James Whelpley was born in Fairfax, VA, raised in central Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas-San Antonio with a bachelor’s in English, studying Greek and Roman classics, early western American literature, and South American poetry. Not knowing whether to eat his English degree or burn it for warmth, he began collecting jobs, driving an armored car, hanging billboards, working nights in hotels, a country and western dancehall, and as a police dispatcher. He went back to school and earned a couple BS’s and a doctorate in Chiropractic medicine from Parker University in Dallas. He currently works for the state of Texas in a regulatory capacity.
Whelpley counts Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Ross MacDonald among his heroes, with less hardboiled inspiration coming from the likes of John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, Jackie Mason, and Bugs Bunny.
His first two novels, Dancing in the Trap, and Tenerife, feature former merchant marine, Mickey Fairfax, pressed into duty as detective in the far away locales of Paris and the Canary Islands.