Weiner, Ellis 1950–
Weiner, Ellis 1950–
PERSONAL: Born October 31, 1950; married; children: two. Education: University of Pennsylvania, graduated 1972.
ADDRESSES: Home—PA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Chronicle Books, 85 2nd St., 6th Fl., San Francisco, CA 94105.
CAREER: Writer. National Lampoon, Los Angeles, CA, editor, 1976–78.
The Great Muppet Caper (based on a screenplay by Tom Patchett and others), Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1981.
National Lampoon's Doon, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1984.
Decade of the Year, Dutton (New York, NY), 1987.
The Dream Team (novel; based on a screenplay by Jon Connolly and David Loucka), Berkley Books (New York, NY), 1989.
(With Sydney Biddle Barrows) Mayflower Manners: Etiquette for Consenting Adults, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1990.
Letters from Cicely: A Book (based on the television series Northern Exposure), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1992.
The Northern Exposure Cookbook: A Community Cookbook from the Heart of the Alaskan Riviera, Contemporary Books (Chicago, IL), 1993.
The Joy of Worry, illustrated by Roz Chast, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2004.
(With Barbara Davilman) Yiddish with Dick and Jane, illustrated by Gabi Payn, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2004.
Santa Lives! Five Conclusive Arguments for the Existence of Santa Claus, Riverhead (New York, NY), 2005.
"PETE INGALLS" MYSTERY SERIES
Drop Dead, My Lovely, New American Library (New York, NY), 2004.
The Big Boat to Bye-Bye, New American Library (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including National Lampoon, Spy, New Yorker, Paris Review, and New York Times Magazine.
SIDELIGHTS: Since the early 1980s, former National Lampoon editor Ellis Weiner has published both fiction and nonfiction, his subject matter ranging from the benefits of worry and the existence of Santa Claus to Yiddish slang and Alaskan cooking.
In 2004 Weiner published the first novel in a series of mock detective stories featuring Pete Ingalls, a bookstore clerk who turned private investigator after a skull-crushing run-in with a pile of books. In Drop Dead, My Lovely Weiner shares the story of the fateful accident that led Ingalls to set up shop as a character straight out of his favorite detective novels, and follows him as he bungles his way through his first cases. Allreaders.com contributor Harriet Klausner called the book "an outstanding reading experience," adding, "the best part of Ellis Weiner's novel is the dialogue. Pete sounds like an anachronistic Phillip Marlow clone in a twenty-first-century context and that makes for a hilarious novel." Kevin Burton Smith, writing for Mystery Scene, called Drop Dead, My Lovely "the stuff that comedic dreams are made of" and commended Weiner for giving readers "an honest-to-goodness mystery to solve."
Weiner's second book in the "Pete Ingalls" series, titled The Big Boat to Bye-Bye, has Ingalls tackling a blackmail case in which lewd photographs of the puppet stars of a children's television show are held for ransom. In an MBR Bookwatch review, Klausner remarked, "The blackmail turning into a homicide investigation is cleverly conceived so that fans of Hollywood Noir receive an enjoyable often amusing one reel tale." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented that Weiner "uses a rapid-fire technique that sprays gags and gimmicks—some wildly off-target, some dead-on—in a parody of the hard-boiled PI novel."
Yiddish with Dick and Jane, which Weiner coauthored with television writer Barbara Davilman, parodies the "Dick and Jane" series of reading primers from the mid-twentieth century. Also published in 2004, Weiner's The Joy of Worry, illustrated by Roz Chast, pokes fun at the national pastime of worrying, revealing the "secrets" of harnessing worry to lose weight, become a more effective parent, and make more money. Weiner sets out to prove the existence of Father Christmas once and for all in Santa Lives! Five Conclusive Arguments for the Existence of Santa Claus, released in 2005.
Several of Weiner's earlier works include National Lampoon's Doon, a spoof on Frank Herbert's Dune series, in which a sugar-coated planet is found to harbor the much-treasured resource: beer; Mayflower Manners: Etiquette for Consenting Adults, a guide to good manners during erotic encounters, written with Sydney Biddle Barrows; and two books inspired by the popular early 1990s television series Northern Exposure: Letters from Cicely: A Book, excerpts from letters written by the show's fictional characters, and The Northern Exposure Cookbook: A Community Cookbook from the Heart of the Alaskan Riviera, with recipes and commentary from the show.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Entertainment Weekly, January 14, 1994, Erica Kornberg, review of The Northern Exposure Cookbook: A Community Cookbook from the Heart of the Alaskan Riviera, p. 49.
MBR Bookwatch, March, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of The Big Boat to Bye-Bye.
Publishers Weekly, January 19, 2004, review of Drop Dead, My Lovely, p. 56; February 28, 2005, review of The Big Boat to Bye-Bye, p. 45.
Allreaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (July 14, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Drop Dead, My Lovely.
Mystery Scene, http://www.mysteryscenemag.com/ (July 14, 2005), Kevin Burton Smith, review of Drop Dead, My Lovely.