Joe Gores: Mystery writer and former San Francisco private investigator

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Joe Gores, who died on 10 January aged 79, was a mystery writer and former San Francisco private investigator whose books included Hammett, Come Morning and Spade & Archer.

Gores wrote 16 novels and three collections of stories during a career of more than 40 years, many centred round a fictional San Francisco detective agency. He is probably best known for Spade & Archer: The Prequel to Dashiell Hammett's 'The Maltese Falcon', published in 2009. He also wrote scripts for the television shows Kojak and Columbo.

Born on Christmas Day 1931 in Rochester, Minnesota, Gores graduated in English from Notre Dame and received a Masters from Stanford, after which he worked for 12 years as a private investigator, a job from which he drew great inspiration for his writing career (the agency for which he worked was David Kikkert and Associates; the fictional agency was "Dan Kearney and Associates").

Gores' first novel, A Time of Predators, about a Stanford professor turned commando, won the Edgar Award for best first novel when it was published in 1969. He went on to win two more Edgars, for Best Short Story and Best TV Series Segment, for an episode of Kojak, making him one of only three writers to win Edgars in three separate categories.