
Alan Wald, a professor at the University of Michigan, points out that Len’s interest in African American culture and leftist politics stemmed from his 1920s Jewish heritage. During the late 1920s, Zinberg attended the College of the City of New York. During the 1930s his wanderjahr throughout the United States included working at a series of odd jobs (once as a butcher) to support himself. By the early 1940s, Zinberg returned to The Big Apple where he married and resided for the balance of his life.
Zinberg claimed to have supported his family as a prolific freelance writer from his discharge after WW II until his death in 1968. When “financially possible,” the Zinbergs traveled to the West Indies and Europe (in Paris for part of 1959) and often vacationed at Long Island beaches. Intimately familiar with New York City, Zinberg often rode the subway exploring new neighborhoods for writing ideas. His apartment sat near a police precinct station where the affable, gregarious crime author maintained “buddy-buddy” contacts as well as with lawyers and coroners.
Early short stories (his New York Times obituary put the sum at “several hundred”) reveal some of the author’s lifelong passions. For instance, “A Four-Square Guy” from BLAST: A Magazine of Proletarian Short Stories in the October/November 1934 issue staked out his liberal views. A fellow leftist, the poet William Carlos Williams served as an advisory editor for this New York City journal. He also published in such leading leftist publications as New Masses.
“Lynch Him!” in Francis R. Bellamy’s monthly Fiction Parade (July 1935) by its title alone suggested Zinberg’s deep-seated concerns with racial matters. The white Zinberg was enmeshed in the black culture by more than his interracial marriage to Esther (in articles he referred to her as “the wife”). An Ed Lacy story titled “The Right Thing” originally appeared in the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper shortly after World War Two and was later anthologized in The Best Short Stories by Afro-American Writers, 1925-1950. This story tells the strange, sad tale of Ed Jordan who in an auto accident severs a young girl’s arm. Jordan waits for the disfigured girl to grow up so he can wed and thereby redeem her. In the end, she jilts him for a younger fellow nearer her own age. Such an ironic, bittersweet ending is classic Ed Lacy.
Many of Zinberg’s early publishing credits emerged in literary journals. In November 1936, he published a short story titled “A Leaner” in Story Magazine, edited by Whit Burnett and his first wife Martha Foley. The story concerns a quiet man who defeats the neighborhood bully in an odd game of horseshoes. The same issue included poetry by Horace Gregory, a New Yorker regular. Story was a prestigious literary outlet to such icons as Tennessee Williams, Carson McCullers, and Richard Wright.
Young Zinberg also appeared in more prosaic venues. In Murder Off the Rack, Marv Lachman cites a seminal story titled “For His Kids” published October 1938 in Coronet magazine (popular in its day for jazzy fiction if not black-and-white nude photos). Pitting two dads in a bizarre pugilist match, the story introduces the author’s love of the Sweet Science. Marv Lachman, a leading Ed Lacy scholar, states, “No mystery writer before or since has written more often knowledgeably about it [boxing].” In the January 1944 issue of Thrilling Sports, Zinberg published a second boxing story titled “Tiger on the Loose.”
No doubt Zinberg was a huge fight fan and avid reader of Ring Magazine, which he refers to in his writing. His hefty debut novel, Walk Hard, Talk Loud (1940, Bobbs-Merrill), is about Andy Whitman, a scrappy African-American boxer turning pro. Lou Ross, a gangster promoter who runs the fight racket, is the white nemesis opposing Andy while Ruth, a gold-hearted Communist activist (based on Esther?), is the girl who saves him. The linear plot ends predictably, but the gym milieu and boxing sequences pack a raw, realistic, and visceral power even when read today, sixty-four years later.
Race relations permeate the plot highlighted by various episodes of discrimination. The paperback a decade later from Lion Books hyped it with lurid jacket copy: “Boxing racketeers, loose-hipped blondes, chiselers – these were all part of Andy Whitman's life – and so were jim-crow hotels, cops, tenements, and hatred. For Andy Whitman was a Negro trying to make a living in the toughest racket in the world, the prize ring. Tried to make a living – until the crooks and the vultures moved in ...”
Zinberg’s knowledge of the sport of boxing and his writings about it, fiction and nonfiction, is impressive. Themes in his first novel about the downtrodden boxer resonated in his 1951 essay “The World of the Pug” in The American Mercury. Zinberg profiled Danny Cox who in 1943 came within a broken thumb (a loss by TKO) of capturing the light heavyweight world championship. The author made a convincing case how boxers are fed into a meatgrinder by pursuing lavish titles and purses. This essay also exemplifies Zinberg’s crisp, clean prose and seamless journalistic style which are often overshadowed by his larger body of fiction. Two novels – Go for the Body (Avon, 1954) and The Big Fix (Pyramid, 1960) – also used boxing as a main theme. Interestingly, Go for the Body also put the boxer in an interracial marriage.
Ralph Ellison in a 1940 review titled “Negro Prize Fighter” for New Masses praised Zinberg’s Walk Hard, Talk Loud. He credited Zinberg for “indicat[ing] how far a writer, whose approach to Negro life is uncolored by condescension, stereotyped ideas, and other faults growing out of race prejudice, is able to go with a Marxist understanding of the economic basis of Negro personality.” Zinberg’s acceptance by the African-American community went beyond a glowing review by one of its predominant intellectuals. He had friends who helped him do more with his inaugural novel.
Walk Hard, Talk Loud was Zinberg’s only book adapted for the stage or screen. He collaborated with veteran black playwright Abram Hill (1910-86) to produce a seven-scene play at the American Negro Theatre on 135th Street. Lewis Nichols for the New York Times said the show’s “central theme is legitimate and important, but he [Zinberg] introduces a number of extraneous scenes and people which slow his play and cloud his story.” A young, “attractive” Rudy Dee (four years prior to her marriage to Ossie Davis) starred as Ruth, the love interest.
The show, however, impressed Broadway executives to move it downtown and cast the white middleweight champion Mickey “The Toy Bulldog” Walker as Andy Whitman. As a boxing aficionado, Zinberg had to be exhilarated by the choice of Walker. Despite this early stage triumph, Zinberg went on to write very little for television or movies. Hollywood bought an old Esquire story, but it went no further. His only credit came for scripting a 1960 episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents called “Hitch Hike,” starring Suzanne Pleshette.
World War Two found Private First Class Len Zinberg serving with the Allies’ 1943 push into Fascist Italy to kick out the Nazis. PFC Zinberg had a story titled “Timing” in the men’s magazine, Sir! (October 1942), and his early detective story “Pay Telephone” appeared with James M. Cain in Popular Detective (October 1943). However, Zinberg didn’t make the break to mystery writing just yet.
In the October 25, 1943 issue of The New Republic, he won a Soldiers Prose competition and published a war sketch called “Home Is Where ...”. A corporal soon to ship off to war-torn Europe reveals a disenchantment for the U.S. provinces below the Mason-Dixon Line: “Nor could he explain the boredom of small Southern towns where a shot [a drink] on Saturday night was something to look forward to.” Zinberg’s rage for the South’s racist attitudes would continue to seethe in his writing throughout the Civil Rights years.
Zinberg’s war sketches also appeared in Yank (its motto: “written by the men ... for men in the service”) in 1945. Now Sergeant Zinberg, he wrote the scathing satire “Welcome Home” about a GI returning to his childhood home only to find a sign on the shack: “Keep out! No damn Jap rats wanted here.” The GI, of course, was a Japanese-American. A second Yank article recorded the reception in Rome on VJ-Day where “most people were merely smiling quietly.”
The contributions Zinberg made to Yank and The New Republic paved the way for his eighteen New Yorker pieces (1945-47), which in turn were instrumental for launching his professional writing career. Plying a wry wit, weary optimism, and humane tolerance, he captured the postwar mood – at least for a white, liberal-minded, jazz-loving war veteran residing in Harlem.
The New Yorker vignettes display a John O’Hara slice-of-life feel to them, only better written with deeper social sensitivity. Perhaps the most engaging of these war yarns is the “Sergeant Eddie” series. Eddie, an ex-typewriter mechanic, is the maladjusted GI adapting to civilian life with mixed results. In “Something’s Going to Happen” he confesses to his bartender, “I keep feeling something’s going to happen, and I’m like a guy in the death house, waiting. See, it’s like the whole world was a death house.”
Eddie puts scant faith in the United States’ leaders: “This peace conference scares me ... It’s being run by a lot of politicians, the same kind of bastards who was always speaking up for ‘G.I. Joe’ when the elections come up.” Eddie, stricken with malaria in “Feud,” butts heads with the VA head nurse, a regular Nurse Ratchet. It’s not a stretch to see the sardonic “Eddie” as the basis for Zinberg adopting the “Ed Lacy” penname a couple years later. Not all, however, is as grim as this in his New Yorker compositions. A personal essay like “On With the New” begins: “December 31, 1944, was the strangest New Year’s Eve I’ve spent.” Zinberg goes on to detail a risqué, funny account of a quick Italian striptease, not the tantalizing buildup which the paying GIs expected.
Indeed, Zinberg is not generally given due credit for the mordant, wry humor infusing his writing. Bruce F. Murphy appreciates the funny scenes in The Hotel Dwellers. Zinberg’s Moment of Untruth (Lancer Books, 1964), the sequel to his Edgar winning title, Room to Swing (Harper, 1957), declares it is a work of fiction, not about real people or events and “the same goes for the snakes.” He wrote the paperback original Breathe No More My Lady (Avon, 1958) as a satire “proving that writers take themselves far too seriously.” In short, he took the writing process seriously but felt “a joker has to have lard in his head to tell anybody how to write.”
Zinberg resolved to make it as a full-time writer in New York City with some friends because “he liked the way they lived.” One such friend was Prudencio De Pereda, a novelist whose best known was Fiesta (1953). Zinberg reminiscenced, “I had the usual tough going until I tried a novel” which paid better than the “few dollars” he earned off peddling stories to the pulps. While banging out his New Yorker pieces, Zinberg also managed to polish off two hardcover mainstream novels, What D’ya Know for Sure (Doubleday, 1947) and Hold with the Hares (Doubleday, 1948). The first of these (“A tough and tender novel of Hollywood”) was written under the auspices of a 20th Century-Fox Literary Fellowship and released as a less highbrow 1949 Avon paperback, Strange Desires (“a two-way split personality in one beautiful body”).
One marketing strategy to succeed as a professional writer was to invent Steve April, Zinberg’s second pseudonym, and to sell more stories to such markets as Esquire and Colliers. He also wrote text for comic strips such as Ranger Comics (1946) and Fight Comics (1951) and a novel, Exit 13 (Funk and Wagnall’s, 1954). Soon a more lucrative writing opportunity presented itself with the paperback original boom, and the writer “Ed Lacy” was thus born.
There was also a more sinister reason thought to lie behind the creation of Ed Lacy. Zinberg’s attraction to radical politics included his interest in the Communist Party before World War Two. Hold with the Hares, for instance, concerned the 1930s Leftist politics. Zinberg actively supported Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party in the 1948 Presidential election against Truman. He also attended social functions held by the editors of the Communist journal, Masses and Mainstream, during the 1950s and had many left-wing friends. His wife once worked at the radical Yiddish newspaper Freiheit. Ed Lacy became the crime writer. Len Zinberg was the political liberal. The two personas were kept separate even in Lacy’s dustjacket biographies. This was the McCarthy and Cold War age of blacklisted writers. This might also account for Lacy’s dearth of television and movie writing opportunities.
Ed Lacy’s first three mysteries The Woman Aroused (Avon, 1951), Sin in Their Blood (Eton, 1952), and Strip for Violence (Avon, 1953) launched his paperback career. Such lurid titles (“Yes, the title made me grit my teeth, too,” he declared) and the sexy cover art don’t do these books much justice. Much akin to Charles Williams’ “Girl” trilogy brought out by Gold Medal in the early 1950s, these slim Lacy novels in their racy wraps are well written and solidly plotted. By the mid-fifties, Zinberg realized he’d established a strong presence in the paperback original (PBO) market. In 1955, however, he signed with the more prestigious Harper to bring out his hardcover, The Best That Ever Did It, and enjoyed his first solid recognition. The book went into a second printing. The protagonist Barney Harris is a 248-pound auto mechanic/PI based in New York City who is hired by a cop’s widow to root out police corruption and nail her husband’s murderer.
The scrupulous attention paid by such a premier editor as Joan Kahn at Harper showed. This Ed Lacy title snagged plaudits from the picky James Sandoe (“exhibits a suspenseful proceeding”), Anthony Boucher (“lively, ingenious, entertaining”), and The New Yorker (“plot is probably sound enough”). Indeed, Ed Lacy had hit a groove all writers dream about in their careers.
In 1956, he published The Men from the Boys, again with Harper. “Marty Bond, cop, judge, brute, and little god” narrates as a haunted voice from the grave. Overlooking that amazing trick, this novel is a brilliant paean of the 1950s hard-boiled school. New York City’s underbelly as the setting provides a gritty atmosphere. Marty is a multi-dimensional tough guy with a fondness for surf fishing and protecting his stepson Lawrence (a cop wannabe). Between drinking bouts, nursing ulcers, and bedding whores, he investigates such unlikely places as inside a meat locker. The savage street fighting climax had to stun even hardcore Spillane fans. Lacy dedicated the novel to “Carla Jump-Jump,” presumably his daughter. Again, such critics as Sandoe and Boucher raved. Writer Will Oursler blurbed, “It is a vivid, hard-hitting police story – with no punches pulled.”
In 1957 Ed Lacy’s Room to Swing, again from Harper, introduced the first credible African-American PI, Toussaint “Touie” Marcus Moore. MWA liked it enough to award him the 1958 Edgar for Best Novel, beating out Bill Ballinger, Marjorie Carleton, and the Australian novelist Arthur Upfield (whom Ed Lacy admired). Room to Swing’s structure uses an interesting sequence of six sections including flashbacks. Touie deals with the black thing, but his investigation leading to Bingston in backward Ohio outshines his native New York City setting. Touie reflects how “it was a far cleaner world than Harlem, or a big city.” Here also Ed Lacy’s best figurative language (“If he had a cellophane head I couldn’t have seen his little bird brain working any cleaner.”) is worthy of comparison to Chandler’s metaphoric gems. Lacy once met Chandler who he said had the look of a “retired bank manager.”
After praising Room to Swing as having “honesty, vigor, and power,” Boucher threw down the gauntlet to challenge Ed Lacy. “One regrets Mr. Lacy’s habit of creating an excellent detective for one story only; Touie deserves a second case soon.” The renowned critic would have to wait until 1964 with Lacy’s PI sequel, Moment of Untruth. Lacy disliked “series” characters which he found “boring.”
Lacy’s capturing the 1958 Edgar marked the high point of his writing career. He published only two more hardcovers, the not-so-well-received Be Careful How You Live from Harper that same year, and the underrated The Hotel Dwellers (dedicated to his mother, Bea Wyckoff), also from Harper in 1966. His productivity didn’t taper off as he brought out two or three paperbacks every year under such salacious titles as Blonde Bait (Zenith, 1959), The Sex Castle (Paperback Library, 1963), and his last book, The Big Bust (Pyramid, 1969). The 1964 followup Touie Moore novel, Moment of Untruth, might have well been written to recapture the old Edgar magic, but the B-List paperback line Lancer Books, not Harper, brought it out.
Touie Moore’s second saga is a breezier caper to exotic, sweltering Mexico City. Again, the race theme is given ample play with Touie wondering at one point if he “is an Uncle Tom doing the white folks a favor.” He takes a sidetrip to Acapulco (“a playground for the international rich set”) and broods over bullfighting (“the free butchering act”). Back in New York City, Touie’s pregnant wife Fran unnerves him (“Glance around outside, enough ragged brats in the world.”). The usual quirky ancillary characters and snappy dialogue round out the satisfying tale. In the end, Touie, like Ed Lacy, returned home to New York City.
Len Zinberg published 28 novels with an estimate at his death of 28 million copies printed in at least twelve translations including Dutch, Yugoslavian, Japanese, Italian, Russian, and German. His canon also includes dozens of short stories. Lacy’s literate, plausible, and often inventive use of African-American and minority characters sets him apart from the pack of contemporary crime writers. Certainly, his 1958 Edgar represents the apex of his popular and critical success. By his untimely death ten years later, sales of his books had cooled off as fickle reading tastes shifted from straight crime and mystery to Cold War espionage thrillers by Ian Fleming and John Le Carré (whom Ed Lacy admired).
Ed Lacy’s penultimate novel, The Napalm Bugle (Pyramid, 1968) marked his energetic foray into this subgenre. Brad Armstrong, a war hero who edits an anti-war newspaper called “The Napalm Bugle,” is sucked into a suspenseful plot where the H-bomb “is some sort of toy.”
Always a versatile, confident writer, Ed Lacy worked in other forms. Sleep in Thunder (Grosset & Dunlap, 1964) was a young adult title about prejudices faced by Puerto Ricans. One story from a 1974 anthology titled “A Singular Quarry” is borderline science fiction, involving UFOs and “red nightmare” spaceships.
Along with such writers as Bill Pronzini and Dennis Lynds, Lacy contributed stories to Girl from U.N.C.L.E. Magazine and Man from U.N.C.L.E. Magazine (in 1966-67 writing again as Steve April), both projects tie-ins with the popular TV series. His stories appeared in most of the major short fiction markets of his day (AHMM, EQMM, Manhunt, Mike Shayne, Argosy, Esquire, The Saint) with perhaps the notable exception of Playboy. He did contribute fiction to the other “breast mags,” however, including at least one collaboration with a friend.
Ed Lacy’s short stories continued to be reprinted in the Alfred Hitchcock anthologies through the 1970s and into the 1980s. His longtime agent Howard Moorepark (1907-83), whose clients included the poet William Stafford, managed the Lacy literary estate. His name was sometimes misspelled “Ed Lacey.” At least one anthologized story, “Home Free,” was pressed into service as the first four chapters to the subpar 1963 novel, The Sex Castle.
Some of Lacy’s stories are very polished. “Death by the Numbers” in the 1968 MWA anthology is sympathetic toward the African-American characters while depicting the white sheriff as corrupt and venal. That none of his books have been reprinted keeps him from winning over a new generation of readers. His old paperbacks are difficult to hunt down, and on Internet bookseller venues such as eBay the prices are generally bid up.
Today Ed Lacy has his avid fans and admirers. Edgar-winning critic Marv Lachman describes Lacy as “one of the most interesting writers of the paperback originals.” For this profile Ed Gorman focused on specific reasons why Lacy’s Edgar-awarded title enjoys such durability. “Room To Swing remains high on my list of hardboiled mystery novels. There was a lyricism, almost a poetry, to the writing that touched not only the powerful, melancholy storyline but also the elegant and evocative place descriptions. I've always regarded this as a true masterpiece. Certainly, its take on race makes it a milestone, too. But the sociology of it too often overshadows the sad truth of the tale itself. I liked several other Lacy novels very much, too, but Room is the one that got him to heaven.”
Famed New York Times critic Anthony Boucher consistently praised the Lacy projects. Welsh critic and writer John Williams also admired Room to Swing as “a fine, taut piece of crime writing.” Jon L. Breen selected the same title as one of the twenty-five best PI novels ever. Ed Lacy also has his detractors. Jacques Barzun brushed off Lacy who “wrote two dozen stories on the tough and sexy side, one of which – Room to Swing (1957) – received a prize.” Barzun neglects to mention the prize was an Edgar. Sad to report, Ed Lacy’s native New York City shows none of his books in its public library online catalog.
Within the academy, opinions about Lacy seem mixed. Matthew J. Bruccoli has sought to reprint Lacy’s fiction for the New Black Mask series and cites The Best That Ever Did It as possibly his favorite read. Alan Wald ventures an opinion that such Lacy books as In Black and Whitey or Room to Swing might well inspire Ph.D. dissertations. At the same time, Ray B. Browne has written Lacy “is a run-of-the-plot writer with a talent for fast, racy hard-knuckled plots and for language that reads easily and is worth spending a small amount of money or time to obtain and an hour or two in the reading.” Ed Lacy’s papers (seven boxes of mostly galleys and manuscripts) are housed at Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.
By choice and then necessity a commercial writer, Lacy though not a “big money writer” made a respectable living at it. His hurried output at times displays a somewhat uneven quality. Nonetheless, his Harper imprint hardcovers are ambitious, articulate, and original enough to arguably veer into the literary arena. After all, he had cut his teeth in The New Yorker and The New Republic . To his credit, Len Zinberg/Ed Lacy sensibly refused to draw distinctions between genres. “Frankly, I don’t consider the mystery novel on any
higher or lower literary level than any other commercial novel,” he declared. He went on to lump Faulkner and Hemingway in with Spillane and Faith Baldwin as all “commercial” novelists.
Ed Lacy wrote a funny, wise article called “I Dunit” in August 1966 for P.S., the last issue of a non-fiction magazine from Mercury Press. He told of the ins and outs about what it took to be a professional writer. In self-deprecating humor, he pinned his hopes on a stab at a mainstream novel to revive his career, The Hotel Dwellers. He decried the advent of television and arrogance of celebratory writers such as Truman Capote. By the end, he wishes for the good old days when PBOs were riding high. The serious reader can’t but help feel the same tug.
Len Zinberg/Ed Lacy was a gifted storyteller. Above all, he trusted his “common sense” to create the realistic novel with “characterization as important as plot.” When given the necessary time, he did it quite well.
Acknowledgements: The author would like to thank Matthew J. Bruccoli, Ed Gorman, Marv Lachman, Bill Pronzini and Alan Wald for their insights and assistance in the writing of this profile on Ed Lacy.
Baker, Robert A. and Michael T. Nietzel, editors. Private Eyes: One Hundred and One Knights -- A Survey of American Detective Fiction 1922-1984. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Press, 1985. “The First Dark Knight: Toussaint Moore Ed Lacy (Leonard S. Zinberg).”
Balopticon Books & Ephemera. “Magazine Gallery.” (http://www.balopticon.com/magazines.html)
Barzun, Jacques and Wendell Hertiz Taylor, editors. A Catalogue of Crime. New York: Harper & Row, 1989.
Breen, Jon L., and Martin H. Greenberg, editors. Murder Off the Rack: Critical Studies of Ten Paperback Masters. Metuchen, NJ : Scarecrow Press, 1989. “Ed Lacy: Paperback Writer of the Left” by Marv Lachman.
Browne, Roy B. “Ed Lacy: Passage Through Darkness.” Heroes and Humanities: Detective Fiction and Culture. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Press, 1986.
Buhle, Mary Jo, Paul Buhle, and Dan Georgakas, editors. Encyclopedia of the American Left. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Alan Wald contributed the Len Zinberg essay.
Contento, William G. The FictionMags Index. (http://users.ev1.net/~homeville/fiction-mag/0start.htm#ADD)
De Andrea, William. Encyclopedia Mysteriosa. New York: Prentice Hall, 1994.
“Ed Lacy.” TV Tome. (http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet/PersonDetail/personid-119247/Ed_Lacy/)
Ellison, Ralph. “Negro Prize Fighter.” New Masses (December 17, 1940) 37:26-27.
Gorman, Ed, Martin H. Greenberg, Larry Segriff, and Jon L. Breen, editors. The Fine Art of Murder: The Mystery Reader’s Indispensable Companion. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1993.
Grost, Michael E. “Ed Lacy.” A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection. (http://members.aol.com/MG4273/classics.html)
Herbert, Rosemary. “African American Sleuth.” The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Kluger, Steve. Yank, The Army Weekly. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991.
Lacy, Ed. “I Dunit.” P. S. Magazine. August 1966.
“Leonard Zinberg, Wrote As Ed Lacy.” The New York Times Obituaries. January 8, 1968. 35:1
Magill, Frank N., editor. Critical Survey of Mystery and Detective Fiction. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 1988. “Ed Lacy/Leonard S. Zinberg” by Vicki K. Robinson.
Michigan State University Libraries Comic Art Collection Reading Room Index (data from Gene Reed in The Grand Comic Book Database). (www.lib.msu.edu/comics/rri/index.htm)
Muller, Marcia, and Bill Pronzini, editors. 1001 Midnights: The Aficionado’s Guide to Mystery and Detective Fiction. New York: Arbor House, 1986.
Murphy, Bruce F. The Encyclopedia of Murder & Mystery. New York: Minotaur Books, 1999.
Nichols, Lewis. “Boxer Rebellion.” New York Times. December 1, 1944. 28:2.
Niebuhr, Gary Warren. A Reader’s Guide to the Private Eye Novel. New York: G. K. Hall, 1993.
Prudencio De Pereda Papers, 1935-1973. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
Reiley, John M., editor. Twentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers, 2nd Edition. NY: St. Martin’s, 1980. “Ed Lacy” by Marv Lachman.
Skinner, Robert. “Chester Himes and the Birth of the ‘Ethnic’ Detective Story.” Mystery Readers Journal. Volume 14, No. 2 (Fall 1998).
Smith, Kevin Burton. “Beyond Shaft: Black Private Eyes in Fiction.” January Magazine. (http://www.januarymagazine.com/features/aftershaft.html).
U.S. Social Security Death Index. Available at various genealogical web sites.
Wald, Alan. “The Urban Landscape of Marxist Noir.” Crime Time. (http://www.crimetime.co.uk/features/marxistnoir.html).
Williams, John. “Toussaint Marcus Moore.” 100 Great Detectives. Maxim Jakubowski, editor. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1991.
Bibilography- Ed Lacy: Crime Fiction, by Steve Lewis.
Allen J. Hubin’s Crime Fiction IV formed the basis for this list. British and Australian editions have been excluded, nor has any attempt been made to include any of Lacy’s short fiction that would fall into this category. ABE = www.abebooks.com.
1951. The Woman Aroused. Avon; paperback original. Note: Very scarce. Only one copy found on ABE (as new, $50.00).
1952. Sin in Their Blood. Eton; paperback original. Reprint: Macfadden; paperback, 1966.
1953. Strip for Violence. Eton; paperback original. Reprint: Macfadden, paperback, 1965.
1954. Enter Without Desire. Avon; paperback original. Reprint: Macfadden, paperback, 1964.
1954. Go for the Body. Avon; paperback original.
1955. The Best That Ever Did It. Harper & Brothers; hardcover. Reprints: Permabooks, paperback, 1956, as Visa to Death; Macfadden, paperback, 1968, also as Visa to Death.
1956. The Men from the Boys. Harper & Brothers; hardcover. Reprints: Pocket; paperback, 1957; Macfadden, paperback, 1967.
1957. Lead with Your Left. Harper & Brothers; hardcover. Reprints: Permabooks, paperback, 1958; Macfadden, paperback, 1968.
1957. Room to Swing. Harper & Brothers; hardcover. Reprint: Pyramid, 1958. Note: For an Edgar-winner, this book is surprisingly hard to find. One copy of the hardcover edition was found on ABE, and only four copies of various printings of the Pyramid paperback.
1958. Breathe No More, My Lady. Avon; paperback original.
1958. Shakedown for Murder. Avon; paperback original.
1959. Be Careful How You Live. Harper & Brothers; hardcover. Reprint: Pyramid, paperback, 1960, as Dead End.
1959. Blonde Bait. Zenith; paperback original.
1960. The Big Fix. Pyramid; paperback original. Note: Only two copies were found on ABE, neither in superlative condition.
1960. A Deadly Affair. Hillman; paperback original.
1961. Bugged for Murder. Avon; paperback original. Note: Only three copies were found on ABE.
1961. The Freeloaders. Berkley; paperback original. Note: While only one copy is listed on ABE (for $35), I recently won a copy in fine condition on eBay for less than $15.
1961. South Pacific Affair. Belmont; paperback original. Note: Only three copies are listed on ABE.
1963. The Sex Castle. Paperback Library; paperback original. Reprint: Paperback Library; paperback, 1969, as Shoot It Again.
1963. Two Hot to Handle. Paperback Library; paperback original. Contains the two short novels “The Coin of Adventure” and “Murder in Paradise”.
1964. Moment of Untruth. Lancer; paperback original. Reprinted, 1967. Also reprinted by Lodestone Books, paperback, no date.
1965. Harlem Underground. Pyramid; paperback original. Reprinted, 1969.
1965. Pity the Honest. Macfadden; paperback original.
1966. The Hotel Dwellers. Harper & Row; hardcover. [Marginal crime content.] No paperback edition.
1967. Double Trouble. Lancer 1967; paperback original.
1967. In Black & Whitey. Lancer; paperback original. Reprinted, 1969.
1968. The Napalm Bugle. Pyramid; paperback original.
1969. The Big Bust. Pyramid; paperback original.
This article first appeared in Mystery*File 45, August 2004.
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