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Lyons, Arthur, Jr. 1946-2008 (Arthur Lyons)

Lyons, Arthur, Jr. 1946-2008 (Arthur Lyons)

OBITUARY NOTICE—

See index for CA sketch: Born January 5, 1946, in Los Angeles, CA; died of pneumonia after suffering a stroke, March 21, 2008, in Palm Springs, CA. Businessman and novelist. In his community of Palm Springs, California, Lyons was a restaurant owner, city council member, and cofounder of the Palm Springs Film Noir Festival. The B-film festival is a colorful annual event for which Lyons encouraged participants to dress in vintage clothing as gangsters and detectives of the 1940s and fifties, drive vintage cars, and enjoy the exhibits, collectibles, and films of the period. Elsewhere Lyons was known as the creator of the hard-boiled private eye Jacob Asch, as well known for his cynical turn of phrase as he was for his investigative prowess. Lyons introduced Asch in The Dead Are Discreet (1974), a thriller set in California involving religious cults and satanic ritual. Asch's adventures continued for twenty years in more than a dozen novels, including Dead Ringer (1977), in which Asch is called upon to help a professional boxer faced with a declining career, menacing telephone calls, and a married manager-slash-mistress with a dangerous husband. When the boxer is found dead in a brothel, Asch suspects murder. More recent titles include False Pretenses (1994), wherein Asch's client, who is not who he says he is, is murdered in the detective's own office while Asch is investigating the client's wife, who also is not who she is supposed to be. Lyons wrote tales of death, sex, and suspense typical of the same genre that spawned Mike Hammer, Philip Marlowe, and Sam Spade. Like some of his fictional colleagues, Asch found himself involved in a wide range of criminal settings, and Lyons researched all of them so thoroughly that he alternated his crime novels with nonfiction studies of cults, devil worship, pornography, and other nefarious activities. He also wrote How Not to Get Screwed by Your Attorney: What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself (1996) and Death on the Cheap: The Lost B Movies of Film Noir (2000).

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Los Angeles Times, March 27, 2008, p. B9.

Times (London, England), April 19, 2008, p. 70.

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