Louis Joseph Vance was born on September 19, 1879 in New York,
New York (although some sources say Washington, DC). He was an
American fiction writer of short stories, novels and screenplays.
Vance was the son of Wilson and Lillie Beall Vance. Originally,
Vance wanted to become an artist and illustrator and attended the Art Students League and Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute.
Vance married Nance Elizabeth Hodges in 1898. They had one son,
Wilson Beall Vance who was born the following year. Vance was 26 years old when his first book,Terence O\'Rourke,Gentlema Adventurer was published in 1905. Vance was a \"hack\" writer for many years producing hundreds of short stories and some adventure novels until he published a group of three mystery novels which promoted him to best-selling author status.
The novels were: The Brass Bowl (1907) about a beautiful young
girl, who in order to help her grieving father,becomes a burglar
and meets a professional burglar who resembles the identical twin
of a young millionaire. The second novel,The Black Bag (1908)was about a young heiress named Dorothy Calendar and an evil smuggler of diamonds. The Bronze Bell (1909)was a novel about an American who is mistaken for a raja during a duck-hunting trip in Long Island. Vance was known for mixing romance and mystery in many of his thirty-five novels. He is most famous for his mystery writings on the Lone Wolf, a book about the adventures of a gentlemanly criminal, which first appeared in 1914. Some of his other works include: The Fortune Hunter (1910); The Destroying Angel (1912);The Dark Mirror (1919); Alias the Lone Wolf (1921); Linda Lee,Inc. (1922); Baroque (1923); The Lone Wolf Returns (1923); Mrs. Paramor (1924); The Road to En-Dor (1925); White Fire(1925); The Dead Ride Hard (1926); They Call It Love(1927); The
Woman in the Sahdow (1930); Speaking of Women (1930); The embling Flame (1931); The Lone Wolf\'s Son (1931); and many others. The University of Pennsylvania\'s Van Pelt Library has an original manuscript of Vance. It is a one leaf correspondence with H. L. Mencken from 1916. The notes indicate that it is a favorable response to a letter from Mencken soliciting support for Dreiser regarding The \"Genius\" controversy.Vance died on December 16, 1933 in New York, New York. Even though Vances death was officially ruled an accident, many questions surrounding the way that he died lingered for years.
It was eventually rumored that he had died of spontaneous human
combustion. According to Vance\'s relatives, he had a habit of
falling asleep while smoking. What was so unusual about Vances death was that his head and torso were so badly burned that it appeared as if his head and shoulders had been pushed into a furnace and Vance suffered few, if any, burns below his waist. Also, none of the furniture in the room where he had died had caught on fire except for his chair. His body was cremated at the Fresh Pond Crematory in Queens, New York.
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