PERSONAL: Born in New York, NY. Education: Vassar College, B.A.
ADDRESSES: Home—CT. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Knopf Publishing, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Writer. Worked previously in financial services and banking software industries.
AWARDS, HONORS: Shamus Award for Best First Novel, for Black Maps, 2004.
Black Maps, Knopf (New York, NY), 2003.
Death's Little Helpers, Knopf (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Peter Spiegelman started his career in financial services and software, spending more than twenty years between a major Wall Street firm and a banking software company, before turning his attention toward fiction writing. He retired from business in 2001 and began working on his first novel, Black Maps, which was published in 2003. In 2004 the book won the Shamus Award for Best First Novel. Spiegelman capitalizes on his previous work experience in his story of John March, a policeman from the country who becomes a private investigator in the big city, after turning down a comfortable position leading the family-owned bank. March fails to escape the world of finance, however, as once he begins work as an investigator, he gets involved in a case concerning a bank under federal investigation and a banker who is being blackmailed. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews remarked that "March is a strong and fatalistic character with a flawless nose for bull," noting the novel is "not so much a who-dun-it as a who-didn't," and pronounced it "a provocative debut." Miles Klein, in a review for Kliatt, wrote that "the dialog here is absolutely crackling, the characters fascinating." In a review for Publishers Weekly, a contributor observed that "after a lengthy, but never boring, setup, Spiegelman's first novel pitches from one taut, suspenseful scene to another."
Spiegelman's follow-up novel, Death's Little Helpers, revisits John March as he delves into yet another financial mystery. When Gregory Danes, a financial analyst, disappears, his wife calls March in to determine what has happened to him. Danes has fallen on hard times at work, a fact that has his firm less than pleased. In fact, the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into his accounts due to suspicion of insider trading. March soon discovers that other, less savory private investigators are also looking into Danes's whereabouts, and that they are willing to threaten March in order to throw him off the trail. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews noted that "Spiegelman's dialogue does at times descend to talkiness,… but his is a serious talent that rewards interest now with better around the corner." Roland Person, writing for Library Journal, remarked upon the positive effect on the book of Spiegelman's "considerable writing skill, complicated yet fair plots … and the developing character of March." Frank Sennett, writing for Booklist, dubbed this second March novel an "uneven but ultimately satisfying sequel," while Mark Harris, in a review for Entertainment Weekly, called Spiegelman's sophomore effort "a solidly crafted missing-persons mystery."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2005, Frank Sennett, review of Death's Little Helpers, p. 1537.
Entertainment Weekly, July 22, 2005, Mark Harris, review of Death's Little Helpers, p. 83.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2003, review of Black Maps, p. 991; April 15, 2005, review of Death's Little Helpers, p. 448.
Kliatt, March, 2004, Miles Klein, review of Black Maps, p. 44.
Library Journal, June 1, 2003, Roland Person, review of Black Maps, p. 170; July 1, 2005, Roland Person, review of Death's Little Helpers, p. 59.
Publishers Weekly, August 12, 2002, "Sonny Mehta at Knopf Paid a 'Handsome' Six Figures for the Next Two Literary Thrillers by Peter Spiegelman Starring P.I. John March to Agent Denise Marcil for North American Rights," p. 140; July 28, 2003, review of Black Maps, p. 83.
Peter Spielgelman Home Page, http://www.peterspiegelman.com (February 4, 2006).