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Seymour Shubin's Obituary
by Neil Shubin

Seymour Shubin The Hunch Lonely No More The Captain Why Me Return to MurderSlim.com

New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award winning author, Seymour Shubin, died on November 3 at his home in Paoli, Pennsylvania.

Shubin was born in Philadelphia to Isadore and Ida Shubin on September 14, 1921. Both parents were Russian immigrants active in the Jewish community. His father opened and ran a furniture store, I. Shubin and Son, on South Street for over four decades during which time the family lived in the Olney section of the city.

At the age of 14, Shubin became interested in writing, buying an ancient typewriter from a friend for five dollars. He immediately started writing short stories, a form he would return to throughout his 70 year long career. As a teen, he sold a number of stories to a Jewish organization; but his first “real sale” as he described it was to a newspaper syndicate for five dollars.

Eschewing the family business, Shubin entered Temple University to study journalism. There, he started work for their humor and literary magazine, The Owl. He became the first freshman to publish stories in the magazine and eventually became the Editor in Chief.

During the early years of WWII, Shubin joined the Army for a short stint, terminated by medical discharge at Fort Wolters, Texas. He continued his writing in the Army, publishing short work in the magazine, Stars and Stripes.

After graduating from Temple University, Shubin started work for Official Detective Story Magazine, a true crime publication where he would follow police and criminals while being part of the investigation of robberies, murders and mob-related crimes. The relationships he formed with Philadelphia law enforcement and perpetrators, and the exposure to the crimes themselves, was to serve as grist for his fiction writing for years to come. Work at Official Detective had another impact on him—he gained the desire to write freelance for a living.

Breaking into freelancing, Shubin’s first novel, Anyone’s My Name (Simon and Schuster, 1953) was derived from ideas that came to him at Official Detective. A story of suspense, told by an unwilling murderer, it became a New York Times bestseller in 1953. Anyone’s My Name is considered to be a classic of the 1950s noir genre of thrillers. As Philadelphia Inquirer said in its initial review, “Shubin’s style is crisp, never, never dull. With inexorable drive...he carries his story through to its grim and shocking conclusion. He is a story-teller with a terrific punch.”

Shubin departed freelancing for a decade, during which time he worked at Smith Kline and French Pharmaceutical and Lippincott Publishing Company. In the former, he worked on external publications, and the latter on book production and design. In the mid seventies, seeking a creative break from the corporate world, he returned to freelancing full time. His work during this time included pieces for major trade and professional periodicals.

During his return to freelancing, Shubin set off to develop a style of novel that was to define his writing for two decades: the psychological suspense thriller. His first effort, The Captain (Stein and Day, 1982), was published to wide acclaim. Publishers Weekly described the book as "A towering novel that builds to a heart-clutching peak and leaves one profoundly affected."

In recent years, Shubin returned to his early writing style of short stories and poetry, publishing books of both while in his ninth decade.

Shubin published 15 novels over his career garnering a number of awards, including the Edgar Allen Poe Special Award; Philadelphia Athenaeum Annual Special Citation for Fiction; Potpourri Magazine’s Best Short Story of the Year Award; Temple University Alumni Award. He leaves behind a large body of articles and shorter pieces in diverse national magazines and periodicals.

A number of Shubin’s books have recently been reprinted in electronic and print formats. All of his writings, papers, and manuscripts are housed within and available from the Temple University Libraries.

Shubin leaves his wife of 57 years, Gloria as well as children (Neil and Jennifer) and grandchildren (Benjamin, Nathaniel, Tali, and Hannah). His parents (Isadore and Ida) and siblings (Eleanor, Ruth and Aaron) all predeceased him.

He was interred at Haim Solomon Memorial Park in Frazer, PA.

Editor's Note:
Here is Seymour's Obituary in The Philadelphia Inquirer.