Charles Willeford

Charles Willeford - Florida Authors
Birthplace: Little Rock, AR
Current Residence: deceased
Setting: Miami, Florida
Genre: Hard-boiled crime fiction, Noir, Mystery
Pseudonym: Will Charles

Charles Ray Willeford (1919-1988) is considered to be one of the greatest American hard-boiled crime fiction writers. He moved to West Palm Beach in 1953, and graduated from the University of Miami, where he also taught. "A writer of sharp, often sardonic prose coupled with dark wit, Charles Willeford belongs as much to the school of Nathanael West and Flannery O'Connor as among his hard-boiled crime-writing contemporaries. While his novels all inevitably contain crime and vice, it was only in the last years of his life that he achieved notoriety as a detective novelist with a series of four books that follow the personal and professional escapades of Miami police officer Hoke Moseley. The Moseley novels, published between 1984 and 1988, brought about a much deserved rediscovery of Willeford and resulted in the return to print of his strongest early works. "(Levin)

Book List
(some published posthumously)
The Second Half of the Double Feature, (short stories), Wit's End (2003)
Deliver Me from Dallas!, Dennis McMillan (2001)
Collected Memoirs of Charles Willeford: I Was Looking for a Street: Something about a Soldier (2000)
The Shark-Infested Custard (fiction; includes Kiss Your Ass Goodbye and a portion of Everybody's Metamorphosis) (1993)
The Cockfighter Journal (diary from the filming of his 1962 novel) (1989)
I Was Looking for a Street (autobiography) (1988)
Charles Willeford Trilogy: High Priest of California, Play, Wild Wives (Wild Wives originally published as Until I Am Dead) (1987)
New Forms of Ugly: The Immobilized Hero in Modern Fiction (literary criticism) (1987)
Kiss Your Ass Goodbye (1987)
Something about a Soldier (autobiography) (1986)
Off the Wall (fictionalized biography of "Son of Sam" killer David Berkowitz) (1980)
A Guide for the Undehemorrhoided (autobiography) (1977)
The Burnt Orange Heresy, (1971)
Poontang and Other Poems, (1967)
The Machine in Ward Eleven (short stories) (1963)
Cockfighter (1962)
No Experience Necessary (1961)
Understudy for Death, 1961 (reprinted as Understudy for Love (1989)
The Director, 1960 (reprinted as The Woman Chaser (1990)
The Black Mass of Brother Springer (later published as The Honey Gal) (1958)
The Basic Approach (television play), Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) (1956)
Lust Is a Woman (1956)
Pick-Up (1955)
Until I Am Dead (1954
High Priest of California (1953)
Proletarian Laughter (poems) (1948)

Hoke Moseley Detective Series
The Way We Die Now (1988)
Sideswipe (1987)
New Hope for the Dead (1985)
Miami Blues (1984)

Will Charles
The Hombre from Sonora, 1971

Play Production
High Priest of California: The Play, New York, Sanford Meisner Theater, 7 October 1988

Produced Scripts
The Story of Mary Miller, Army Wife, radio play episodes, Armed Forces Radio, 1948
The Basic Approach, television, Canadian Broadcast Company, 1956.
Cockfighter, motion picture, New World Pictures, 1974

"Entrance to an Era," "In Time of This," "I Passed over the River," "Basement Pastoral," "The Apocalypse," in The Outcast Poets, edited by Oscar Baradinsky, The Outcast Poets Series of Chapbooks, no. 8 (Yonkers, N.Y.: Alicat Bookshop Press, 1947).

See Charles Willeford books with a Florida setting.
See also It Takes Place in Florida: Mystery.

Search Worldcat for availability of books at your local library.

Source Citation: Levin, Douglas. "Charles (Ray III) Willeford." American Hard-Boiled Crime Writers. Ed. George Parker Anderson and Julie B. Anderson. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 226. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. Literature Resources from Gale. Gale. PALM BEACH COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM. 21 July 2008 <>.

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