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E.V. Cunningham Books In Order

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The Case of the Angry Actress / Samantha (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Case of the One-Penny Orange (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Case of the Russian Diplomat (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Case of the Poisoned Eclairs (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Case of the Sliding Pool (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Case of the Kidnapped Angel (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Case of the Murdered Mackenzie (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Masuto Investigates (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The American author Howard Melvin Fast, who also went under the pen-names E.V. Cunningham and Walter Ericson, managed to gain himself a strong and impressive legacy during his lifetime, with not just a long string of literary titles, but a number of Hollywood films inspired by his work as well. Writing for the television too, he had a very visual style that engaged the reader, along with his characters that allowed everyone to root for them, resonating well with his audience. Many of the books he wrote under the E.V. Cunningham title were comprised of women’s names such as ‘Sylvia’, along with his highly popular Masao Masuto Mysteries franchise too.

Early and Personal Life

Growing up in New York City to his mother Ida (nee Miller) who was a British immigrant, and his father, Barney Fast, who was a Ukrainian immigrant who’d had his name shortened from Fastovsky following his arrival in America, Howard Fast was born on the eleventh of November in 1914. After his mother died in 1923 and his father was made unemployed, he went on to sell newspapers with Jerome his older brother. It was during his time working part-time for the New York Public Library that he really got into reading and writing, as he would read voraciously during his time working there.

Starting to write from an early age though, he went on to travel extensively for some time, as he went hitch-hiking and riding railroads all across the United States, gaining experience and undertaking a variety of odd jobs, all the while managing to write his first novel which was to be titled Two Valleys. Taking in all the sights and sounds, he brought a wealth of knowledge into his writing that really allowed him to develop his voice as an author. This then let him become a more adept writer as well, which in turn enabled him to carry on writing as he settled into his style and overall tone.

It was then in 1943 that he was to join the Communist Party of the United States of America after spending the duration of World War Two working for United States Office of War Information where he wrote for the Voice of America, the official broadcast institute of the federal government of the United States. Then in 1950 he was called before the House Committee of Un-American Activities where he refused to disclose the names of contributors to a charity for American veterans. During his three month jail sentence he started work on his famous novel Spartacus, which was also to be made a film using the screenplay adaptation penned by Dalton Trumbo, another blacklisted writer of the time.

Marrying his first wife, Bette Cohen, on the sixth of June in 1937, they then went on to have two children, Rachel and Jonathan. After his wife died in 1994 he then remarried in 1999 to Mercedes O’Connor who he remained with until his death in 2003 at the age of 88. Leaving behind a long and extensive legacy, his son Jonathan Fast was also a novelist who married influential feminist author Erica Jong, as they had their child Molly Jong-Fast, who also became a famous author as well.

Writing Career

It was in 1933 that he published his first novel Two Valleys, which he brought out when he was just eighteen. With a strong interest in American history he then went on to create a fictional account of the life of Thomas Paine in 1943, which was his first popular and successful novel. This interest also helped inspire him to write The Last Frontier based on the Cheyennes Indians, a novel which was adapted into the 1964 film Cheyenne Autumn.

Not only a novelist he wrote for the screen as well, producing various television scripts such as ‘How the West Was Won’ which started in 1976. He also maintained strong ties with the Communist party writing for their publication The Daily Worker, until his break from the party in the late fifties over the conditions of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe. Writing until his death in 2003 on the 12th of March, he left behind him a strong legacy, along with a number of family members who also became famous writers in their own right.


Originally published in 1962 through the New English Library Ltd publishing label, this was an early edition from Howard Fast under his E.V. Cunningham moniker. Whilst it is a work that’s undeniably his, it still carries a certain weight and style all of its very own that really makes it stand-out. The characters are iconic in their own right, as Fast manages to bring them to life on the page, giving the reader an even greater level of depth.

Following the story of Phyllis Goldmark it tells of how Tom Clancy, a former physicist, seeks to gain her confidence over the course of novel. There are two men meeting at an international conference and they may or may not have atomic bombs, something which Tom Clancy aims to find out in his capacity a police officer. It soon transpires that the two of them are in danger and it is then a race against the clock to find out the truth behind the bombs. Will they find the weapons in time? Can they survive to tell the tale? What will become of Phyllis?

The Case of the Sliding Pool

Making up the fifth book in his much beloved Masao Masuto franchise, this was first published in 1982 through the Delacorte Press publishing label. Whilst it follows in much the same vein as before giving the readers more of what they want, it also has plenty of twists and turns of its own. It also manages to recapture the style and the tone that made the original instalments so successful as a series.

The American Japanese detective Masao Masuto takes to the streets of Beverly Hills once again to solve his latest case. Uncovering a thirty year old murder it appears that someone wants to keep the investigation buried and will do whatever it takes to keep it that way. With a murderer soon on the loose, it is up to Masuto to solve the case and finally put it to rest where it belongs. Will he find the killer in time? Can he survive? What is the truth behind the case of the sliding pool?

Book Series In Order » Authors » E.V. Cunningham

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