Obituary Note: Frederick Nolan 

British writer Frederick Nolan, a novelist, historian, publisher and an expert on the wild west gunslinger Billy the Kid, died June 15, the Guardian reported. He was 91. Nolan wrote more than 70 books--thrillers, historical fiction, romance, westerns, mysteries and biographies--in his own name, as well as under the pseudonyms Frederick H. Christian, Daniel Rockfern, Christine McGuire and Benjamin Rabier.

Among his best known works were the wartime thrillers The Oshawa Project (1974, published in the U.S. as The Algonquin Project), which was adapted into the film Brass Target; and The Mittenwald Syndicate (1976). A lover of American musicals, Nolan also wrote The Sound of Their Music: The Story of Rodgers & Hammerstein (1978) and Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway (1994).

His fascination with American old west dated to his childhood, and later focused on Billy the Kid. Nolan's books on the legendary outlaw include The Lincoln County War: A Documentary History (1992); Bad Blood: The Life and Times of the Horrell Brothers (1994); The West of Billy the Kid (1998), and The Billy the Kid Reader (2007).

"Certainly as a Billy the Kid historian and Lincoln County War historian, Fred reigned supreme," Albuquerque author and Billy the Kid historian Chuck Usmar told the Santa Fe New Mexican. "He's the touchstone for scholarship."

While working as a shipping clerk and typewriter salesman in Liverpool during the 1950s, Nolan became a connoisseur of western fiction and in 1954 co-founded of the English Westerners' Society, an offshoot of the U.S. society formed by those interested in the ways of the old west, the Guardian noted. His book The Life and Death of John Henry Tunstall (1965) was published by the University of New Mexico Press, "despite the young Englishman never having set foot in the U.S., let alone Lincoln County," the Guardian reported. 

Michael Legat, managing editor at Corgi Books, invited Nolan to become a reader for the publisher, which led to a staff job in 1960 and eventually to a post as European sales rep. Between 1969 and 1974, when he turned to writing full time, he ran publicity for Penguin, William Collins, Fontana and Granada in London, and Ballantine Books in New York.

"Meanwhile he was churning out western novels, at least 25 in eight years," the Guardian wrote. "For his books in the Sudden series, he named the characters after his publishing work colleagues, and more than one upright book man was surprised to find himself appearing in print as a 'cold-eyed killer.' " 

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