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John Franklin Bardin Books In Order

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Publication Order of Dr. George Matthews Books

The Deadly Percheron (1946)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Last of Philip Banter (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Mayberry / Bradley Books

as Gregory Tree
The Case Against Myself (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
The case Against Butterfly (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Devil Take the Blue-tail Fly (1948)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Burning Glass (1950)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Shroud for Grandmama / The Longstreet Legacy (As: Gregory Tree) (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
So Young to Die (As: Gregory Tree) (1953)Description / Buy at Amazon
Christmas Comes but Once a Year (1954)Description / Buy at Amazon
Purloining Tiny (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon

About John Franklin Bardin

The distinguished American mystery novelist, John Franklin Bardin, was a man whose life story began in Cincinnati, Ohio, as he would go on to write a wealth of crime fiction during his lifetime. In his teenage years, he faced the unfortunate loss of most of his close family members to different diseases. With the resilience of spirit, though, he persevered and bravely persevered, leaving behind a powerful legacy.

As he neared his thirties, John embarked on a brand new journey, relocating to the bustling city of New York. Here is where his adulthood was abloom with intriguing experiences working as a high-level manager in an advertising firm. He didn’t just sit at his desk all day, though. His charm and ingenuity effortlessly flowed into his creative pursuits.

Amidst this colorful life, he penned ten captivating novels, charming readers with intriguing characters sparkled into life from the page, along with narratives that were truly engaging. Adding more feathers to his cap, he took up teaching. He shared his expertise in crafting compelling stories by teaching creative writing and advertising at the renowned New School for Social Research.

His writing skills came alive not just in the creation of entertaining tales, but also in nurturing the talent of future writers and creative professionals.

Early and Personal Life

John Franklin Bardin, a renowned American mystery writer, was born on November 30, 1916, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Unfortunately, he faced numerous tragedies during his youth, losing most of his immediate family to various illnesses. Despite these hardships, Bardin’s determination remained unyielding.

After graduating from Walnut Hills High School, Bardin pursued engineering at the University of Cincinnati. However, financial constraints compelled him to leave and find employment. He took on diverse roles, including a ticket-taker and bouncer at a roller-skating rink and a night clerk at a bookstore, where he immersed himself in reading to expand his knowledge. During visits to his mother, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, Bardin gleaned insights that would later shape his novel, ‘Devil Take the Blue-Tail Fly.’

Moving to New York City before reaching the age of thirty, Bardin eventually found himself working at the prestigious ad agency Edwin Bird Wilson, Inc. It was during this time that he crafted three novels, which would become his claim to fame: ‘The Last of Philip Banter,’ ‘The Deadly Percheron,’ and ‘Devil Take the Blue-Tail Fly.’ These publications, released within a span of 18 months, showcased Bardin’s unique ability to fashion compelling characters and enthralling storylines. Over his lifetime, he authored a total of ten novels.

In addition to his writing career, Bardin took up teaching at the New School for Social Research, enlightening aspiring writers and advertising enthusiasts with his extensive knowledge. He also ventured into magazine editing and contributed various articles to publications such as The Nation. Despite juggling multiple responsibilities, Bardin consistently demonstrated a flair for captivating storytelling and engaging narratives.

Living in New York City’s East Village, Bardin continued to write until his passing on July 9, 1981, at Beth Israel Medical Center. He left behind a legacy of intriguing novels and a second wife, Phyllida, who survived him. John Franklin Bardin’s talent for creating riveting tales and crafting memorable characters ensured his enduring presence in the world of mystery fiction.

Writing Career

John Franklin Bardin’s early crime novels garnered limited attention upon release, but have since acquired a devoted following, earning commendation as cult classics. Undeterred, Bardin continued to write under various pen names, crafting engaging works that, while they adhered to the crime genre, captivated readers. Meanwhile, his own-name novels elicited a range of responses, from experimental intrigue to sentimental reflections.

The turning point arrived when Bardin’s standout works – ‘The Deadly Percheron,’ ‘Devil Take the Blue-Tail Fly,’ and ‘The Last of Philip Banter,’ – experienced a remarkable resurgence among British readers during the 1970s. Recognizing their enduring appeal, Julian Symons, an esteemed mystery writer, thoughtfully compiled these novels into an omnibus collection, going above and beyond to track down the enigmatic Bardin. Eventually, Bardin was located, diligently editing a magazine for the American Bar Association in vibrant Chicago.

In ‘The Deadly Percheron,’ readers are immersed in a psychiatrist’s enthralling encounter with a patient grappling with peculiar beliefs and a labyrinthine web of alternate identities that dynamically alters both their lives. ‘The Last of Philip Banter’ evokes a sense of intrigue as unsettling predictions disrupt a man’s existence, inexorably shaping his reality. ‘Devil Take the Blue-Tail Fly,’ lauded as Bardin’s most illustrious work, delves into the fragile psyche of Ellen, a mental patient, amidst a mesmerizing narrative that subtly explores the human psyche.

Inspired by literary luminaries such as Graham Greene, Henry James, and Henry Green, Bardin’s narrative prowess extends beyond the written word. Notably, the film ‘Mona Lisa’ prominently features a character engrossed in Bardin’s ‘The Deadly Percheron,’ igniting insightful conversations steeped in the novel’s poignant themes. Further underscoring his influence, the Library of Congress cites the ‘John Franklin Bardin Omnibus’ as an exemplar of an author’s name integral to a copyrighted book title.

Testifying to his enduring legacy, ‘The Last of Philip Banter’ was successfully adapted into a cinematic gem in 1986, directed and co-written by the talented Hervé Hachuel, featuring an exceptional ensemble cast that included the esteemed Tony Curtis.

The Last of Philip Banter

‘The Last of Philip Banter,’ a riveting mystery crime novel authored by John Franklin Bardin, was published by Penguin Books in 1947. Esteemed for its compelling storytelling, this literary gem went on to receive the prestigious Martin Beck Award in 1976, further solidifying its status as a remarkable work in the genre.

An adman named Philip stumbles upon a disconcerting manuscript that intertwines past and future events. To his dismay, he soon realizes that the prophetic future portion of the manuscript begins to materialize, causing great distress.

The Deadly Percheron

John Franklin Bardin’s gripping crime noir, ‘The Deadly Percheron,’ was published in 1946 by Centipede Press. Later editions of the book include a notable introduction penned by acclaimed writer Jonathan Lethem, adding depth and additional perspective to this captivating work.

A psychiatrist ventures into the perplexing realm of amnesia and societal outcasts while seeking to aid his patient. Amidst the intriguing backdrop of a murder mystery, this extraordinary work also weaves a poignant love story that ventures into unsettling and hallucinatory territories, exploring themes of memory, madness, and despair.

Book Series In Order » Authors » John Franklin Bardin

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