Stewart Sterling is the pen name of a veteran magazine editor, radio writer and author of a staggering quantity of fiction by the name of Prentice Winchell.
Upon his graduation from Dartmouth College in 1916, where he used his bulk (225 pounds) to good purpose as left tackle on the varsity football team, he began his writing career on the staffs of various newspapers, coming to New York City in 1920 to begin a 14-year period as editor of various journals and trade publications. In 1925, he began to write pulp fiction and whodunit stories, and estimates that his work at one time or another has appeared in every pulp magazine. His radio writing began in 1932, and he has turned out since that time more than 1,500 half-hour network shows, depicting the adventures of such distinguished radio sleuths as Sherlock Holmes, Jimmy Valentine, and the heroes of "Eno Crime Clues."
The author's interest in fire-fighting and the men who run the fire departments, which led him to write Where There's Smoke, is based upon a life-time study of the municipal war against two deadly enemies—fire and crime. The crime-busters, crooks, and action of the book are drawn from the dramatic happenings or real life, since Sterling looks with suspicion upon many of fiction's intuitive amateur detectives and fantastic criminals who, he believes, could not exist outside the pages of a book.