Daley, Robert 1930-
DALEY, Robert 1930-
PERSONAL: Born May 10, 1930; son of Arthur (a newspaper columnist) and Betty Daley; married Peggy Ernest, 1954; children: Theresa, Suzanne, Leslie Anne. Education: Fordham University, B.A., 1951. Hobbies and other interests: Tennis.
CAREER: New York Giants football team, New York, NY, publicity director, 1953-58; New York Times, New York, NY, foreign correspondent in Europe and North Africa, 1959-64; deputy police commissioner, New York City Police Department, 1971-72; writer and freelance photographer. Has exhibited work in Baltimore Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, and New York Gallery of Modern Art. Military service: U.S. Air Force, 1951-52.
MEMBER: Authors Guild.
The World beneath the City, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1960.
Cars at Speed: The Grand Prix Circuit, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1961.
The Bizarre World of European Sports, Morrow (New York, NY), 1963.
The Cruel Sport, illustrated with photographs by Daley, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1963, revised edition published as The Cruel Sport: Grand Prix Racing, 1959-1967, Motorbooks International (St. Paul, MN), 2005.
The Swords of Spain, illustrated with photographs by Daley, Dial (New York, NY), 1966.
The Whole Truth, New American Library (New York, NY), 1967.
Only a Game, New American Library (New York, NY), 1968.
A Priest and a Girl, World Publishing (New York, NY), 1969.
(Editor) James McCracken and Sandra Warfield, A Star in the Family: An Autobiography in Diary Form, Coward (New York, NY), 1971.
Target Blue: An Insider's View of the N.Y.P.D., Delacorte (New York, NY), 1973.
Strong Wine, Red as Blood (novel), Harper Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1975.
To Kill a Cop, Crown (New York, NY), 1976.
The Fast One, Crown (New York, NY), 1977.
Treasure, Random House (New York, NY), 1977.
Prince of the City: The Story of a Cop Who Knew Too Much, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1978, published with a new foreword by Rudolph Giuliani, Warner (New York, NY), 1994.
An American Saga: Juan Trippe and His Pan Am Empire, Random House (New York, NY), 1980.
Year of the Dragon (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1981.
The Dangerous Edge (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1983.
Hands of a Stranger, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1985.
Man with a Gun, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1988.
A Faint Cold Fear: A Novel, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.
Portraits of France, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1991.
Tainted Evidence: A Novel, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1993.
Wall of Brass: A Novel, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1994.
Nowhere to Run, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1996.
The Innocents Within, Villard (New York, NY), 1999.
Enemy of God, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2005.
Contributor of fiction, articles, and photographs to American Heritage, Saturday Evening Post, Reader's Digest, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, New York Times Magazine, Playboy, Vogue, New York, Life, Newsweek, and other periodicals.
ADAPTATIONS: The Cruel Sport was adapted as a film and released under the title Grand Prix by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1966; To Kill a Cop was adapted for television and produced as a four-hour miniseries by the National Broadcasting Corporation, Inc. (NBC) in 1978, and was the basis of the television series Eischied, produced by NBC, 1979-80; Prince of the City was adapted as a film and released by Warner Brothers in 1981; Year of the Dragon was adapted as a film and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1985; Hands of a Stranger was adapted for television and produced as a four-hour miniseries by NBC in 1987; Tainted Evidence was adapted by director Sidney Lumet and released as Night Falls on Manhattan, a 1997 feature film.
SIDELIGHTS: Robert Daley is a prolific writer of both fiction and nonfiction. His books have covered a wide range of topics, including bullfighting in The Swords of Spain, celibacy and the priesthood in A Priest and a Girl, wine production in Strong Wine, Red as Blood, and police corruption in Prince of the City: The Story of a Cop Who Knew Too Much. While most of his work has been well received by readers and reviewers alike, it is his stories of police corruption, politics, and intrigue that have made him a best-selling author and attracted national attention. A former deputy police commissioner for the city of New York, Daley brings first-hand experience to his police books and effectively recreates the inner working of a large metropolitan police bureau.
Target Blue: An Insider's View of the N.Y.P.D. is Daley's account of his year as deputy police commissioner with the New York City police department. He details the events that led up to his one-year public-relations position with the force, as well as the things that happened during his year on the job. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly believed that Target Blue is "overwhelming in its total depiction of the cop's lot on every level—patrolman, detective, precinct chief, top brass. It is compulsive reading from first to last. If it is flawed by lurid moments, so is a cop's life. Daley's narrative sums up a year of anxiety, humiliation, terror." L. W. Lindsay remarked in the Christian Science Monitor that "while Target Blue confirms a lot of the worst charges made against the police, its total effect is to create appreciation for—even admiration of—the lowly patrolmen. And the 'insider's view of the N.Y.P.D.' promised on the jacket—the Knapp commission hearings, the aftermath of 'French Connection,' the enigmatic commissioner Murphy and his handpicked lieutenants—is just fascinating."
Daley's Prince of the City is the true story of undercover police officer Robert Leuci and his special assignment to the Knapp Commission. The Knapp Commission was established to investigate charges of corruption within the New York Police Department. Daley became familiar with Leuci's undercover investigations during the year he served as deputy police commissioner. When Leuci asked him to help tell the story of his work for the Knapp Commission, Daley became interested in Leuci's view of it and agreed to write Prince of the City. Although Daley initially experienced difficulty finding a publisher for the book, Prince of the City quickly achieved bestseller status and was adapted as a successful film soon after. Throughout the years, Prince of the City has remained Daley's best-known work.
Most critics found Prince of the City to be a gripping account of big city police corruption and politics, and of one man's struggle to do the right thing when faced with formidable obstacles. For example, J. A. Leonard remarked in Library Journal that Prince of the City is a "compelling drama of a man torn between loyalty to the police fraternity and the need to seek redemption for past indiscretions. . . . His efforts as an undercover agent led to the indictment of dishonest cops, crooked lawyers, and organized crime figures." Tony Schwartz, discussing the book in Newsweek, noted: "Right from the start, this fascinating true-life tale catches an unusually complicated hero in crisis. . . . By beginning with Leuci's most heroic gesture—the decision to go undercover—and showing his extraordinary skill in that role, Daley . . . builds enormous sympathy for the detective. In the second half of the book he intersperses details of Leuci's highly checkered past with the trials in which he begins to testify. All along, Leuci feels caught between two powerful standards of morality; one set by the law, the other developed by cops themselves to get by in a lawless world." Noting that the flawed yet noble policeman is a recurrent figure in contemporary literature, Ted Morgan in the New York Times Book Review stated that the story "has never been done better than in Prince of the City . . . Daley . . . has coaxed his sources into providing material that is guaranteed to raise the hair on the back of the neck of every reader."
In addition to his nonfiction police stories, Daley has written several novels involving police intrigue, mystery, and department politics, including To Kill a Cop, Year of the Dragon, The Dangerous Edge, Hands of a Stranger, and A Man with a Gun. Daley's experience with the police force informs his work and renders his novels "a cut above the usual police story," affirmed Richard R. Lingeman in a New York Times review. Lingeman added that the highlights of To Kill a Cop come "from his rather cynical insights into the bureaucratic intrigues of the [Police] Department. . . . When it comes to police procedure, . . . Daley could have written the manual." Daley's fiction was also praised by Anatole Broyard of the New York Times, who commented: "Mr. Daley seems to be thoroughly at home in the roomy house of fiction." Reviewing The Dangerous Edge Broyard wrote that there is "none of the awkwardness, forcing or stilted invention that spoils some suspense novels. . . . Mr. Daley also disturbs our complacency, but he does it without breaking any laws—even the laws, if such a conception still survives, of novel writing." Gerry Clark wrote in a Best Sellers review that The Dangerous Edge is "a psychological novel that peers into the soul of both criminal and policeman with equal, brutal honesty." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly concluded that "Daley's knowledge of police procedure, his compassionate insight into human nature and his talent as a storyteller add up here to a gripping detective novel that is also a romantic, moving love story."
In the novel Wall of Brass, Daley focuses on the top tier of the New York police force. The story begins with the discovery of the police commissioner's body; he has been shot to death and found miles from his home. Heading up the investigation is the commissioner's old partner, Bert Farber. The two men compete for many things, including the woman who eventually became the commissioner's wife. The investigation turns up many unpleasant secrets about the dead man, whose aspirations to the U.S. presidency led him to commit many manipulative, ruthless acts. Furthermore, Farber's quest for truth is complicated by the machinations of two men who are, like him, under consideration to take over the commissioner's post. This is "a tightly plotted, involving tale of law and disorder," recommended Mary Carroll in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly reviewer also found this thriller "first-rate," adding, "the author displays his bone-deep knowledge of New York cops and criminals."
With his novel Nowhere to Run, published in 1996, Daley "crafts a crisp and intricate thriller about two detectives and two police systems that, for all its high-spirited writing, runs seriously dark at the end," acknowledged a Publishers Weekly writer. The story concerns a maverick New York policeman who has angered his superiors. Taken off an important case, in danger from a violent drug dealer he has crossed, and struggling with a collapsing marriage, Jack Dilger heads for the French Riviera. There he begins a romance with a French policewoman, Madeleine Leclerq. She, like him, has been forced out of active duty. Their interlude turns deadly when both realize they are being hunted by their enemies. "Daley is like a master mason: anyone can mortar bricks together, but it takes a craftsman to erect a memorable structure. One won't soon forget Jack Dilger and Madeleine Leclerq," claimed Wes Lukowsky in Booklist.
France was also the setting for The Innocents Within, a novel based on a true story. It is set during the bitterly cold winter of 1944, in a small Protestant village in the Massif Central region. The pastor of the village church courageously aided Jews, Allied pilots, and ordinary German citizens fleeing the Nazi regime. In the story, a young pilot and a Jewish girl fall in love while sheltering at the pastor's home. In addition to romance, the novel is propelled by suspense and many moral dilemmas faced by the characters. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented, "Daley precisely details communications, methods and logistics in the underground and in the bureaucracy bent on destroying it. The wartime romance at times seems as naive as the lovers themselves, but Daley's portrait of clear-sighted heroism in a historical moment marked by moral crises is compelling."
Aside from his books on police corruption and mystery thrillers, Daley has written a number of works of nonfiction that have also been very well received. One such publication is The Swords of Spain, a book about bullfighting that includes nearly 200 photographs taken by Daley at bullfights in Spain. Robert Lipsyte remarked in the New York Times that "this book is probably the finest general introduction to the art-sport, and, as an emotional, educational and esthetic experience, the next thing to a good afternoon in the plaza." Barnaby Conrad commented in the New York Times Book Review: "Robert Daley has created a fine, accurate, informative and, incidentally, beautiful book. . . . This volume will gladden many a heart, for besides his many superb photographs, Daley's word portraits . . . are incisive and informative—unromantic looks at the leaders of a much romanticized profession. They give the best idea of what a bullfighter's life is really like that I have read anywhere."
Another of Daley's nonfiction works to garner good reviews is his biography of Juan Trippe and the history of Pan Am Airways. A Booklist reviewer commented that An American Saga: Juan Trippe and His Pan Am Empire is "another excellent account of the aviation and corporate pioneers who built air empires. [This] neat combination of biography and history also . . . discusses the advantages [Pan Am] helped to make in long-distance flights, aerial navigation, and the introduction of jumbo jets." Anne Chamberlin wrote in Saturday Review that An American Saga "is a mesmerizing account of the early buccaneering days of American commercial aviation that will keep you gasping for breath, clutching for your seatbelt, and once in a while . . . wiping away a tear. By the time the story winds down . . . you find you've rolled through five pages of financial tables and all the chapter source notes without thinking to put on the brakes."
Discussing his approach to writing with Robert Dahlin for Publishers Weekly, Daley reflected: "You have to suck the reader in on the first page and never let him go. . . . You have to write a book that he wants to read more than he wants to do anything else in the world." He observed that over the years he has moved away from writing nonfiction: "With nonfiction, you have to start with a ferocious curiosity which I had for things like cars and bullfighting. But it's not likely that I'll fall into anything new like that again." Daley firmly believes that fiction should be written in a plain style, stating, "In novels, the writer has no right to interfere with the emotions of the story. . . . It's not right to point out, 'Hey, look at how beautifully I write!' I don't want to think up similes that will stop a reader in his tracks."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Best Sellers, November 15, 1969; July, 1980; October, 1983.
Booklist, May 1, 1980; February 15, 1993, Eloise Kinney, review of Tainted Evidence, p. 1038; October 1, 1994, Mary Carroll, review of Wall of Brass, p. 241; August, 1996, Wes Lukowsky, review of Nowhere to Run, p. 1853; July, 1999, Grace Fill, review of The Innocents Within, p. 1893.
Book Week, May 7, 1967.
Buffalo News, September 3, 2000, Ed Kelly, review of The Innocents Within, p. E5.
Christian Science Monitor, July 5, 1973; July 6, 1977.
Cosmopolitan, September, 1985, Carol E. Rinzler, review of Hands of a Stranger, p. 34.
Entertainment Weekly, December 9, 1994, Gene Lyons, review of Wall of Brass, p. 71.
Library Journal, December 15, 1963; November 1, 1969; March 15, 1973; November 15, 1978; August, 1985, review of Hands of a Stranger, p. 114; September 15, 1990, Judith A. Gifford, review of A Faint Cold Fear, p. 98; June 15, 1991, Ron Chepesiuk, review of Portraits of France, p. 94; October 1, 1991, Jodi L. Israel, review of A Faint Cold Fear, p. 158; August, 1999, David W. Henderson, review of The Innocents Within, p. 136.
Listener, August 10, 1967.
Newsweek, April 17, 1967; June 11, 1973; January 29, 1979.
New York Times, May 13, 1966; April 14, 1967; April 17, 1972; May 21, 1975; November 12, 1976; April 28, 1977; April 28, 1978; June 21, 1979; August 13, 1983; October 3, 1983; August 25, 1985, Perry Glasser, review of Hands of a Stranger, p. 16; February 15, 1988, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Man with a Gun, p. 17; October 27, 1999, Alan Riding, review of The Innocents Within, p. B1.
New York Times Book Review, April 3, 1966; November 2, 1969; May 27, 1973; February 10, 1974; November 14, 1976; May 1, 1977; May 14, 1978; January 7, 1979; November 29, 1981; August 13, 1983; September 25, 1983; August 25, 1985; February 28, 1988, Richard Lourie, review of Man with a Gun, p. 7; October 14, 1990, Robert Stuart Nathan, review of A Faint Cold Fear, p. 44; July 28, 1991, Tracy Cochran, review of Portraits of France, p. 25; April 18, 1993, Scott Heller, review of Tainted Evidence, p. 22; October 9, 1994, review of Josh Rubins, review of Wall of Brass, p. 24.
Observer, October 16, 1983.
People, September 16, 1985, Campbell Geeslin, review of Hands of a Stranger, p. 22; May 9, 1988, Eric Levin, review of Man with a Gun, p. 129; June 12, 1989, John Stark, review of Cop Talk: Behind the Shield, p. 14.
Publishers Weekly, April 2, 1973; December 10, 1973; July 18, 1977; November 13, 1978; September 4, 1981; June 10, 1983; June 29, 1984; June 28, 1985; February 28, 1986, John Mutter, review of Treasure, p. 119; December 25, 1987, Sybil Steinberg, review of Man with a Gun, p. 62; August 10, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of A Faint Cold Fear, p. 433; May 24, 1991, review of Portraits of France, p. 41; January 25, 1993, review of Tainted Evidence, p. 76; August 29, 1994, review of Wall of Brass, p. 60; October 17, 1994, Robert Dahlin, interview with Robert Daley, p. 57; August 12, 1996, review of Nowhere to Run, p. 62; July 26, 1999, review of The Innocents Within, p. 58.
Saturday Review, December 16, 1967; April 5, 1975; May, 1980.
Time, April 21, 1967.
Virginia Quarterly Review, winter, 1976.
Washington Post Book World, October 19, 1969; January 21, 1979; July 10, 1980; August 19, 1983.