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From Elmore Leonard Fans to the Merely Curious, Hundreds Pick Through Pieces of Literary History

The estate sale at the legendary author of Westerns and gritty Detroit crime novels continues Friday and Saturday.

The legendary Elmore Leonard wrote 40 novels  before his death in 2013. His possessions are being sold this week at an estate sale at his Bloomfield Hills home. (Sceenshot" Biography.com video)
The legendary Elmore Leonard wrote 40 novels before his death in 2013. His possessions are being sold this week at an estate sale at his Bloomfield Hills home. (Sceenshot" Biography.com video)

Fans of the author Elmore Leonard are discovering a treasure trove at an estate sale at his Bloomfield Hills home.

The estate sale continues from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at the home, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Wearing protective blue booties, hundreds of fans and bargain hunters went through the home of the famed author, who died last August to pick through pieces of literary history. They bought everything from Tiffany lamps to first-edition books to the dictionary Leonard used to pen more than 40 books.

One of the buyers was Michelle Sczecienski of Farmington Hills, who was attending her first estate sale.

“I do like authors and thought there’d be cool stuff,” said Sczecienski, who bought three plant stands for $690. “I like there’s no haggling You find nice things in someone’s home. You know it’s good stuff, no junk.”

Leonard was born in Louisiana in 1925 and moved frequently as a child due to his father’s job as a plant locator for General Motors, which eventually brought the family to the Detroit area, according to an account of his life on biography.com

He wrote mostly Westerns as a young author. His first novel, “The Bounty Hunters,” was proclaimed “good” by a New York Times critic, and other Westerns followed, including “3:10 to Yuma” and “The Captives,” both of which were adapted to film.

He published more than 30 Westerns, but as the genre began to fade in popularity in the 1960s, he turned to crime novels, often set against the gritty backdrop of Detroit. By the 1980s, he had become a legend in literary circles for his gritty characters and yarns about crime and life on the streets. “Newsweek” featured him on the cover in 1984 under the heading the “Dickens of Detroit,” and

The crime novels included “Out of Sight,” “Jackie Brown” and “Get Shorty,” which became a major motion picture in 1995 starring John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo and Danny DeVito. The FX network series “Justified” was also based on his work.

The University of Detroit alum was notorious for his work ethic, writing often before his 7 a.m. shift as an ad man with Campbell Ewald, and then from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily without lunch breaks once he turned to writing full time. He told Patch he never left a scene unfinished before it was time to stop for the day.

"That's what I've done all my life, for 60 years now, and it's worked out," the long-time Bloomfield-area resident said during a special appearance in January 2012 at the Baldwin Public Library with son, Peter.

"I've had an awful lot of fun writing," Leonard said at the time.  


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