Leighton Gage, Crime Novelist, Dies at 71
By DANIEL E. SLOTNIK
Published: August 2, 2013
Leighton Gage, a former advertising man from New Jersey who found a second career writing crime novels about a Brazilian police detective, died on July 26 at his home in Ocala, Fla. He was 71.
The cause was pancreatic cancer, his agent, Jacques de Spoelberch, said.
Mr. Gage, who had lived in Brazil part time since 1973, was 66 when his first book, “Blood of the Wicked,” was published in 2008. His lead character, Chief Inspector Mario Silva, is an officer of the Federal Police willing to resort to illegal methods when crooked officials impede justice.
“That’s the odd thing about this detective: the elasticity of his ethics, not his essential integrity, is what makes him irresistible,” a review of his fourth book, “Every Bitter Thing” in The New York Times Book Review said.
Mr. Gage said he based Inspector Silva on two police officers he knew. He chose the Federal Police because he considered them the least compromised Brazilian crime fighting force, and because they had national jurisdiction, which allowed Inspector Silva to explore more of Brazil.
Mr. Gage wrote about organ theft, child prostitution and other social ills in five more books featuring Inspector Silva. (A seventh, “The Ways of Evil Men,” is to be published early next year.)
Mr. Gage’s books have been translated into French, Italian, Finnish and Dutch, but not Portuguese, the language of Brazil.
Leighton Gage was born on May 13, 1942, in Rahway, N.J. He worked as a creative director for what is now Lowe, Lintas & Partners, and lived in Australia, Europe and South America before he became a writer.
He married Eide Puósso de Britto in 1980. They split time between their home in Santana do Parnaiba, a village near São Paolo, and Florida.
She survives him, as do their two daughters, Melina Gage Ratcliffe and Alana Gage; two daughters from a previous marriage, Danielle Monstma-Gage and Stephanie Gage; and five grandchildren. Though Mr. Gage’s books tackled social issues, he was careful not to sacrifice story to moralism.
“I try and do it subtly,” he told the book blog mcreads.com. “I don’t force that sort of thing down readers’ throats.”