Talmage Powell (also wrote as Robert Hart Davis, Robert Henry, Milton T. Lamb, Milton Land, Jack McCready, Anne Talmage; ghosted a number of Ellery Queen novels ). Born in Henderson, North Carolina, 1920. Died in Asheville, North Carolina, 2000.
Talmage Powell was a prolific crime writer who wrote nearly 500 short stories, as well as 20 novels, five of which feature private detective Ed Rivers.
Powell sold his first short story to the pulps in 1943. He wrote for a variety of genres–detective, hero, weird menace, western, and western romance. Some of the many pulps he wrote for included Dime Detective, The Shadow, Dime Mystery, Fifteen Western Tales, and Ranch Romances. He wrote more than 200 stories for the pulps throughout the 1940s and early 1950s. When the pulps died out in the early 50s, Powell wrote more than 300 stories for top-flight crime digests such as Manhunt, Guilty, Trapped, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.
In 1959, Powell wrote The Killer Is Mine, his first novel featuring Tampa-based private detective Ed Rivers. Rivers is in his early forties, is 6 feet tall, and weighs 190 pounds. As for his face, he admits he doesn’t have the prettiest puss in the business:
“Women either get a charge from the face or want to run from it. Men fear it or trust it to the hilt.”
Rivers carries a .38, as well as a knife in a sheath at the nape of his neck. He has a friend and ally in the police department named Steve Ivey. Ed is tough but human, and starting with the third novel, With A Madman Behind Me (1961), Rivers begins taking on some of the knightly traits of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. In that story, Rivers tracks down the killer of a strangled girl and breaks up a porno ring. In Start Screaming Murder (1962), Rivers befriends midget singer Tina La Flor, and investigates the murder of a brute named Bucks Jordan. Corpus Delectable (1964) takes place during the annual Gasparilla Festival–Tampa’s version of the Mardi Gras. Throughout the series, Powell does an excellent job evoking the seedy atmosphere of slum-like areas in Tampa.
Powell wrote four books for the long-running Ellery Queen series: Murder With A Past (1963), Beware the Young Stranger(1965), Where Is Bianca? (1966), and Who Spies, Who Kills? (1967). He wrote novelizations for tv’s Mission: Impossible, as well, and nearly ten stand-alone novels.