Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Waugh graduated in 1942 from Yale, majoring in art with a music minor. He was an editor of campus humor magazine The Yale Record. During his senior year at Yale, Waugh enlisted in the United States Navy Air Corps and, after graduation, received his aviator's wings. He served in Panama for two years, flying various types of aircraft. While in military service, Waugh turned his hand to creative writing, completing and publishing his first novel Madam Will Not Dine Tonight in 1947. He quickly published two more novels, but they were not very well received.
In 1949, as the result of reading a case book on true crime, Waugh decided to explore a realistic crime novel. With the cooperation of his fiancée, who was a student at Smith College, Waugh set his police procedural Last Seen Wearing ... in a fictional women's college. Published in 1952, the book was a significant success and is now considered a pioneering effort exploring relentless police work and attention to detail.
After Last Seen Wearing..., Waugh went on to publish more than thirty-five additional detective novels, many aptly described as "hardboiled". Pseudonyms include "Elissa Grandower," "Harry Walker" and "H. Baldwin Taylor."
Waugh married Diana Taylor, and the couple had three children. Waugh died on December 8, 2008.
- Yale Banner. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1942. p. 96.
- Obituary in the New York Times
- AP Obituary in the Hartford Courant
- Obituary in The Telegraph
- Obituary in The Guardian
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