william G. Tapply

1940 - 2009


William G. Tapply was born on July 16, 1940 in Waltham, Massachusetts.  A 1963 Harvard graduate, he was variously a high school history teacher, director of economic studies, housemaster, editorial associate, writing instructor, contributing editor for Field and Stream and a special correspondent for American Angler.


In addition to his prolific magazine writing, Tapply authored numerous fiction and non-fiction books, publishing more than 40 books in 25 years.  He is perhaps most well-known for his mystery series featuring Brady Coyne, a Boston attorney who becomes a crime solver for his wealthy clientele.  Coyne has been called “a skillful blend of amateur versus professional, serious versus frivolous, and intellectual versus physical.”  Coyne also views his career as a means to finance his avocation, fly fishing, which was Tapply’s great love and the subject of several of his nonfiction works.


Tapply has been commended for writing “quietly and perceptively” and having excellent narrative skills.  He also has been called “among the smoothest storytellers around--his books glide along quickly and effortlessly.”  Tapply was reluctant to call his books mystery novels.  “I write novels that, like most worthwhile novels, contain mysteries.  I try to avoid formulas, although I suppose with a series character like Brady Coyne I have conceded that much.”


In 2001, Tapply started an interesting new writing collaboration with friend and author Philip R. Craig, who is known for his mystery novels featuring J. W. Jackson, a retired cop living on Martha's Vineyard.  Tapply and Craig brought their two styles together by alternating chapters in a trilogy of stories in which their two characters interact with each other as they solve various crimes.


In 2004, Tapply started a new page-turning series featuring Stoney Calhoun, a Maine fishing guide who has lost most of his memory from a tragic event.  However, when a fellow guide is killed he starts to uncover his own past when he tries to find out who murdered his friend.


Just like the characters in his books, Tapply lived in New England and traveled widely up and down the East Coast and in Canada and the United States.  Most of these travels were in pursuit of fish and fishing stories.  Tapply died in 2009 after a two-year battle with leukemia. His wife, Vicki Stiefel (also a writer and teacher), continues to find opportunities for publishing the work he left behind.  His son, Mike, maintains this website.  


[biography courtesy of St. Charles Public Library]