Mystery writer Edward Wright, former Timesman, dies at 75

Novelist and former Timesman Edward Wright, who set his mystery stories in Los Angeles, dies at 75

Edward Wright, a journalist turned novelist who wrote an award-winning series of mysteries set in post-World War II Los Angeles, has died. He was 75.

A former editor at the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, Wright died Friday at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles from complications of lymphoma, said his wife of 22 years, Cathy Wright.

Wright spent three decades in daily journalism, including nearly 20 years at The Times, before switching careers in the early 1990s to try his hand at fiction.

Of his five novels, three revolved around the character of John Ray Horn, a former B-movie western actor and ex-felon whose entanglements turn him into a sleuth. The first in the series, “Clea’s Moon” (2003), involves a friend’s murdered son, his missing stepdaughter and a child pornography ring.

Called “a well-paced mystery” by Booklist, it won England’s Debut Dagger Award for unpublished writers.

“That was a glorious, wonderful thing to happen to him,” Cathy Wright, a psychotherapist, said Tuesday. “He got a two-book deal and an agent. His story is about how you can push through your dream.”

The next two installments in the Horn series also won awards: “While I Disappear” (2004) earned the Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America, while “Red Sky Lament” (2006) won the Ellis Peters Historical Award from the British Crime Writers Assn.

Wright’s other novels include “Damnation Falls” (2008) and “From Blood” (2012).

Born in Hot Springs, Ark., on Dec. 18, 1939, Wright received a bachelor’s in English literature at Vanderbilt University and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University. In between degrees he served three years in the Navy during the Vietnam War.

He handled various reporting and editing assignments at the Tribune until the early 1970s, when he joined The Times. An editor on The Times’ foreign desk, the Glendale resident was known for his unflappable temperament and broad knowledge of the Middle East. He later wrote the paper’s Travel Advisory column.

Besides his wife, Wright is survived by a sister, Carol Wright, of Massachusetts.

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