Evan Hunter

Evan Hunter books and biography


Evan Hunter

Evan Hunter in March 2001
Pseudonym: Ed McBain, S. A. Lombino, Hunt Collins, Curt Cannon, Richard Marsten, Ezra Hannon, John Abbott
Born: October 15, 1926
New York, New York
Died: July 6, 2005
Weston, Connecticut
Occupation: Novelist, short story writer, screenwriter
Nationality: Flag of United States American
Writing period:
1951 - 2005
Genres: Crime fiction, mystery fiction, science fiction
Debut works: Short story: "Welcome Martians" (as S.A. Lombino) (1951)
Novel: Find The Feathered Serpent (1952)

Evan Hunter, born Salvatore Albert Lombino (October 15, 1926 – July 6, 2005), was a prolific American author and screenwriter. Though he was a successful and well-known writer using the Evan Hunter name (a name he legally adopted in 1952), he was perhaps even better known as Ed McBain, a name he used for most of his crime fiction beginning in 1956.



Early years

Evan Hunter was born and raised as Salvatore Lombino in New York City, living in East Harlem until the age of 12, at which point his family moved to the Bronx. He attended Olinville Junior High School, then Evander Childs High School before winning an Art Students League scholarship. Later, he was admitted as an art student at Cooper Union.

Lombino served in the Navy in World War II, writing several early short stories while serving aboard a destroyer in the Pacific. However, none of these stories were published until after he had established himself as an author in the 1950s.

After the war, Lombino returned to New York and studied at Hunter College, majoring in English, with minors in dramatics and education. He published a weekly column in the Hunter College newspaper as "S.A. Lombino".

While looking to start a career as a writer, Lombino took a variety of jobs, including 17 days as a teacher at Bronx Vocational High School in September 1950. This experience would later form the basis for his 1954 novel The Blackboard Jungle.

In 1951, Lombino took a job as an Executive Editor for the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, working with authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, P.G. Wodehouse, Lester del Rey, Poul Anderson, and Richard S. Prather, amongst others. The same year, made his first professional short-story sale, a science-fiction tale entitled "Welcome Martians", credited to S.A. Lombino.

Name change and pen names

Soon after his initial short-story sale, Lombino started selling stories under the pen names "Evan Hunter" and "Hunt Collins". The name "Evan Hunter" is generally believed to have been derived from two schools he attended, Evander Childs High School and Hunter College, although the author himself would never confirm that. (He did confirm that the name "Hunt Collins" was derived from Hunter College.)

Lombino legally changed his name to Evan Hunter in May 1952, after an editor told him that a novel he wrote would sell more copies if credited to "Evan Hunter" than it would if it were credited to "S.A. Lombino". Thereafter, he used the name Evan Hunter both personally and professionally.

As Evan Hunter, he wrote books such as The Blackboard Jungle (1954), Come Winter (1973), and Lizzie (1984). He wrote the original screenplay of the 1963 film The Birds for Alfred Hitchcock.

Hunter also wrote a great deal of crime fiction and was advised by his agents that publishing too much fiction under the Hunter by-line, or publishing any crime fiction as Evan Hunter, might weaken his literary reputation. As a consequence, during the 1950s Hunter used the pseudonyms Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins, and Richard Marsten for much of his crime fiction. His most famous pseudonym, Ed McBain, debuted in 1956 with the first novel in the 87th Precinct crime series.

Hunter himself publicly revealed in 1958 that he was McBain, but he continued to use that pseudonym for several decades—most notably for the 87th Precinct series, and for the Matthew Hope series of novels.

By about 1960, Hunter had retired the pen names of Cannon, Marsten, and Collins. From this point on, crime novels were generally attributed to McBain and other sorts of fiction to Hunter. Reprints of crime-oriented stories and novels written in the 1950s previously attributed to other psuedonyms were issued under the McBain byline. Hunter stated that the division of names allowed readers to know what to expect: McBain novels had a consistent writing style, while Hunter novels were more varied.

In 2000, a novel called Candyland appeared that was credited to both Hunter and McBain. The two-part novel opened in Hunter's psychologically-based narrative voice before switching to McBain's customary police procedural style.

Aside from McBain, Hunter used at least two other pseudonyms after 1960. The 1975 novel Doors was originally attributed to Ezra Hannon, before being reissued as a work by McBain, and the 1992 novel Scimitar was credited to John Abbott.


Hunter died of cancer of the larynx in 2005 at the age of 78 in Weston, Connecticut. He had three sons, one of whom, Richard Hunter, is considered one of the world's leading harmonica virtuosos.

Bibliography as Evan Hunter

The Blackboard Jungle paperback cover
The Blackboard Jungle paperback cover


  • The Evil Sleep! (1952)
  • Don't Crowd Me (1953)
  • The Blackboard Jungle (novel) (1954)
  • Second Ending (1956)
  • Strangers When We Meet (1958)
  • A Matter of Conviction (1959)
  • Mothers And Daughters (1961)
  • Buddwing (1964)
  • The Paper Dragon (1966)
  • A Horse's Head (1967)
  • Last Summer (novel) (1968)
  • Sons (1969)
  • Nobody Knew They Were There (1971)
  • Every Little Crook And Nanny (1972)
  • Come Winter (1973)
  • Streets Of Gold (1974)
  • The Chisholms: A Novel Of The Journey West (1976)
  • Walk Proud (1979)
  • Love, Dad (1981)
  • Far From The Sea (1983)
  • Lizzie (1984)
  • Criminal Conversation (1994)
  • Privileged Conversation (1996)
  • Candyland (2000) (Credited to Evan Hunter and Ed McBain)
  • The Moment She Was Gone (2002)

Short stories

  • The Jungle Kids (Short Stories) (1956)
  • On The Sidewalk Bleeding (1957)
  • The Last Spin & Other Stories (1960)
  • Happy New Year, Herbie (1963)
  • The Easter Man (a Play) And Six Stories (1972)
  • Seven (novel)(1972)
  • The McBain Brief (Short Stories) (1982)
  • The Best American Mystery Stories (2000)
  • Barking at Butterflies & Other Stories (2000)
  • Running from Legs(2000)


  • The Easter Man (1964)
  • The Conjuror (1969)


  • Note: his novel King's Ransom was adapted for High and Low (1963) by Akira Kurosawa
  • Strangers When We Meet (1960)
  • The Birds (1963)
  • Fuzz (1972)
  • Walk Proud (1979)


  • The Chisholms (1979)
  • The Legend Of Walks Far Woman (1980)
  • Dream West (1986)

Children's books

  • Find The Feathered Serpent (1952)
  • The Remarkable Harry (1959)
  • The Wonderful Button (1961)
  • Me And Mr. Stenner (1965


  • Me & Hitch! (1997)
  • Let's Talk (2005)

Bibliography as Ed McBain


One of Evan Hunter's early novels, originally published as by 'Curt Cannon,' then revised and reissued under the Ed McBain name in 2005
One of Evan Hunter's early novels, originally published as by 'Curt Cannon,' then revised and reissued under the Ed McBain name in 2005
  • The Big Fix (1952)
  • The April Robin Murders (with Craig Rice) (1958)
  • Death of a Nurse (1964) (Originally published in 1955 as Murder in the Navy by Richard Marsten)
  • The Sentries (1965)
  • Where There's Smoke (1975)
  • Doors (1975) (initially credited to Ezra Hannon, later reissued as by Ed McBain)
  • Guns (1976)
  • Another Part of the City (1986)
  • Downtown (1991)
  • Driving Lessons (2000)
  • Candyland (2000) (Credited to Evan Hunter and Ed McBain)
  • The Gutter and the Grave (2005) (revised edition of I'm Cannon - For Hire, originally published as by Curt Cannon)

The 87th Precinct mysteries

  • Cop Hater (1956)
  • The Mugger (1956)
  • The Pusher (1956)
  • The Con Man (1957)
  • Killer's Choice (1957)
  • Killer's Payoff (1958)
  • Lady Killer (1958)
  • Killer's Wedge (1959)
  • 'til Death (1959)
  • King's Ransom (1959)
  • Give the Boys a Great Big Hand (1960)
  • The Heckler (1960)
  • See Them Die (1960)
  • Lady, Lady I Did It (1961)
  • The Empty Hours (1962)
  • Like Love (1962)
  • Ten Plus One (1963)
  • Ax (1964)
  • He Who Hesitates (1964)
  • Doll (1965)
  • 80 Million Eyes (1966)
  • Fuzz (1968)
  • Shotgun (1969)
  • Jigsaw (1970)
  • Hail, Hail the Gang's All Here (1971)
  • Let's Hear It for the Deaf Man (1972)
  • Sadie When She Died (1972)
  • Hail to the Chief (1973)
  • Bread (1974)
  • Blood Relatives (1975)
  • So Long as You Both Shall Live (1976)
  • Long Time No See (1977)
  • Calypso (1979)
  • Ghosts (1980)
  • Heat (1981)
  • Ice (1983)
  • Lightning (1984)
  • Eight Black Horses (1985)
  • Poison (1987)
  • Tricks (1987)
  • McBain's Ladies (Short Stories) (1988)
  • Lullaby (1989)
  • Vespers (1990)
  • Widows (1991)
  • McBain's Ladies, Too (Short Stories) (1992)
  • Kiss (1992)
  • Mischief (1993)
  • And All Through the House (1994)
  • Romance (1995)
  • Nocturne (1997)
  • The Big Bad City (1999)
  • The Last Dance (2000)
  • Money, Money, Money (2001)
  • Fat Ollie's Book (2002)
  • The Frumious Bandersnatch (2003)
  • Hark! (2004)
  • Fiddlers (2005)

The Matthew Hope mysteries

  • Goldilocks (novel) (1978)
  • Rumpelstiltskin (novel) (1981)
  • Beauty & The Beast (1982)
  • Jack & The Beanstalk (1984)
  • Snow White & Red Rose (1985)
  • Cinderella (novel) (1986)
  • Puss in Boots (novel) (1987)
  • The House that Jack Built (novel) (1988)
  • Three Blind Mice (novel) (1990)
  • Mary, Mary (Evan Hunter novel) (1992)
  • There was a little girl (1994)
  • Gladly the cross-eyed bear (1996)
  • The Last Best Hope (1998)

The Woman in Jeopardy mysteries

  • Alice in Jeopardy (2005)
  • Becca in Jeopardy (Near completion at the time of Hunter's death. Completion by a third party and subsequent publication still undetermined)

Bibliography (Various)

as Curt Cannon

  • Deadlier than the Mail (story) (1953)
  • Good Deal (story) (1953)
  • Dead Men Don't Scream (story) (1958)
  • The Death of Me (story) (1958)
  • Die Hard (story) (1958)
  • I'm Cannon - For Hire (novel) (1958)
  • Now Die in It (story) (1958)
  • I Like 'Em Tough (short stories) (1958)

as Richard Marsten

(Hunter has acknowledged that the name Richard Marsten was derived from the names of his sons Richard, Mark, and Ted.)

  • Danger: Dinosaurs! (1953)
  • Rocket To Luna! (1953)
  • Runaway Black! (1954) (Republished as by Ed McBain)
  • Murder in the Navy (1955) (Republished in 1964 as Death of a Nurse by Ed McBain)
  • Vanishing Ladies! (1957) (Republished as by Ed McBain)
  • The Spiked Heel! (1957)
  • Even The Wicked! (1958) (Republished as by Ed McBain)
  • Big Man! (1959) (Republished as by Ed McBain)

as Hunt Collins

  • Cut Me In (1954)
  • Tomorrow's World (novel) (1956)
  • Tomorrow And Tomorrow (1957, republished by Sphere as by Ed McBain)
  • Sucker (novel) (1958)

as Ezra Hannon

  • Doors (novel) (1975)

as John Abbott

  • Scimitar (novel) (1992)

Complete chronological bibliography

to be written

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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