The son of a scientist, John Ball
was born in Schenectady, New York, and grew up in Milwaukee. He attended Carroll College in Wisconsin. He subsequently worked as a science staff writer on Fortune
, a music critic and feature writer for the Brooklyn Eagle
, a daily columnist on the New York World-Telegram & Sun
, a broadcaster for a Washington radio station, and a Director of Public Relations for the Institute of Aerospace Sciences.
His In the Heat of the Night
was awarded a Mystery Writers of America "Edgar" for the Best First Mystery Novel of the Year, and since had been followed by The Cool Cottontail
, also featuring his African-American detective, Virgil Tibbs. Mr. Ball has also authored a number of notable young adult books.