Seymour Shubin, 93, of Paoli, a best-selling mystery writer, died Sunday, Nov. 2, at his home of complications from an earlier fall.
Mr. Shubin's books were reviewed in The Inquirer, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Daily News, and other publications.
He was an influential part of the Philadelphia literary scene in the 1970s and 1980s, winning many major awards for fiction writing.
Mr. Shubin was born in Philadelphia to Isadore and Ida Shubin, Russian immigrants active in the Jewish community. His father ran a furniture store, I. Shubin & Son, on South Street for four decades. The family lived in Olney.
At age 14, Mr. Shubin became interested in writing, buying an ancient typewriter from a friend. He began his 70-year career by writing short stories; as a teen, his first "real sale" was to a newspaper syndicate for $5.
Not wishing to join the family business, Mr. Shubin enrolled in Temple University to study journalism. "He was the first of his family to go to college," said his son, Neil.
He contributed pieces to the school's humor and literary magazine, the Owl, becoming the first freshman to publish stories in the magazine. Eventually, he became editor in chief.
During the early years of World War II, Mr. Shubin served briefly in the Army before receiving a medical discharge. He wrote and drew cartoons for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.
Mr. Shubin's first job after graduating from Temple was as an associate editor for Official Detective Story Magazine, a true-crime publication.
He followed police as they investigated robberies, murders, and mob-related crimes, and came to know the suspects. The relationships he formed and the early look he got at the gritty world of crime showed up in his fiction later, his son said.
After working for a time at Official Detective, a pulp-fiction magazine, he switched to freelance writing.
Mr. Shubin's first novel, Anyone's My Name, published by Simon & Schuster, was a suspense story told by a murderer. It became an instant New York Times bestseller in 1953.
"Shubin's style is crisp, never, never dull," the Inquirer's review read. "With inexorable drive ... he carries his story through to its grim and shocking conclusion. He is a storyteller with a terrific punch."
Mr. Shubin took a hiatus from freelancing for a decade, to work at Smith, Kline & French pharmaceuticals and J.B. Lippincott & Co. He served the drug company as an external publications writer, and the book publisher in production and design. "He wanted a stable income to raise a family," his son said.
In the mid-1970s, he returned to freelancing, and began to master the psychological suspense thriller, which became his signature.
His first effort, The Captain (Stein & Day, 1982), received wide acclaim. Publishers Weekly wrote that the book was "a towering novel that builds to a heart-clutching peak and leaves one profoundly affected."
In his ninth decade, Mr. Shubin returned to shorter pieces, publishing books of stories and poetry. He published 15 novels and won numerous awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Special Award; Philadelphia Athenaeum Annual Special Citation for Fiction; Potpourri Magazine's best short story of the year award; and the Temple University Alumni Award.
Mr. Shubin's writings and papers are archived at the Temple University Libraries.
Besides his son, he is survived by his wife, Gloria Amet Shubin; daughter Jennifer Levine; and four grandchildren.
Services were Tuesday, Nov. 4. Mr. Shubin was interred at Haym Salomon Memorial Park, Frazer.
Contributions may be made to the Jewish National Fund via www.jnf.org.