WILLIAM R. COX – Death on Location. Signet S2158, paperback original; 1st printing, July 1962.

WILLIAM R. COX - Death on Location.

    It begins with a baseball game, the championship series of the Las Vegas Strip Baseball League, which if you think about it, sounds like a lot of fun. Besides being a reformed gambler, however, Tom Kincaid is a shoestring movie producer as well, and when he moves his crew upstate to start filming an adventure epic starring his live-in girl friend, he unknowingly carries the dirt of big city dope traffic with him.

    The detection is a flabby effort, to tell the truth. The solution to the murder of the leading lady’s stand-in seems to flop out of its hidey closet of its own accord, but the message is that the movie business is really just plain hard work. The logistics of making a movie are staggering, to put it mildly, and they’re put together by honest, industrious people. Under the sophistication, folks, they’re just like us.    (C)

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 3, No. 2, Mar-Apr 1979.

[UPDATE] 02-11-08. Cox was another paperback writer in the 1950s and 60s who began his career in the pulps, writing mysteries like this one — I’m almost positive that Tom Kincaid appeared in his short stories long before he started showing up in full-length novels — but Cox wrote a ton of westerns and sports fiction as well. Short or long, magazine or paperback, it didn’t seem to matter. The only books he wrote that appeared in hardcover, though, while he was alive, were sports stories for boys, with titles like Trouble at Second Base and Rookie in the Back Court.

WILLIAM R. COX - Cemetery Jones.

   When there was a lull in writing books and short stores, Cox did TV screenplays, shows like Bonanza, Wagon Train and Tales of Wells Fargo, but according to IMDB, an episode of Route 66 as well, among many others.

   There were a couple of interesting characters to be found in his western paperback fiction. First was a guy called Cemetery Jones, about whom I know little more than his name, and second, although this may not count, after William Ard died, Cox wrote a bunch of the “Buchanan” books under the Jonas Ward byline.

   Thanks to Al Hubin’s Crime Fiction IV, here’s a list of all of the Tom Kincaid novels. Someone else will have to help me out on the pulp stories Kincaid appeared in. I can’t find any reference to specific titles or dates, but I’m positive I’ve read one or two of them over the years.

         Hell to Pay. Signet, 1958.
         Murder in Vegas. Signet, 1960.
         Death on Location. Signet, 1962.

   William R. Cox died in 1988, at the age of 87. Here’s a link to his obituary in the New York Times.