Ruth Sawtell Wallis (1895 - 1978) Ruth Sawtell was born in Springfield, Mass. She graduated from Radcliff College in 1919 with a degree in English, and entered the graduate program in anthropology there. She traveled to France, and discovered the Azilian remains there. When she returned to the US, she switched to the anthropology program at Colombia University. She married Wilson Dallam Wallis in 1930. She taught in several anthropology programs until World War II when she worked for the government. She also started writing mystery novels. Her first was Too Many Bones which was published in 1943. Though not really outstanding as a mystery novel, it is interesting for its portrayal of the difficulties that women anthropologists faced in their hunt for jobs, and for the description of the work of an anthropologist. She published four other mysteries during her career. She became a full professor at Amherst College before her retirement in 1974. For reviews of two of her mysteries, see The MysteryFile
Walter B. Gibson (1897 - 1985) "Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men? The Shadow knows" Under the pen name of Maxwell Grant, Gibson wrote the Shadow stories from 1931 to 1984. He also wrote a series about about Norgil, the magician, and a large number of nonfiction books about magic, card games, and the occult arts. Gibson was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Colgate University in 1920. He wrote a column called "After Dinner Tricks" for the Philadelphia Evening Ledger, and he was ghost writer for Harry Houdini and Harry Blackstone. Street and Smith publishers wanted someone to write for a new magazine The Shadow which they were planning, and Gibson's writing career took off. For more information about Gibson and the Shadow, visit PulpNet
Leslie Ford (1898 - 1983) is one of the pseudonyms of Zenith Jones Brown who also wrote under the name David Frome. She was born in Smith River, California, and was the youngest of the eleven children of an Episcopal clergyman. She grew up in Tacoma, Washington and married Ford K. Brown after her graduation from the University of Washington. Ford K. Brown received a Guggenheim fellowship and it was while they were in England, that Zenith wrote her first mystery novel, The Murder of an Old Man which was published in 1929 under the name David Frome. The Browns returned to the United States in 1931. Under the Frome name, Zenith Brown wrote a successful series of mysteries about Welshman Evan Pinkerton. Under the Ford name, she wrote a series featuring Grace Latham and Colonel John Primrose. This series is set in many of the cities of the United States. The Grace Latham series is a precursor of many American cozy novels in which the woman investigator is a friend of a police detective who may step in to rescue her when the going gets difficult. More biographical information may be found at the Golden Age of Detection web site. A bibliography of her books may be found at the Fantastic Fiction web site.
Mignon G. Eberhart (1899 - 1996). Eberhart wrote mystery novels with elements of the gothic romance. Her first novel The Patient in Room 18 was published in 1929, however the majority of her prolific output of 59 books was published after WWII.She was born in University Place, Nebraska. She attended Nebraska Wesleyan University but did not graduate. In 1971, she received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.
A bibliography of her books may be found at Fantastic Fiction.
Lillian De La Torre (1902 - 1993) - Lillian De La Torre was the first writer to use a real historical figure as the detective solving a crime. She wrote 30 short stories portraying the exploits of Samuel Johnson as a private investigator. She was born in New York city. She received her bachelor's degree from the College of New Rochelle, and then received masters degrees from Columbia University and Radcliffe College specializing in the 18th century. She married George S. McCue in 1932. She taught in the English department at Colorado College for twenty seven years. The story "Dr. Sam Johnson, Detector" appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in 1943. Most of the other Sam Johnson stories appeared in that magazine. De La Torre was president of the Mystery Writers of America in 1979. More information may be found in her obituary in the New York Times. A bibliography of works may be found at the Fantastic Fiction web site.
Judson Philips (1903 - 1989). Philips was born in Massachusetts, and attended Columbia University. He wrote prolifically for pulp magazines in the 20's and 30's. Philips wrote under his own name and also with name Hugh Pentecost. He created many series detectives. His best known sleuth is Chambrun who is the resident manager of
a New York luxury hotel.Philips was a founding member of the Mystery Writers of America, and was named a Grand Master by the MWA in 1973. For more information, try Wikipedia
Lenore Glen Offord (1905 - 1991) - Offord was born in Spokane, Washington. She moved to Berkeley California where she worked as a school teacher, tried to write short stories, and worked in theatrical productions. Offord wrote her first mystery novel Murder on Russian Hill in 1938; she would write 8 more novels after this. She was a founding member of the California branch of the Mystery Writers of America. She was also a mystery novel reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle for many years. She received an Edgar award for mystery criticism in 1951. She was also a Sherlock Holmes expert, and was a member of the Baker Street Irregulars. For more information, see the Golden Age of Detection Wiki.
Clayton Rawson (1906 - 1971) - Rawson was a magician and author of mystery novels featuring The Great Merlini, a professional magician and amateur detective. Rawson was born in Elyria, Ohio, and graduated from Ohio State University. He was an illusionist and a member of the Society of American Magicians. He was also editor of several publications including True Detective magazine and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. He wrote four Merlini mysteries and the first Death from a Top Hat was published in 1938. He was also one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America. More information may be found at Wikipedia
Harry Kemelman (1908 - 1996) is best known for his series featuring rabbi David Small. Kemelman was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and attended Boston Latin High School and many Hebrew and Talmud classes. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in English and received a Master's degree from Harvard. He taught English in several Boston area high schools. Later he would work as a wage administrator and a real estate agent, but returned to teaching in 1963, He published the first rabbi David Small novel, Friday the Rabbi Slept Late in 1964. For more information and a bibliography, visit Wikipedia.
Leonard Holton (1915 - 1983) is the pen name of Leonard Patrick O'Connor Wibberly. He was born in Dublin, Ireland. He worked at various jobs in journalism in London, Trinidad, and then in the United States where he moved in 1943. His best know detective is Father Bredder who appeared in 11 novels. Father Bredder is the chaplain for the Los Angeles Convent of the Holy Innocents, and a former marine sergeant and boxer. The first Father Bredder novel, The Saint Maker was published in 1959. This series of novels was the basis of the TV series Sarge. Wibberly actually wrote more children's books than adult books. He is best known for his novel The Mouse That Roared which was made into a very successful movie. For more information on Holton and his Father Bredder Novels, visit the Clerical Detectives web site.
Jane Langton (1922 - ) Langton's mysteries feature Homer Kelley and his wife Mary. Homer is a former police
detective who is now a professor of American literature as is his wife. These literate mysteries are set in and around Boston. The series began with The Transcendental Murder which was published in 1964. Ms. Langton also writes children's books. A bibliography of her books may be found at the Fantastic Fiction web site.
J. S. Borthwick (1923 - ) Borthwick's series detective is Sara Deane, a
professor of English, and her husband Dr. Alex McKenzie. They are in the best style of traditional mysteries.
For a bibliography of Borthwick's books, see the Stop, You're Killing Me web site.
Margaret Truman Daniel (1924 - 2008). Margaret Truman, the daughter of President Harry Truman,
was born in Independence, Missouri. She published her first mystery novel Murder in the White House in 1980. This was followed by a series of mysteries
which take place in Washington, DC. Her biography may be found at The Truman Library
Amanda Cross (1926 - 2003). Pseudonym of Carolyn Gold Heilbrun. Author of the Kate Fansler mystery series. For
an extensive biography see this article by Vanessa Grigoriadis. There is also a biography and bibliography at Wikipedia.
Barbara Louise Mertz (also know as Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels) (1927 - 2013). Ms Mertz was born in Illinois. She received a PhD in Egyptology at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. She (as Elizabeth Peters) has writen many detective novels about Victorian archaeologist, Amelia Peabody and her husband Radcliffe Emerson. As Elizabeth Peters, she has also written the Vickly Bliss and Jacqueline Kirby series. As Barbara Michaels, she has written novels of romantic suspense. Barbara Mertz has also authored two nonfiction titles about Egyptology. She was named a Grand Master of Mystery in 1986. For more information, visit her website
Edward D. Hoch (1930 - 2008) Hoch was a master of the mystery short story. He wrote under several names, had many series characters and wrote over 900 short stories. He was born in Rochester, NY, and attended the University of Rochester for two years. He served in the army, and held jobs in a public library and in advertising before he took up writing full time. Hoch was award an Edgar award, two Anthony awards, and in 2001, he was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. More information on Hoch may be found at Wikipedia. A bibliography of his work may be found at the Fantastic Fiction web site.
Carolyn Hart (1936 - ) Hart writes two mystery series. One details the exploits of Annie Darling and her husband, Max. Annie is the owner of the Death on Demand bookstore in Broward's Rock, South Carolina. The series began with Death on Demand which was published in 1987. She also writes the Hennie O. series which
tells of the experiences of a retired journalist. Hart is the winner of well-deserved mystery awards. If you are a lover of mystery novels, you should visit Death on Demand to see if you can identify the mystery novels depicted in the paintings in each of Hart's novels. She was named a Grand Master of Mystery in 2014. View a video of an interview with Carolyn Hart. You may see her at the Grand Master Award Ceremony on You Tube. Also visit Carolyn Hart's web site.
Margaret Maron - Maron grew up in North Carolina. Her first mystery series featured Lieutenant Sigrid Harald of the New York Police Department. There are eight books in this series which make more sense if read in order so it would probably be best to start reading the first one Our Coffee With. In 1992, Maron published The Bootlegger's Daughter which is about North Carolina Judge Deborah Knott. This book won the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity Awards for 1993. The winning of all these awards in one year had never been accomplished before. She was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 2013. For more information, visit her web site.
Sharyn McCrumb (1948 - ). Author of the Ballad novels based on Southern folklore, the Elizabeth MacPherson series, and two novels about Jay Omega, a Science Fiction writer. Sharyn McCrumb's web site
Joan Hess (1949 - ) Ms. Hess writes two series. One describes the detections of Claire Malloy, the owner of a bookstore in Farberville, Arkansas. The other series is about
the trials and tribulations of chief of police Arly Hanks in the town of Maggody, Arkansas, whose residents are some of the strangest people who would ever expect to meet. Both series are quite funny and contain quite a bit of social satire. A bibliography of her books may be found at
Fantastic Fiction. Her biography may be found at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.
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