Edward Whittemore, Writer, 62; Set Series of Novels in Jerusalem

Published: August 4, 1995

Edward P. Whittemore, a writer best known for his exotic "Jerusalem Quartet," a series of novels set in that city from the late 19th century until well after World War II, died yesterday at a hospice in Riverdale, the Bronx. He was 62 and most recently lived in Manhattan.

The cause was prostate cancer, said his literary agent, Thomas C. Wallace.

Mr. Whittemore, known as Ted, was born in Manchester, N.H., and graduated with a degree in history from Yale University in 1955. He served three years in the Marine Corps, until the Government sent him in 1958 to language school in Yokohama, Japan.

He worked for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1958 to 1967, stationed in Japan and Italy. He briefly worked for the administration of Mayor John V. Lindsay in New York City before turning to writing.

His first book, "Quin's Shanghai Circus" (1974), was a war novel peopled by an odd assortment of characters drifting through landscapes resembling Tokyo, Shanghai and the Bronx.

His Jerusalem novels consisted of "Sinai Tapestry" (1977), "Jerusalem Poker" (1978), "Nile Shadows" (1981) and "Jericho Mosaic" (1987). "Sinai Tapestry" wove together the strange fortunes of its diverse characters, moving them all over the desert terrain in a story spread over 100 years.

The tetralogy's last volume, "Jericho Mosaic," was an antic novel about a spy, yet was freighted with symbolism. It followed a cosmopolitan set of characters from World War II to the present, centering on a mole in the Israeli secret service, the Mossad, who burrowed so deep into Syria that he no longer could quite tell whether he was an Israeli spying on Syria or a Syrian somehow spying on Israel.

He is survived by his companion, Ann Pasanella of Manhattan, two daughters, two brothers, two sisters, and two grandchildren.


©Anne Sydenham 2001-2016