Paula Gosling

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Date: 2008
Document Type: Biography
Length: 1,061 words

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About this Person
Born: October 12, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, United States
Nationality: American
Occupation: Novelist
Other Names: Skinner, Ainslie; Gosling, Paula Louise
Updated:Jan. 3, 2008


Born October 12, 1939, in Detroit, MI; daughter of Paul (a design engineer and inventor) and Sylvie Osius; married Christopher Gosling, July, 1968 (divorced, 1978); married John A. Hare (a management accountant), September 17, 1981; children: (first marriage) Abigail Judith, Emily Elizabeth. Education: Wayne State University, B.A., 1962. Avocational Interests: Needlework, kite-flying. Memberships: Crime Writers' Association (chair, 1988-89), Mensa. Addresses: Home: Bath, England. Agent: Greene and Heaton Ltd., 37 Goldhawk Rd., London W12 8QQ, England.


Campbell-Ewald Co. (advertising agency), Detroit, MI, copywriter trainee, 1962-64; C. Mitchell & Co., London, England, copywriter, 1964-67, copy consultant, 1969-70; copywriter at advertising agencies in London, 1967-69; ATA Advertising, Bristol, England, copy consultant, 1976-79; full-time writer, 1979--.


John Creasey Memorial Award, 1978, for A Running Duck; Gold Dagger Award, 1986, for Monkey Puzzle; Arts Achievement Award, Wayne State University, 1993.




  • A Running Duck, Macmillan (London, England), 1978, published as Fair Game, Coward, 1979.
  • Zero Trap, Macmillan, 1979, Coward, 1980.
  • Loser's Blues, Macmillan (London, England), 1980, published as Solo Blues, Coward (New York, NY), 1981.
  • (Under pseudonym Ainslie Skinner) Mind's Eye, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1980, published as The Harrowing, Rawson, Wade (New York, NY), 1981.
  • The Woman in Red, Macmillan (London, England), 1983, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1984.
  • Monkey Puzzle, Macmillan (London, England), 1985, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1986.
  • The Wychford Murders, Macmillan (London, England), 1986, Doubleday, 1987.
  • Hoodwink, Macmillan (London, England), 1987, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1987.
  • Backlash, Macmillan (London, England), 1988, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1989.
  • Death Penalties, Scribner (New York, NY), 1991.
  • The Body in Blackwater Bay, Scribner (New York, NY), 1992.
  • A Few Dying Words, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1993.
  • The Dead of Winter, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.
  • Death and Shadows, Time Warner (New York, NY), 2000.
  • Underneath Every Stone, Time Warner (New York, NY), 2001.
  • Ricochet, Time Warner (New York, NY), 2003.

Also author of magazine serials, including "The Man in the Bicycle Shop," published in Woman, 1981.


A Running Duck was filmed twice by Warner Bros., in 1986 as Cobra, starring Sylvester Stallone, and in 1995 as Fair Game, starring Cindy Crawford.


Paula Gosling was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and went on to earn her undergraduate degree at Wayne State University. She began her career in advertising as a copywriter trainee with the Campbell-Ewald Company in Detroit, then eventually moved to England, where she held several copywriter positions before she began publishing crime novels. In 1979, she began writing fiction full time, preferring the mental gymnastics of crafting a mystery to any other profession. Gosling told CA: "Many people consider crime fiction to be a confining form, but I find in it a great challenge--and that is, to stick to the rule of playing fair with the reader, while bending and even breaking some of the other rules of form and content. Crime fiction allows me to show characters under the most intense pressure. Murder is the ultimate crime, and the ripples and vibrations it produces enable me not only to demonstrate each character's public personality, but also to gradually reveal the secret persona that hides behind it. It is that secret persona which drives someone to kill. Murder is an act of ego, and the killer's most primal motivation is simply this: 'you must die so I can live.' Crime writers today are encouraged to explore and experiment because their readers are knowledgeable and demanding--they want not only a challenging puzzle, but also a good, strong, well-written novel containing imaginative description, lively dialogue, and powerful characterization. That's why, in comparison to writing crime fiction, writing 'straight' novels seems like child's play to us--and these days often reads like it!"

Gosling's A Running Duck, which was later published as Fair Game, tells the story of Clare Randall, an advertising executive in San Francisco who has just decided not to marry her fiancé. While sitting in her car, brooding over her choice, she witnesses the start of an assassination attempt that is abruptly cut short, but has gone far enough to make Clare the assassin's new target. After she escapes several murder attempts, Clare finds herself working with the local police, in particular the police lieutenant who has been tracking the assassin for years. Hilary Williamson, in a review for, praised the book for its "non-stop action, with well realized characters, a developing relationship fueled by tough times, and plenty of close shaves to keep readers on an adrenaline high."

Death Penalties is one in a series of Gosling's novels that feature British Detective Chief Inspector Luke Abbott, who in this volume has recently transferred to London and is now working with Detective Sergeant Tim Nightingale. In this story, an American widow faces one trouble after another following her husband's death in a car accident. First her home is robbed, then she begins receiving strange phone calls, and finally her son develops rheumatic fever. When Detective Nightingale becomes suspicious that the husband's death was not an accident, he must convince Luke Abbott that the widow's problems are connected. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly called the book "an exciting tale that builds to a breathtaking finale in the London tube." Marilyn Stasio, writing for the New York Times Book Review, remarked: "The author has an especially fine touch with her characters, who all experience the malaise of dislocation."

A Few Dying Words is set in the United States, one of Gosling's crime novels that take place at the summer resort of Blackwater Bay on the Great Lakes. During a local Halloween festival known as "the Howl," Sheriff Matt Gabriel find himself dealing with more than the usual pranks and costumed partiers. In a review for Booklist, Emily Melton remarked: "Good writing, an inventive plot, and a nice balance of humor and horror make this an appealing mystery." A critic for Publishers Weekly noted the "deft plotting and an appealing cast." The Dead of Winter, another crime adventure set at Blackwater Bay, takes place during the local ice festival, and teams the sheriff with high school teacher Jess Gibbons as the two try to unravel the mysteries that link a dead student, a missing chemistry teacher who was part of the FBI witness protection program, and the dealer supplying drugs to the school. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked: "Gosling dramatizes the point that smooth and shiny surfaces can hide a lot of treachery."




Booklist, August, 1994, Emily Melton, review of A Few Dying Words, p. 2026.

New York Times Book Review, October 13, 1991, Marilyn Stasio, review of Death Penalties.

Publishers Weekly, July 12, 1991, review of Death Penalties, p. 55; July 11, 1994, review of A Few Dying Words, p. 67; December 4, 1995, review of The Dead of Winter, p. 55.

ONLINE, http:/ / (April 7, 2007), Hilary Williamson, review of A Running Duck.*

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000038331