Eric Wright, Canadian crime writer, Died at 86

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Eric Wright, born on May 4, 1929, and passed away October 9, 2015, Eric was a professor and Canadian writer of mystery novels.

Eric was born on Kennington Park Road, in South London, England.

He is the son of seamstress Caroline (Curnow), and carter Joseph Wright.

Eric was born into a large poor family of ten children. After growing up in Lambeth, he immigrated to Canada in 1951.

Eric attended the University of Manitoba, completing his B.A. in 1957, and received his M.A. in 1963 from University of Toronto.

Until his retirement Eric taught English at Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto (1958–89). Eric most recently lived in Toronto, Ontario with his wife and two daughters.

Eric Wright is the author of four mystery/detective series-the Inspector Charlie Salter Mysteries, the Lucy Trimble Brenner Mysteries, the Mel Pickett Mysteries, and the Joe Barley Mysteries-as well as a memoir Always Give a Penny to a Blind Man which covers most of Eric’s life from when he was a child growing up poor in working-class London through his immigration to Canada and the beginning of his attendance at University.

It is said that his “early life experiences contributed to his…gift for fiction”.

Over the years Eric has built up an international reputation among mystery lovers.

Eric has also written, to date, two stand-alone novels, Moodie’s Tale and Finding Home, the novella “Dempsey’s Lodge”, and a short story “Twins”.

Eric is best known for his series of police procedurals featuring Metropolitan Toronto police inspector Charlie Salter.

The Charlie Salter Mysteries are “noteworthy for Wright’s lucid and agreeably laconic style”.

The first Charlie Salter book, The Night the Gods Smiled, won the Arthur Ellis Award, the John Creasey Award, and the City of Toronto Book Award.

Eric ‘s books have won numerous other awards over the years. Four of his novels have been awarded the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel.

Among them The Night the Gods Smiled also received the 1984 City of Toronto Book Award, and Britain’s John Creasy Memorial Award for best crime drama.

The Inspector Charlie Salter Mysteries Smoke Detector and Death in the Old Country, and the Joe Barley Mystery The Kidnapping of Rosie Dawn also received the Arthur Ellis Award.

In 1998, Eric received the Derrick Murdoch Award for lifetime contributions to Canadian crime writing.

The Kidnapping of Rosie Dawn went on to be nominated for an Edgar Award.

In a book review of Eric ’s novel Moodie’s Tale, Eric was described as having “created a protagonist who can conduct the reader through the convoluted maze of academic life”.

Moodie’s Tale (1994) follows the adventurous career of a young Cambridge graduate with an M.A. from Simcoe University.

It has been said that “it would not be all that surprising… if Moodie’s Tale became an underground handbook for anyone contemplating-or currently enmeshed in – an academic career”.

On October 9, 2015, Eric Wright died of kidney cancer at the age of 86.

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