John Piper & Quinn

Created by Harry Carmichael
Pseudonym of Leopold Horace Ognall
Other pseudonyms include Hartley Howard


JOHN PIPER was a suitably tough insurance assessor who appeared in four novels in the early fifties, and QUINN was a reporter who worked the crime beat for The Morning Post, a London paper, who showed up in three novels from 1968-70. But as popular as those books were, it was the team-up of the two that really caught fire—together they co-starred in thirty-two mysteries, starting with Death Leaves a Diary in 1952 and finally winding down with Life Cycle in 1978.

The books were written by Harry Carmichael, a pseudonym ofthe prolific Leopold Ognall who also, under the pen name of Hartley Howard, another pen name, he also wrote about “hard-boiled” New York private eye Glenn Bowman.

Despite the covers, particularly of the early books, the Piper/Quin books aren’t particularly hard-boiled or pulpy, leaning more towards Golden Age-style mysteries, full of ingenuous murder methods and fair play clues.

It’s an impressive run, spanning twenty-four years, with some nifty plots and the nuances of the pair’s sometimes fragile friendship the glue that holds the series together. Certainly they respect each other professionally, and there are even some touching moments near the end of the series when Piper begins to get worried about Quinn’s health. But the friendship is at times estranged, and feelings of anger, regret, guilt and hurt rise to the surface—an unexpected but welcome exploration of male bonding rarely explored in crime fiction at the time.



  • The Harry Carmichael was an amalgam of the names of Ognall’s immediate family: his wife Cecilia, his daughter Margaret, and his sons Harry and Michael.


  • Put Out That Star (1957) is not a bad book, but it’s not very good either. It’s safe to say it’s mediocre. Howard’s career with over 90 novels was so long though he shouldn’t have to be so forgotten. I’ll be reading more of his work during the coming weeks and months and will be posting about it.
    — Juri Nummelin (Pulpetti)


  • The Vanishing Trick (1952)
  • School for Murder (1953)
  • Death Counts Three (1954; aka “The Screaming Rabbit)
  • Emergency Exit (1957)


  • A Slightly Bitter Taste (1968)
  • Death Trap (1970)
  • Remote Control (1970)


  • Death Leaves a Diary (1952)
  • Deadly Night-Cap (1953) Buy this book 
  • Why Kill Johnny? (1954)
  • Money for Murder (1955)
  • Noose for a Lady (1955)
  • The Dead of Night (1956)
  • Justice Enough (1956)
  • Emergency Exit (1957)
  • Put Out That Star (1957)
  • James Knowland: Deceased (1958)
  • …Or Be He Dead (1959)
  • Stranglehold (1959)
  • Requiem for Charles (1960)
  • The Seeds of Hate (1960)
  • Alibi (1961)
  • The Link (1962)
  • Of Unsound Mind (1962)
  • Vendetta (1963) Buy this book | Kindle it!
  • Flashback (1964)
  • Safe Secret (1964)
  • Post Mortem (1965) Buy this book
  • Suicide Clause (1966)
  • Murder by Proxy (1967)
  • Most Deadly Hate (1971)
  • The Quiet Woman (1971) | Kindle it!
  • Naked to the Grave (1972) Buy this book | Kindle it!
  • Candles for the Dead (1973) Buy this book
  • Too Late for Tears (1973)
  • The Motive (1974) Buy this book
  • False Evidence (1976)
  • A Grave for Two (1977) Buy this book
  • Life Cycle (1978)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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