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Amelia Reynolds LONG

Mystery Novelist

Born: 25 November 1904, Columbia, Pennsylvania USA

Died: 26 March 1978, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania USA

Amelia Reynolds Long was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, and moved with her family to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania when she was six. She earned a B.A. in 1931 and M.A. in 1932, both from the University of Pennsylvania.


She had a long and very fine career as an author of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and detective stories. Amelia  was one of few female science fiction authors before the Golden Age and very likely one of few in that category to be published in both Weird Tales and Astounding Science-Fiction. Her stories for "The Unique Magazine" were six in number. One was made into a movie. Many of her stories have been reprinted again and again. 


Amelia was already a published author with stories in Weird Tales and Amazing Detective Tales to her credit. Stories for Amazing Stories, Astounding Stories, Strange Stories, and other publications rolled out of her typewriter during the 1930s, but by the end of the decade, Amelia was ready for a change. Late in life, she explained:

I stopped writing science fiction and the weird story right around that time, because science fiction had hit the comic strips and I felt it was sort of degrading to compete with a comic strip.

Her first mystery novel, Behind the Evidence, was published in 1936. In all, Amelia Reynolds Long wrote nearly three dozen novels in that genre, twenty-five of which were translated into other languages. Her short stories numbered about one hundred. "The Thought Monster," from Weird Tales (1930), was made into a movie called Fiend Without a Face in 1958.


As a young writer, she was among the first female science fiction writers, and her short stories were published in the science fiction and weird pulp magazines of the 1930s. In the 1940s she left science fiction to write mystery novels, many of which were published under pseudonyms. Her style was influenced by Agatha Christie and her novels were "whodunit" books, as opposed to the hard-boiled crime novels that were more popular at the time. In 1951, she stopped writing mysteries and took a job editing textbooks for Stackpole Books in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and she began to write poetry. She wrote two collections of her poetry, Shreds and Patches (1974) and Counterpoint (1975). Her first poem, "Lucifer's Reply," had appeared in Kaleidograph in the early 1930s. From 1951 to 1958, Amelia was an editor of textbooks at The Stackpole Company, Harrisburg.

During her writing career, she used a number of Her first poem, "Lucifer's Reply," had appeared in Kaleidograph in the early 1930s. From 1951 to 1958, Amelia was an editor of textbooks at The Stackpole Company including A.R. Long, Peter Reynolds, Patrick Laing, Adrian Reynolds, Kathleen Buddington Coxe (with Edna McHugh), and Mordred Weir.


She was a member of the Harrisburg Poetry Workshop of the Pennsylvania Poetry Society. In her later years, she was also a curator at the William Penn Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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