Howard Engel

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Howard Engel
Born(1931-04-02)April 2, 1931
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
DiedJuly 16, 2019(2019-07-16) (aged 88)
OccupationWriter, producer
GenreMystery and non-fiction
Notable worksBenny Cooperman series
SpouseMarian Engel
(m. 1962; div. 1978)
Janet Hamilton

Howard Engel CM (April 2, 1931 – July 16, 2019) was a Canadian mystery author and CBC producer who resided in Toronto, Ontario. He was famous for his Benny Cooperman detective series, set in the Niagara Region in and around the city of Grantham, Ontario; mirroring St. Catharines, Ontario, where he was born). He was one of the authors, in 1982, responsible for foundingCrime Writers Of Canada.[1]

Personal life[edit]

From 1962 to 1978 he was married to Marian Engel, a noted Canadian authoress of literary fiction, who died in 1985. They had two children, twins Charlotte and William, born in 1965. Charlotte currently is an independent television producer. Howard married Canadian novelist Janet Hamilton. The couple have one son, Jacob Engel, born in 1989.

In 2001, he unknowingly suffered a stroke that left him with alexia sine agraphia, a condition that prevented him from understanding written words without a major effort, while not affecting his ability to write.[2] He was later able to write a new novel, Memory Book (2005), in which his character Benny Cooperman suffers a blow to the head and is similarly affected. He later published The Man Who Forgot How To Read (2007), a memoir of the time he spent recovering from the stroke, with an afterword by Oliver Sacks (who wrote about Howard's reading problems in the book The Mind's Eye), and another novel, East of Suez, in 2008.[3]

In February 2007, Howard was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, receiving it at the 100th investiture. In 2013, Engel received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal.[4] He died in Toronto on July 16, 2019, of pneunomia that arose from a stroke, at the age of 88. True animal-lovers: Howard's beloved living cat, Kali, is included by their family in his obituary.



Benny Cooperman novels[edit]

  • The Suicide Murders (1980), ISBN 0-7720-1304-7 (Adapted as a TV movie starring Saul Rubinek)
  • The Ransom Game (1981), ISBN 0-7720-1364-0
  • Murder On Location (1982), ISBN 0-7720-1384-5
  • Murder Sees The Light (1984), ISBN 0-670-80304-9 (Adapted as a TV movie starring Saul Rubinek)
  • A City Called July (1986), ISBN 0-670-81268-4
  • A Victim Must Be Found (1988), ISBN 0-670-82298-1
  • Dead And Buried (1990) ISBN 0-670-83116-6
  • The Whole Megillah (1991) publisher BOOKCITY Bookmasters Limited 501 Bloor Street West Toronto
  • There Was An Old Woman (1993), ISBN 0-670-85259-7
  • Getting Away With Murder (1995), ISBN 0-670-86078-6
  • My Brother's Keeper (2001), ISBN 1-55278-327-8 (with Eric Wright)
  • The Cooperman Variations (2001), ISBN 0-14-029744-8
  • Memory Book (2005), ISBN 0-14-301665-2
  • East Of Suez (2008), ISBN 978-0-14-305333-0

Other Novels[edit]



  • Criminal Shorts: Mysteries By Canadian Crime Writers (1992), ISBN 0-7715-9160-8 (ed. with Eric Wright)


  1. ^ Black, Debra (2007-02-21). "Order of Canada recipients". The Toronto Star. p. A12. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
  2. ^ The Man Who Forgot How To Read And Other Stories at
  3. ^ Conan, Neal (July 24, 2008). "Howard Engel: 'The Man Who Forgot How To Read'". Talk of the Nation. NPR. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  4. ^ a b {{cite web | url= | title=Crime writer Engel started in Sault | date=July 26, 2019 | accessdate=August 21, 2015 | author= Kelly, Brian

External links[edit]