Philippe de Baleine, a "prominent French journalist and magazine editor who pursued a parallel career as a prolific author, often writing under a pseudonym," died June 7, the New York Times reported. He was 96. Author of some 50 novels and nonfiction books, de Baleine received two prizes from the Académie Française, including one for Voyage Espiègle et Romanesque sur le Petit Train du Congo (1993), which "chronicled a trip of more than 300 miles aboard a train that connected Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, to the city of Pointe-Noire on the Atlantic Ocean."
The work was one of several books in which he recounted journeys on historic railroad lines in West Africa. In the 1990s, de Baleine began writing a detective series about the British royal family under the pseudonym Margaret Ring. He also wrote 10 detective novels under the pseudonym Philip Whale.
He was the editor-in-chief of Paris Match in the 1970s and '80s, and subsequently ran the French version of the women's magazine Marie Claire and the French scientific monthly Sciences & Vie, among other publications. As a journalist, he reported from West Africa and Southeast Asia, where he covered the first Indochina war, the Times noted.
"What he loved the most was long-form reporting, because those stories would send him far away for a pretty long time," said François Pédron, a friend who worked with de Baleine at Paris Match for about 15 years. "He would have peace for two months, and he was happy with that."