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For specific kinds of Kansas literature, see:
Children and Young Adult

Crime and Outlaw


Farm Novels

Literary Magazines




Race and Immigrant

Small Town Novels

Selected Works

Mystery and Detective

      Rex Stout (1886 -1975) grew up in Topeka and attended the University of Kansas.  He created Nero Wolfe and assistant Archie Goodwin in Fer-de-Lance (1934).  After 1938 he published annually up to his death.
      James P. Girard (b. 1944) first published a literary novel, Changing All Those Changes (1974), set in Wichita, and then began writing literary detective novels set in the same place. The Late Man (1993) and Some Survive (2002) share characters, as well.
      Nancy Pickard (b. 1945) lives and works in Prairie Village.  Although her first series of detective novels were set in Massachusetts, PI Jennie Cain came to the Kansas Flint Hills in Bum Steer (1990).  Pickard’s most recent novel, The Virgin of Small Plains (2006), is the first of several that the author plans to set in Kansas.
      Gaylord Dold (b. 1957) created PI Mitch Roberts in his 6 Wichita novels, beginning with the 1987 publication of three novels: Hot Summer, Cold Murder; Snake Eyes; and Cold Cash.   Bone Pile (1988), Muscle and Blood (1989) and Disheveled City (1990) followed soon after.  The latest Mitch Roberts is Semedi’s Knapsack (2001).  Dold has also published literary novels and travel books.
      Sara Paretsky (b. 1947) was raised in Lawrence, but most of her mystery novels have been set in Chicago, where both she and her detective, V.I. Warshawski, live.  Bleeding Kansas (2008), not a mystery novel, is about two families who have been in Kansas for 150 years, and how their lives are affected by war, and by changing sexual and religious values and practices.
      Vincent S. Green was born (1953) in Wichita and raised in Hutchinson. He is a 1978 graduate of Washburn University Law School. He is the author of two novels. The Price of Victory (New American Library/Signet, 1993) is mystery and detection. Extreme Justice (Pocket, 1995) is true crime, taking place in Oklahoma and Fort Leavenworth and telling the story of German POWs who kill a fellow POW (who is a traitor), and chronicling their trial and finally their execution by hanging at Fort Leavenworth..