as a young man
(late 60s early 1970s?)
photo by Carol Martin
Whittemore was born 26 May 1933 in Manchester. New
Hampshire USA, the youngest of five children. Little is
known about his early life, but he graduated from Deering
High School, Portland, Maine in 1951. Shortly after graduating
he went to Yale. There he became involved in the Yale
News, a prestigious publication that had spawned writer
-journalists who went on to work for the likes of the
New York Times, Time - Life Magazine. He became the managing
editor of the Yale News Board in 1955 and graduated that
same year with a History degree.
from Yale he joined the Marines and served as an officer
on a tour of duty in Japan. There, he was approached
by the CIA and recruited into the service. He worked
as an agent for the CIA from 1958 to 1967 in the Far
East, Europe and the Middle East.
On leaving the
CIA, he worked in a number of odd jobs, one of which
was a brief stint with the administration of the New
York Mayor, John Lindsay. He was married twice while
serving in the Marines and with the Agency, but was
subsequently divorced from both partners. His only progeny
were two daughters from his first marriage.
The years from
1967 to the publication of his first novel Quin's
Shanghai Circus in 1974 are sketchy, but he lived
in Crete for several years and grew to love the Middle
East. He lived in Jerusalem from 1982 to 1987.
Undeterred by the
relatively poor sales of his first novel, he began his
masterpiece and Sinai Tapestry, the first book
of the Quartet, was published in 1977. Jerusalem
Poker followed in 1978, Nile Shadows in 1983
and the final novel, Jericho Mosaic, was published
He returned to
the USA shortly after Jericho Mosaic was published
and lived some time on a family property in Dorset Vermont.
He began writing a new novel called "Sister Sally
and Billy the Kid" which remains unpublished to
this day, though there is some hope it will be published
in the future.
In 1995 it was
discovered that he had prostate cancer and he died on
3rd August of that year.