Mickey Spillane

International Herald Tribuneの記事;

Obituary: Mickey Spillane, 88, wrote Mike Hammer detective novels
By Richard Severo The New York Times

Mickey Spillane, 88, the creator of Mike Hammer, that heroic but frequently sadistic private detective who blasted his way through some of the most violent novels of the 1940s and '50s, died Monday at his home in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

Spillane's wife, Jane, told The Sun News in Myrtle Beach that Spillane had had cancer, The Associated Press reported.

Scorned by many critics for his artless plots, his reliance on unlikely coincidence and a simplistic understanding of the law, Spillane nonetheless gained instant success with his first novel, "I, the Jury," published in 1947. He cemented his popularity over the next few years with books like "Vengeance Is Mine," "My Gun Is Quick," "The Big Kill" and "Kiss Me, Deadly," which in 1955, with Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer, became the best of the several movies based on his books.

As the books kept coming, some critics softened. The Times Literary Supplement of London described his 1961 novel, "The Deep," as "nasty" but nevertheless exhibiting "a genuine narrative grip."

Spillane referred to his own material as "the chewing gum of American literature" and laughed at the critics. "I'm not writing for the critics," he said. "I'm writing for the public."

Spillane's most famous hero became the protagonist of two successful television series. The first, "Mike Hammer," with Darren McGavin, ran from 1956 to 1959. "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer," with Stacy Keach, ran from 1984 to 1987. Keach also starred in "Mike Hammer, Private Eye," from 1997 to 1998.

"I have no fans," Spillane once said. "You know what I got? Customers. And customers are your friends."

His customers remained loyal even after the Hammer character became much imitated, and as later generations of pulp writers produced books filled with even more violence than Spillane's.

Spillane's mother was a Presbyterian and his father a Catholic. When he was coming into his own as a writer, Spillane liked to say that he had been "christened in two churches and neither took."

But in 1951, he became a Jehovah's Witness, and he persuaded his mother and his first wife to convert. Instead of writing, he spent most of his time going door to door, spreading the message of the Bible. He wrote no books from 1952 to 1961, and those he wrote later, some fans said, lacked the vintage sadism of the first five, in which a total of 48 people were killed.