Tue 31 Jul 2007
John P. Browner was the author of Death of a Punk (Pocket, pbo, 1980), a PI novel which as you may recall, was profiled here on the blog not so very long ago.
At stated then, and so credited in Al Hubinís Crime Fiction IV, the other book that Browner is said to have written was Who Killed the Snowman? (Pocket, pbo, 1979).
While Death of a Punk is a book not easily found, it can be obtained if youíre willing to pay the price that’s currently being asked for it online. Or you can wait for it to show up while visiting used bookstores or library sales. It does exist.
On the other hand, there are no copies of Who Killed the Snowman? offered for sale online anywhere at all. The suspicion that there weren’t any to be found began to grow. And who was John P. Browner anyway?
To answer the second question first, Al Hubin, working under the assumption that that was Browner’s real name, reports his findings:
There are a number of John Browners with no middle initials given, who could, I suppose, be candidates.
There are 12 John Browners in the social security death benefit records; none is shown with middle initial P.
Thereís nothing very conclusive here, but I agree with Al that the Florida-New York state Browner is the most likely candidate. Unfortunately, no address or telephone number has been obtained for him, and here is where the trail has temporarily ended.
As for Who Killed the Snowman? It doesnít exist. Here, from Victor Berch, is the evidence:
Browner, John. Who Killed the Snowman? 1979. 2.25 (ISBN 0-671-82779-0) PB
Then, in the Spring 1981 volume were the following entries:
Browner, John. Death of a Punk. (Orig) 1980. Write for info (ISBN 0-671-82779-0). PB.
Browner, Who Killed the Snowman? 1979. 2.25 (ISBN 0-671-82779-0) PB
Note that the ISBN numbers are the same for each. I imagine that anyone writing for information would learn from the publisher (PB=Pocket Books), that the title Who Killed the Snowman? had been changed to Death of a Punk.