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Elliott Chaze


USA flag (1915 - 1990)

Lewis Elliott Chaze (November 15, 1915 November 11, 1990) was an American war veteran, journalist, and novelist. After nearly half a century, his "long lost" 1953 noir classic Black Wings Has My Angel (originally issued as One For The Money), a legend among noir buffs, was reissued in 2005, sparking new interest in this talented and prolific author.
Elliott Chaze was born to Lewis and Sue Chaze in Mamou, Louisiana. In 1932, Chaze graduated from Bolton High School in Alexandria, Louisiana. He attended Tulane University, Washington and Lee University, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1937.
Chaze began his journalism career as a reporter for the New Orleans Bureau of the Associated Press.[2] During World War II, he served as a paratrooper and technical sergeant in the 11th Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. After hostilities ended, Chaze continued to serve for a time in the Occupation of Japan.
After the war, Chaze rejoined the Associated Press (AP) in New Orleans, then transferred to the APs Denver Bureau. In 1951, Chaze moved to Mississippi, began working as a reporter and became an award-winning columnist for the Hattiesburg American newspaper in the city of Hattiesburg. While at the Hattiesburg American, Chase received the Hal Boyle Memorial Award for the best personal newspaper column.
Chaze was married to Mary Vincent Armstrong with whom he had five children.
Chaze became City Editor of the Hattiesburg American in 1970 and remained in that position through 1980. Chaze wrote articles, essays, and short stories for popular magazines of the time, including Collier's, Cosmopolitan, Life, Reader's Digest, Redbook, and The New Yorker.
Chaze's works of fiction reflected many of his own experiences and were praised by reviewers as being authentic and filled with local color. The Stainless Steel Kimono, published in 1947, was Chaze's first novel. His most controversial novel, Tiger in the Honeysuckle, dealt with the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. He continued writing well into the 1980's with a series of Southern crime novels set in a newspaper office, but it is the newfound cult hit status of his Black Wings Has My Angel from 1953 that has finally brought him the literary acclaim and fame he so richly deserves.
In an interview regarding his motivation for writing fiction, Chaze is reported to have responded: Primarily I have a simple desire to shine my ass to show off a bit in print. During his career, Chaze produced at least ten novels that were published.
 
Series
Kiel St. James
1. The Catherine Murders (1984)
     aka Mr. Yesterday
2. Little David (1985)
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