William Ard

(Photo & signature courtesy of his wife Eileen Hendrick)

William Ard has been one of the most elusive writers in the collecting world.

Odd for a man who was one of the most popular hardboiled writers of the 1950s. He was praised by critics from the St. Louis Dispatch to the New York Times.

Few imagined the dark side of the city and the entertainment business better than William Ard. When he turned his gaze west, he gave life to one of the genre’s most enduring heroes.

Today his name is all but forgotten. His hardboiled titles are scarce. His paperback titles in fine condition are nearly impossible to find.

While he went by many names, he is essentially a man of two faces. Ard was the creator of hard-hitting detective Timothy Dane of New York and an even harder living and loving detective, Lou Largo, of Florida.

Under the pseudonym of Jonas Ward, Ard gave birth to the friendly and deadly western drifter Tom Buchanan.

When Ard died, so did Dane. Largo lived on in a couple more books written by a ghost writers, one of whom who went on to become very famous in his own right.

Ard’s friendly, deadly, reluctant western hero, Tom Buchanan, grew stronger with each reincarnation by successive authors and numerous printings.

Ard wrote more than 30 novels in 10 years. Then he was gone. Who was William Ard?

My journey began with that question.

9 Responses to “Preface”

  1. Tim Ohr Says:

    When I was 7 years old, I spent a great deal of time in Bill Ard’s house in Bellaire, Florida, where my family moved from New Jersey. Because the Ards had come from the east coast too, our families were briefly close as we lived on the top of Evonaire Circle and the Ards lived on Rosary Road which served as the bottom of the circle. Every boy child in our small city was inspired by Bill to become writers one way or the other. A few of us did. I have based a character in my second, unpublished novel, Cheap Tricks, on Bill Ard. I believe his daughteer Eileen has contacted you with how to access it. Of course, I am a writer, five books in print, one novel coming March 31 – Under the Gun. I can remember being inspired to write science fiction and westerns as early as the age of eight due to Bill’s presence. He and was wife Eileen were very gracious people, and Bill was exceptionally smart. I believe he had been in the Marines during World War II.

  2. higheredmarketingblog Says:

    Thanks for your note and insight. If you have any other memories, please send them on. Also, if you have a website for your books, send me the url and I’ll share it with readers. I would, as is obvious, love to know everything I can about William Ard to share with others around the world who may be interested.

  3. Fender Tucker Says:

    Francis M. Nevins, who knows more about old mysteries and their authors than almost anyone, mentioned to me that he knew the daughter of William Ard and suggested we work out a deal where many of Ard’s classic books can get reprinted. So I met Elaine (via e-mail) and the project has started. So far we’ve got six of the mystery novels back in print in the form of three “doubles”, one each for Timothy Dane, Lou Largo and Danny Fontaine. We have others planned.

    I was an Ard fan before I started publishing and projects like this make me happy. Check out the titles at the Ramble House web site and let me know which ones you want me to work on next for the 4th, 5th and 6th doubles.

  4. Dennis R. Miller Says:

    I hope folks get back to Fender on this wonderful project. I know Ard has been pretty much forgotten over the years but since my website went up a few years ago, I notice more and more Ard vintage paperbacks on eBay and the price has gone up which means he’s become collectible again. This, along with Francis M. Nevins’ work, which I try to cite and credit as much as possible, has also helped a lot.
    Fender Tucker has been a godsend by getting the books back in print and available. Please spread the word and ask others to support Fender’s efforts!

  5. Says:

    I personally would like to bookmark this particular post, “William Ard”
    on my very own web site. Do you care in the event I reallydo?
    Many thanks -Jens

  6. Elizabeth Says:

    Rather than reading the Archer stories solely as mysteries, thrillers, entertainments, and detective stories (though of course they can exist solely on that level for readers who are interested in them as such), we’d do ourselves a favor to consider them in a few other ways as well. In the massive reference work World Authors 1950-1970, published by the H.H. Wilson Company, Macdonald wrote that The Galton Case and Black Money “are probably my most complete renderings of the themes of smothered allegiance and uncertain identity which my work inherited from my early years.” Of course, in Black Money the smothered allegiance occurs between the lovers Ginny Fablon and Tappinger.

  7. Jonathan Says:

    Thanks for sharing Bill Ard with us. I love vintage western and recently bought a box full of second hand ones at a fund raiser. I started reading Wards Buchanan on the prod and always look for copy rights which was in Eileen Ards name which got me on the trail. I find the older western more enjoyable. Ard is hard boiled in this, but not over the top. He has an interesting writing style that is not boring in presentation like some authors can become. His action is fresh and not readily predictable.

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