Hillary Waugh, 88, whose prolific career introduced generations of mystery readers to small-town intrigue and police techniques rooted in real investigations, died Dec. 8 at a nursing facility in Torrington, Conn.

Mr. Waugh's dozens of novels - numbering almost 50, including some he wrote under pen names - earned him a Grand Master Award in 1989 from the Mystery Writers of America.

The honor places him in the company of such writers as Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, Mickey Spillane, Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie.

Mr. Waugh was born and raised in New Haven and graduated from Yale University in 1942. He served as a U.S. Naval Air Corps aviator in World War II. His avocations ranged from boxing and badminton to songwriting and newspaper cartooning.

His first novel,

Madame Will Not Dine Tonight

, was published in 1947 and began a long string of mysteries in which the characters used real police techniques to solve mysteries.

- AP