Donald Hamilton, author of the Matt Helm series, was born on March 24, 1916 in Uppsala, Sweden, the son of Bengt L. K. And Elise (Neovius) Hamilton. He married, in 1941, Kathleen Stick, and was the father of Hugo, Elise, Gordon, and Victoria Hamilton. He attended the University of Chicago, gaining a B.S. degree in 1938. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and became a Lieutenant. He lived for many years in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
His first novel, Date With Darkness, was published in 1947. He was a member of the Western Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Outdoor Writers Association of America. For more on his writing career, go to [Special Feature - Article about Donald Hamilton by Robert Skinner].
His wife died in 1989.
In Denmark, he bought a retired government patrol boat. It is called Maagen ("Seagull" in Danish). Mr. Hamilton says it is a "rusty junior-grade battleship..." that is twice as long as the motor sailor he had in Connecticut. He suffered a fall that put him in a nursing facility. His ship, the Maagen, was put up for sale.
On the morning of November 20, 2006, Donald Hamilton died in his sleep. Prior to his death, he was working on another Matt Helm novel, tentatively titled The Dominators. There has been no definite word on whether or not the novel will be published. In April 2003, an alert fan advised that visitors to the UCLA library can find among Donald Hamilton's papers an early draft of the novel The Dominators. Check out http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf6s2007cn for more information.
The Donald Hamilton Worship Page has a wonderful article and story about a fan who visited Donald Hamilton within the last year of his life. See http://www.benish-industries.com/hamilton/DHarticle.html.
|1.||DATE WITH DARKNESS||1947|
|Date With Darkness is the first novel, as far as I know, published by Donald Hamilton. The hero is Lieutenant Philip Branch, USNR, who has been serving in the Navy during WWII at a desk job in Chicago, Illinois. He is soon to be released from active duty and is spending a couple weeks leave in New York City. There he meets Jeanette Duval, wife of a French collaborator, who is trying to smuggle her husband into the U.S. Trying to thwart her efforts, a group of idealistic French patriots want to capture Mr. Duval and see to it that he is punished for his collaboration with the Nazis. They all want Lieutenant Branch to assist them, and he spends most of the book trying to figure out who the good guys and the bad guys are. He finally manages to foil everyone and even rejects Madamme Duval's offer to live happily ever after with him. Surprise of surprises, throughout the novel, Jeanette Duval calls Philip "darling."|
|2.||MURDER TWICE TOLD||1947||GOLD MEDAL|
|3.||THE STEEL MIRROR||1948||GOLD MEDAL|
|John Emmett, a chemist who worked for the U.S. government during WWII, is enroute to a new job in California. When his car dies, he hitches a ride with a woman, Ann Nicholson, who may or may not have amnesia, who may or may not have murdered someone, and who may or may not be crazy. He falls in love with her and helps her elude her tormentors until the mysteries surrounding her are solved by the novel's end, at which time he takes her in his arms and calls her "darling."|
|4.||NIGHT WALKER||1954||GOLD MEDAL|
|[Note: NIGHT WALKER was published in serial form in 1954 under the title MASK FOR DANGER; first GOLD MEDAL printing 1964.]|
|5.||SMOKY VALLEY||1954||GOLD MEDAL|
|6.||LINE OF FIRE||1955||GOLD MEDAL|
|7.||MAD RIVER||1956||GOLD MEDAL|
|[Note: a shorter version of MAD RIVER was previously published in Collier's magazine.]|
|8.||ASSASSINS HAVE STARRY EYES||1956||GOLD MEDAL|
[Note: ASSASSINS HAVE STARRY EYES was previously published under the title ASSIGNMENT:MURDER.]|
The time is 1955. The hero is a mathematician named Dr. Jim Gregory, usually called "Greg," who works for the U.S. government on a super-secret project to build a better atomic bomb. When the bad guys try to kill him a couple of times, and his wife is kidnapped, he sets out to find her and maybe do some damage to those bad guys. How a desk-bound egghead manages to do that makes interesting reading. His wife first calls him "darling" on page 15. I have no idea how or why Donald Hamilton originally chose the title "Assignment: Murder," but "Assassins Have Starry Eyes" isn't much of an improvement.
|9.||THE BIG COUNTRY||1957||DELL PUBLISHING|
|[Note: a shorter version of THE BIG COUNTRY appeared in 'The Saturday Evening Post' under the title AMBUSH AT BLANCO CANYON.]|
|10.||TEXAS FEVER||1960||GOLD MEDAL|
|11.||THE TWO-SHOOT GUN||1960||GOLD MEDAL|
|[Note: THE TWO-SHOOT GUN was previously published under the title THE MAN FROM SANTA CLARA.]|
|12.||ON GUNS AND HUNTING||1970||GOLD MEDAL|
|[Note: ON GUNS AND HUNTING is a collection of short articles and essays published between 1955 and 1970 in various outdoor magazines.]|
|13.||THE MONA INTERCEPT||1980||GOLD MEDAL|
|14.||CRUISES WITH KATHLEEN||1980||DAVID MCKAY CO.|
|15.||IRON MEN AND SILVER STARS||??||??|
|[a western anthology]|