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Stephen Marlowe, 79; wrote detective series

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Associated Press / February 26, 2008

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Novelist Stephen Marlowe, best known for a series of books featuring private detective Chester Drum, died Friday after a long illness, his family said in a statement. He was 79.

Mr. Marlowe began his career as a writer of pulp and science fiction and wrote more than 50 novels.

His series featuring Chester Drum began with "The Second Longest Night" in 1955 and concluded with "Drumbeat Marianne" in 1968. His more recent work included fictionalized biographies, including "The Memoirs of Christopher Columbus" in 1987, "The Lighthouse at the End of the World" in 1995, and "The Death and Life of Miguel de Cervantes" in 1996.

Mr. Marlowe was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1949 with a degree in philosophy before serving two years in the Army. He spent decades of his working life overseas, mostly in France and Spain, and founded a writer-in-residence program at his alma mater in 1974.

Mr. Marlowe received France's Prix Gutenberg du Livre in 1988.

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