Gordon McAlpine is the Edgar Award nominated author of numerous acclaimed novels, including the literary mysteries, Holmes Entangled, Woman with a Blue Pencil, and, under the pen name Owen Fitzstephen, Hammett Unwritten and The Big Man’s Daughter. He is also the author of an award winning trilogy of novels for middle grade readers, “The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe”. He has published short fiction in journals and anthologies both in the U.S.A and abroad. A graduate of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at U.C. Irvine, he taught for many years at Chapman University in Orange, California.
In May 2020 Seventh Street Books published The Big Man’s Daughter, which received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and elsewhere and was described by The New Thrilling Detective Website as “…not a detective novel, or even a mystery, really, but a heady brew all the same; a ballsy, carefully assembled and psychologically sharp read that tears into the guts of what it’s like to be young, scared and not sure where you’re going. Or where exactly you’ve been.” In March 2018 Seventh Street Books published McAlpine’s Holmes Entangled, which Booklist, in a starred review, called “a fascinating read, smart and entertaining…” In 2015, Seventh Street Books published the Edgar nominated Woman With a Blue Pencil, about which Publishers Weekly wrote in a starred review: “McAlpine’s greatest accomplishment is that the book works both as a conventional mystery story and as a deconstruction of the genre’s ideology: whichever strand readers latch on to, the parallel stories pack a brutal punch.” Joyce Carol Oates wrote that Woman with a Blue Pencil is a novel, “that Kafka, Borges, and Nabokov, as well as Dashiell Hammett, would have appreciated.”
In 2013, Seventh Street Books published Hammett Unwritten to equally enthusiastic reviews. The Gumshoe Review wrote: “Hammett Unwritten raises questions about the nature of fiction and those who create it that will stay with you long after you finish the book.” Paste Magazine raved: “Hammett Unwritten accomplishes the next-best thing to writing the unwritten–it satisfies the insatiable longing for another Dashiell Hammett novel… In a way far more satisfying than the truth could ever be, it answers the nagging question of why Hammett never wrote another book… [It] gives his life the hard-boiled second act it most certainly deserved.”
Between 2013 – 2015, Viking published McAlpine’s middle grade (ages 9-12) trilogy of novels, “The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe”, which consists of The Tell-Tale Start (2013), Once Upon a Midnight Eerie (2014), and The Pet and the Pendulum (2015). Publishers Weekly referred to the series in a starred review as “Entertaining and original…Endlessly fun and ultimately very satisfying on every level.” The audio version of The Tell-Tale Start was selected as Audible.com’s Best Children’s Book, 2013.
The Los Angeles Times called Mr. McAlpine’s first novel, Joy in Mudville (1989), an “imaginative mix of history, humor and fantasy…fanciful and surprising”, and The West Coast Review of Books called it “a minor miracle.” Joy in Mudville was re-released in 2012.
The Way of Baseball, Finding Stillness at 95 MPH (2011), McAlpine’s best selling first book of non-fiction, was written in collaboration with Major League All-Star Shawn Green and was published by Simon and Schuster to outstanding reviews.
McAlpine’s other novels include The Persistence of Memory (1998), and Mystery Box (2003).
He is a member of the Author’s Guild, PEN USA, The Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. He lives in Southern California with his wife Julie and their always-glad-to-see-you dogs, Finnegan and Diego.
Author photo © Adrian Kinloch