In Memoriam: Peter Haining

Award-winning journalist and author Peter Haining, perhaps best known for his Doctor Who books, has died suddenly at the age of 67, reportedly of a heart attack.

Haining, who lived in Suffolk, wrote a number of books about Doctor Who, starting with the 20th anniversary volume Doctor Who: A Celebration – Two Decades Through Time And Space in 1983.

Other titles followed such as The Key To Time: A Year-By-Year Record, The Doctor Who File, The Time-Travellers’ Guide, Doctor Who: 25 Glorious Years and The Nine Lives of Doctor Who.

Haining, who won the British Fantasy Awards Karl Edward Wagner Award in 2001, also wrote about fictional heroes Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Maigret and James Bond as well as editing many anthologies of horror and fantasy stories, and leaves a legacy of over 200 titles of various formats. (More credits here via WordPress)

In an interview published on Crime Time, it’s revealed he began writing at school and never stopped, moving from newspapers to magazines to book publishing, before becoming a freelance writer in the early 1970s. Enthusiastic and prolific in equal measure, he was considered by many a name to be reckoned with in the world of mystery fiction.

Peter Haining’s most recent project was a series of World War Two stories based on extensive research and personal interviews such as The Jail That Went To Sea, The Mystery of Rommel’s Gold, Where The Eagle Landed and The Banzai Hunters.

Describing himself as a writer for hire, he had a practical approach to coming up with new book ideas.

“I’m a great clipper and tearer of items out of magazines, and these I file away under subject,” he told Crime Time. “I often find books grow out of those cuttings. I also believe that if you have an idea for a book and try it on two or three contemporaries and they say no, then fine, put it away and wait. Ideas have their own times, and certain ideas are appropriate for certain publishers. Quite often I will fire off an idea to a publisher I may not have dealt with before, and what’s lost if they say no?

“I’ve always moved on from one thing to the next, and the ideas just seem to keep on flowing, or things keep on getting offered to me. I’m a writer for hire – that’s what I’ve been doing for thirty years, and that’s what I enjoy doing.”

Peter Haining: Born Enfield, Middlesex, UK 2 April, 1940, died November 19, 2007

Update 3/12/07: Steve Holland has posted a detailed obit on Bear Alley

Categories: Doctor Who, Obituaries

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