FACTS ABOUT VICKSBURG: Earle Basinsky, the Vicksburg crime novelist – The Vicksburg Post
FACTS ABOUT VICKSBURG: Earle Basinsky, the Vicksburg crime novelist
Posted at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, August 26, 2022
Did you know that Vicksburg is the home of Earle Basinsky, a crime novelist?
Basinsky was born in 1921 to Earle Basinsky Sr. and Aline Basinsky. In 1939, Basinsky went to law school at the University of Mississippi, but in 1942 he joined the United States Air Force for World War II, according to the Mississippi Writers and Musicians website.
While stationed in Greenwood, Mississippi for pilot training, he met and befriended Mickey Spillane. Spillane was extremely supportive of Basinsky’s writing and after the war Basinsky decided to move to Brooklyn, NY to continue his writing with Spillane.
While working with Spillane, Basinsky published two detective stories entitled “Knife Act” in Don Fortune magazine #4, November 1946 and “Killer’s Choice”. in Vic Verity No. 4, May 1946.
After a while, Basinsky returned to Vicksburg and worked for his father’s printing company, according to Mississippi Writers and Musicians Website. It was not until Spillane’s visit to Vicksburg that he felt inspired to write again. His next project was his first detective story “The Big Steal” published by EP Dutton in 1955, with Spillane’s help. In the book, the police caught a kidnapper who had stolen a suitcase full of $400,000 and assigned the responsibility to Steve Conway, the main character, to bring the money to the police station. However, when Conway arrived at the station with the suitcase, his colleagues found the money missing and immediately accused him of stealing the ransom money. Conway begins to go into a downward spiral as he loses his friends and his wife to the accusation. He decided to embark on a long and violent mission to find the missing money and the person who accused him of the crime, as told in the book “Gun in Cheek: An Affectionate Guide to the “Worst” in Mystery Fiction by Bill Pronzini. .
In 1956, Basinsky published his second novel, “Death Is a Cold, Keen Edge”, published by Signet. The story is about a World War II veteran who discovered his passion for killing during the war. After the war is over, the WWII veteran embarks on a killing spree when he re-enters civilian life, as summarized on the back of “Death Is a Cold, Keen Edge.”
Basinsky finished writing novels and later published several short stories for pulp fiction magazines. This includes “The Broken Window”, published in Manhunt for the February 1957 edition, “The Prison Break” in Mike Shayne for the October 1957 edition, and “Decision” for The Saint in the March 1958 edition as indicated on the Mississippi Writers and Musicians Website.
Each story continues Basinky’s narrative writing style and his knack for raw, heartbreaking violence. However, his writing was not liked by everyone, and he received some criticism for his work. As Anthony Boucher’s comment in a June 26, 1955 New York Times Book column on Basinsky’s “The Big Steal,” “Mickey Spillane who insisted…and for Nathan Jr. who suffered. These should serve as better guide to your choice than any review;I personally side with Nathan Jr. While other reviewers have praised Basinsky for his crisp writing style.
In March 1963, Earle Basinsky died in Vicksburg.