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Benjamin Appel Edit Profile


Benjamin Appel was an American novelist specializing in detective and crime fiction, sometimes from a radical perspective.


Appel, Benjamin was born on September 13, 1907 in New York City. Son of Louis and Bassie (Mikofsky) Appel. Benjamin Appel grew up in Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. It was this experience that he drew upon when writing his novels. He lived most of his life in Roosevelt, New Jersey, and died there in 1977.


Before he began earning a living from his writing, he was a bank clerk, farmer, lumberjack, factory-hand and a housing inspector for New York City. Writer, 1929-1977; mechanic Republic Aviation Corporation, Farmingdale, New York, 1943. With Office Civilian Defense, Washington, 1943-1944. Special writer to Paul V. McNutt, chairman War Manpower Commission, Washington, 1944-1945.

Special assistant to the United States High Commissioner McNutt, Manila, Philippines, 1945-1946. Special consultant to Secretary of Interior Julius A. Krug, 1946. Associate with John Steelman, director Office War Mobilization and Reconversion, 1946-1947.

Visiting author University of Pennsylvania, spring 1974.

He began writing short stories and was published in both literary and slick magazines. "Brain Guy" was his first novel, followed by fifteen others. In 1945 and 1946 he was sent as historian/journalist with the McNutt Mission to the Philippines. Returning to the States, he moved to Roosevelt, New Jersey, a New Deal resettlement town, where he lived with his wife and three daughters and wrote both fiction and nonfiction until he died in 1977.


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    • Brain Guy, aka The Enforcer (1934)

    • Four Roads to Death, aka Gold and Flesh (1935)

    • Runaround (1937)

    • The Power-House (1939)

    • The Dark Stain (1943)

    • But Not Yet Slain (1947)

    • Plunder (1952)

    • Dock Walloper (1953)

    • Life and Death of a Tough Guy, aka Teen-Age Mobster (1955)

    • Hell's Kitchen, aka Alley Kids (1956)


Married Sophie Marshak, October 31, 1936. Children: Carla, Willa Suzie, Marianna Consideration.

Carla Appel