An American science fiction and mystery writer, editor, and journalist, he published such popular works as Nine Times Nine (1940) and Rocket to the Morgue (1942). In addition, he wrote reviews of mystery fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle.
He graduated from both the University of Southern California and the University of California at Berkeley. He later assisted in founding the Mystery Writers of America association.
He received the Hugo Award for Best Professional Magazine.
He grew up in Oakland, California. He married Phyllis Price in 1938.
His novel, Rocket to the Morgue, features a character based on L. Ron Hubbard.