Richard S. Prather

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Richard S. Prather: 1964 Trident Press publicity photo

Richard Scott Prather (September 9, 1921 – February 14, 2007[1]) was an American mystery novelist, best known for creating the "Shell Scott" series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms David Knight and Douglas Ring.

Biography[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

Prather was born in Santa Ana, California and spent a year at Riverside Junior College (now Riverside Community College). He served in the United States Merchant Marine during World War II, from 1942 through the end of the war in 1945. That year he married Tina Hager and began working as a civilian chief clerk of surplus property at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California. He left that job to become a full-time writer in 1949. The first Shell Scott mystery, "Case of the Vanishing Beauty" was published in 1950. It would be the start of a long series that numbered more than three dozen titles featuring the Shell Scott character.

Later career[edit]

Prather had a disagreement with his publisher Pocket Books and sued them in 1975. He gave up writing for several years and grew avocados. 1986 he returned with The Amber Effect. Prather's final book, Shellshock, was published in hardcover in 1987 by Tor Books. He donated his papers to the Richard S. Prather Manuscript Collection at the University of Wyoming, in Laramie, Wyoming.

At the time of Prather's death, he had his last unpublished Shell Scott Mystery complete manuscript. It was published October 2011, in print and ebook formats by Pendleton Artists, with permission of the Richard S. Prather Estate and Linda Pendleton.

Personal[edit]

Prather's wife, Tina, died in April 2004, after 58 years of marriage.

Awards and honors[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Shell Scott novels[edit]

  • Case of the Vanishing Beauty — 1950
  • Bodies in Bedlam — 1951
  • Everybody Had a Gun — 1951
  • Find This Woman — 1951
  • Dagger of Flesh — 1952
  • Darling, It's Death — 1952
  • Way of a Wanton — 1952
  • Always Leave 'em Dying — 1954
  • Pattern for Panic — 1954
  • Ride a High Horse a.k.a. Too Many Crooks —1956
  • Strip for Murder — 1956
  • The Wailing Frail — 1956
  • The Deadly Darling — 1957
  • Have Gat - Will Travel (short stories) — 1957
  • Three's a Shroud (novelettes) — 1957
  • The Scrambled Yeggs (published in 1952 as Pattern for Murder under pseudonym "David Knight") — 1958
  • Slab Happy — 1958
  • Take a Murder, Darling — 1958
  • Over Her Dear Body — 1959
  • Double in Trouble (with Stephen Marlowe) — 1959
  • Dance with the Dead — 1960
  • Dig That Crazy Grave — 1961
  • Shell Scott's Seven Slaughters (short stories) — 1961
  • Kill the Clown — 1962
  • Dead Heat — 1963
  • The Cockeyed Corpse — 1964
  • Joker in the Deck — 1964
  • The Trojan Hearse — 1964
  • Dead Man's Walk — 1965
  • Kill Him Twice — 1965
  • The Meandering Corpse — 1965
  • The Kubla Khan Caper — 1966
  • Gat Heat — 1967
  • The Cheim Manuscript — 1969
  • Kill Me Tomorrow — 1969
  • The Shell Scott Sampler (short stories) — 1969
  • Dead-Bang — 1971
  • The Sweet Ride — 1972
  • The Sure Thing — 1975
  • The Amber Effect — 1986
  • Shellshock — 1987
  • The Death Gods - 2011

Other novels[edit]

  • Lie Down, Killer — 1952
  • The Peddler — 1963 (published in 1952 under pseudonym "Douglas Ring")
  • The Peddler - 2006 by Hard Case Crime

As David Knight

  • Pattern for Murder — 1952 (published in 1958 as The Scrambled Yeggs under Prather's name)
  • Dragnet: Case No. 561 — 1956

As Douglas Ring

  • The Peddler — 1952 (published in 1963 under Prather's name)

As Editor[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]