Saturday, February 04, 2012

Edward D Radin

Edward David Radin was an American criminologist and journalist, described by Lillian de la Torre in the New York Times Book Review in 1961 as "the soundest crime expert of our generation."

Born in New York on 28 April 1909, Radin was the third child of two Russian Jewish immigrants, Philip Radin and his wife Ida. Both parents had immigrated to the USA, where Philip became a naturalized citizen in 1901. Philip was a tailor who owned a shop at the time of his son's birth, and later ran a stationer's shop.

Radin grew up in Brooklyn and Queens and graduated from New York University in 1932. He worked as a reporter for the Long Island Press, covering a broad range of subjects, from crime to education. He began freelancing articles on crime for detective magazines in 1936 and was able to give up newspaper work in 1941. His articles appeared in Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Coronet, the New York Times and many other journals. He edited Detective, a true-crime magazine, and wrote syndicated material for King Features Syndicate.

His first book, 12 Against the Law, was a study of twelve murder cases that he had covered as a journalist and earned Radin his first Edgar award from the Mystery Writers of America for his crime writing in 1948; the follow-up, 12 Against Crime, won the award three years later. Radin was one of the founders of the MWA; he became treasurer in 1949 and was president in 1964.

Radin's best known book was Lizzie Borden: The Untold Story, a study of the famous murder case of 1892. Borden was acquitted of the murder of her father and stepmother with an axe but many of the writers who subsequently took an interest in the case were convinced of her guilt; Radin argued persuasively that Borden was indeed not guilty and the murders were committed by the maid, Bridget Sullivan.

Some of Radin's work was adapted for television, including episodes of Suspense ("For the Love of Randi", about a nurse accused of murder) and Studio One ("Waterfront Boss", based on the exploits of John 'Cockeye' Dunn, executed in 1949).

Radin, who lived in Glen Cove, Nassau County, New York, died of cancer at the Community Hospital on 28 March 1966, aged 56. He was survived by his wife, Beatrice Hollander, and two daughters, Victoria and Alice.

12 Against the Law. New York, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, Sep 1946; London, William Heinemann, 1950.
12 Against Crime. New York, Putnam, May 1950.
Headline Crimes of the Year. Boston, Little, Brown, Jan 1952.
Beyond the Law. New York, Popular Library, Jul 1953.
Crimes of Passion. New York, Putnam, Sep 1953; London, Strato Publications, 1957.
Web of Passion. New York, Popular Library, Jun 1955.
The Deadly Reasons. New York, Popular Library, Jun 1958.
Lizzie Borden: The Untold Story. New York, Simon & Schuster, Jun 1961; London, Victor Gollancz, 1961.
It's Time to Tell by George P. LeBrun, as told to Edward D. Radin. New York, Morrow, Jul 1962.
The Big Wheel: Monte Carlo's Opulent Century, with George W. Herald. New York, Morrow, May 1963; London, Robert Hale, 1965.
The Innocents. New York, Morrow, Sep 1964.

Others (as editor)
Masters of Mayhem: The 1965 Mystery Writers of America Anthology. New York, Morrow, Oct 1965.

Note: The cover for our column header was a reprint from Avon 558 (1954)... but if you look closely, you'll see that the gun has been edited out from the original appearance. Or has it? The raised hand looks so clunky that I'm wondering whether the original painting was of a fist and the gun was added by Avon.


  1. hmm are you sure he was survived by Beatrice Hollandet? its actually Hollander. :)

  2. Well spotted - and now corrected!

  3. Way too young to leave this world



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