One of the good guys of the mystery fiction world has passed away at the age of 76 (he always looked much younger than his age). Janet Rudolph has written an homage better than I can so please go to her blog, Mystery Fanfare to read more. And while there, be sure to watch the short videos Janet has included.
My unconfirmed understanding is that Parnell was in the hospital after a successful lung transplant when he caught Covid-19 and succumbed to that. But don’t quote me because I haven’t seen that in writing.
One story: Around the year 2000, I caught a taxi with Parnell Hall and Harlan Coben to take us to the airport (from Bouchercon). I sat in the front seat and they sat in the back. They started talking about their careers and the upshot was that because they wrote mysteries infused with a lot of humor, they didn’t think that critics and fans took them seriously enough. Harlan said that he was going to try an new tack to become a better selling author. It was the very next year in 2001 that TELL NO ONE, Harlan’s breakout book, was published and the rest is history. I’ve often wondered what could have happened if Parnell (a gifted writer himself) had followed a similar tack. Parnell never achieved best-sellerdom but he was a solid midlist writer.
I was a big fan of his Stanley Hastings series and also of his legal mysteries written under the pen name of J. P. Hailey. His forte was in plotting — which was always clever.
So sad. Mystery conventions won’t be the same without him.