Ruth Fenisong was born Ruth Feinsong on April 29, 1904 in New York City, the child of Jewish immigrants. During the Thirties she was employed by the Federal Theater Project, writing and staging plays, often with a Leftist slant. Fenisong began her mystery career during World War II with Murder Needs a Name, featuring Lieutenant Gridley Nelson, the Princeton-educated son of an upscale family who decides he wants to be a cop. Nelson was the hero of thirteen mysteries by Fenisong, written between 1942 and 1962. New York Times critic Anthony Boucher frequently praised her novels, singling Nelso" out as a "quietly perceptive detective." Fenisong lived for years in Greenwich Village with her life partner Kathleen Gallagher, an English teacher from Ireland, often traveling to Europe together and other locales together. Fenisong died in September 1978 in New York.
- Dead Weight / Deadlock
- "Lieut. Gridley Nelson is in himself enough to make any book, whatever the murder-plot—and the Fenisong plots are usually better than average. Never better, however, than in Deadlock..."—Anthony Boucher, NY Times. New introduction by Curtis Evans. January 2020.