Thursday, June 26, 2014

THE MYSTERY LIST (A-D) (Updated 5/15/2016)

A-D          E-M          N-Z

British women mystery writers 1910-1960



For the past several months, I have repeatedly mentioned my plans to post several additional short lists ("short" being a relative term, of course) focused on major genres or subjects.  At looooooooong last, I'm happy to say I'm ready to begin unveiling the first of these.


Below is the first of three posts which will make up The Mystery List, which contains all the women from my Overwhelming List who published mysteries or crime novels in some form or another.  At least, it includes all of the authors I know wrote mysteries or crime novels—some uncertainty necessarily remains, since some authors remain too obscure and nebulous to even determine with any certainty what kind of writing they did.


There are less than 200 authors on this list in all, which makes for a relatively manageable quantity while still providing ample opportunity for mystery fans to discover new writers they'd like to sample.  As with my Not-Quite-So-Overwhelming List, the smaller scope has also allowed me to be slightly more expansive in discussing some of the authors and to share a bit more of my research.  This is also why I'm splitting the post into three parts, because otherwise it would have been pushing the boundaries of what Blogger can accommodate in a single post without having a hissyfit.

A gloriously and completely inappropriately
Dali-esque cover for one of my favorite
lesser-known gems by Dame Agatha

This list has taken rather longer than expected (and I'll tell you flat out that the third and final piece isn't finished even as I write this, but I'm working diligently at it).  In large part, the delay has been a result of me wanting to delve ever deeper into some of these interesting but often forgotten authors.  



And apart from researching them, time is very often eaten up when I start searching Worldcat to check library availability or Bookfinder to see how cost-prohibitive a particularly intriguing title might be.  There have literally been times when I've sat myself down to diligently work at the list and found myself two hours later still on the same author because I'm having so much fun exploring book reviews, covers, and/or placing a spontaneous Interlibrary Loan request.  Alas, my mind does not proceed in orderly, linear fashion at the best of times, but then, surely it's more fun being disorderly and meandering…


The other two parts of the list will follow in the next week or two, and when it's complete I'll add links for easy navigation between the three posts.  Of course, this list is likely to continue to grow as new authors are added to the main list in future updates.  As always, if you see any errors or oversights, or if I missed an author who should be included, do let me know.  I know there are more out there, and the list will be added to as new discoveries come along.


I hope you enjoy exploring the results of my labor (not to mention the fruits of my time-wasting)!





RUTH [AUGUSTA] ADAM (1907-1977)
(née King)
Author of socially conscious novels including I'm Not Complaining (1938, reprinted by Virago in the 1980s), the humorous novel A House in the Country (1957), about a group of friends living together in a former manor house, and the important historical survey A Woman’s Place, 1910-1975 (1975, reprinted by Persephone). Among Adam's early novels is her one experimentation with a murder mystery, Murder in the Home Guard (1942). This tale, which I discussed here, is set in an English village which has faced its first bombing raid and the murder of a Home Guardsman all in one night.

JOAN AIKEN (1924-2004)
(married names Brown and Goldstein)
Although best known for her children's fiction—particularly her series beginning with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (1962), set in an alternate historical version of England—and for tales of the supernatural, such as The Shadow Guests (1980) and The Haunting of Lamb House (1991), Aiken also wrote a number of mysteries and thrillers, including such titles as The Fortune Hunters (1965), Night Fall (1969), Died on a Rainy Sunday (1972), and Voices in an Empty House (1975).

MARJORIE ALAN (1905-1968)
(pseudonym of Doris Marjorie Bumpus)
More research needed; mystery novelist about whose books I've been able to find almost no information; she published at least 8 novels 1945-1956, including Masked Murder (1945, aka Dark Prophecy), Murder in November (1946, aka Rue the Day), Murder Next Door (1950), Murder at Puck's Cottage (1951), The Ivory Locket (1951), Dark Legacy (1953), Murder Looks Back (1955), and Murder in a Maze (1956).

MABEL ESTHER ALLAN (1915-1998)
(aka Jean Estoril, aka Priscilla Hagon, aka Anne Pilgrim)
Best known as a prolific children’s author—among whose works are some light mystery and suspense fiction for children—Allan also published one adult mystery in her lifetime, Murder at the Flood (1957).  Two additional mysteries for adults, Death Goes to Italy and Death Goes Dancing, were written but remained unpublished due to her publisher going out of business.  All three of Allan's mysteries have been published by Greyladies Books in recent years.

MARGERY ALLINGHAM (1904-1966)
(aka Maxwell March, née Hughes)
One of the most prominent of "Golden Age" mystery writers, best known for her series featuring detective Albert Campion, which inspired a popular television series.  Allingham published more than two dozen novels, of which The Tiger in the Smoke (1952), with its gritty setting among gangs in postwar London, is often considered her best.  Allingham's own favorite was reportedly The Beckoning Lady (1955), which may have been partially autobiographical.  Other popular works include Police at the Funeral (1931), Death of a Ghost (1934), The Fashion in Shrouds (1938), Traitor's Purse (1941), which incorporated wartime concerns, and More Work for the Undertaker (1949), which features humor in the classic middlebrow form of an eccentric family.

MARGARET ARCHER (1913-2001)
(née Gertrude Margaret Temple)
Author of eight novels of the 1940s and 1950s, the first two of which, at least—Canter's Chase (1945) and Gull Yard (1947)—are mysteries; others include Flowers for Teacher (1948), The Silent Sisters (1950), Jonathan Guest (1952), The Gentle Rain (1952), and See a Fine Lady (1955).

MRS. J. O. ARNOLD (1860-1933)
(pseudonym of Adelaide Victoria Arnold, née England [listed in British Library catalogue as "Mrs. A. V. Arnold"])
Author of ten novels, including Fire i' the Flint (1911), which some sources call a feminist novel, the bleak Megan of the Dark Isle (1914) , and later titles which seem to combine mystery and crime with suggestions of the supernatural, including The Woman in Blue (1922) and The Merlewood Mystery (1928).

LOIS AUSTEN-LEIGH (1883-1968)
Granddaughter of Jane Austen's favorite nephew, Austen-Leigh published four crime or mystery novels in the 1930s, about which little information seems to be available.  The novels are The Incredible Crime (1931), The Haunted Farm (1932), Rude Justice (1936), and The Gobblecock Mystery (1938). The British Library is apparently reprinting The Incredible Crime in the next year or so.

EVELYN [EVA] BARBARA BALFOUR (1899-1990)
(aka Hearnden Balfour, combined pseudonym with Beryl Hearnden)
A pioneer of the organic farming movement, Balfour is best remembered for The Living Soil (1943), considered a classic environmentalist text, but she also published three mystery novels written with her common law husband Beryl Hearnden.  These are The Paper Chase (1927, aka A Gentleman from Texas), The Enterprising Burglar (1928), and Anything Might Happen (1931, aka Murder and the Red-Haired Girl).  An Abe Books listing of The Enterprising Burglar offers this description: "A burglar, who robs from the rich and distributes to the poor, escapes from a train wreck with the brief case of a dangerous enemy agent."

HILARĖ EDITH BARLOW (1856-1939)
Little information about her work is available, but Barlow appears to have published two mystery novels—The Sentence of the Judge (1912) and The Mystery of Jeanne Marie (1913)—as well as one children's book, "Waldmann": The Autobiography of a Dachsund (1910).

PAMELA BARRINGTON (1904-1986)
(pseudonym of Muriel Vere Barling, née Mant, aka Charles Barling)
Author of more than two dozen mystery novels featuring series detectives Inspector George Marshall, Inspector George Travers, and Inspector Henderson.  Titles include White Pierrot (1936), Saga of a Scoundrel (1947), 43 Candles for Mr. Beamish (1950), The Rest Is Silence (1951), The Fourth Victim (1958), Motive for Murder (1963), and Cage Without Bars (1966).

BEATRICE [CATHERINE] BASKERVILLE (1878-1955)
(married name Guichard)
Journalist and novelist whose fiction often focused on Jewish life in Poland and Russia.  Her later work includes three novels with Elliot Monk which may be mysteries: By Whose Hand (1922), The Amethyst Button (1926), and The St. Cloud Affair (1931).

ROSAMOND [ALICIA] BAYNE-POWELL (1879-1960)
(née Bayne, married name Powell)
Author of several popular historical works on 18th century England, including The English Child in the Eighteenth Century (1939), Powell also published two crime novels, The Crime at Cloysters (1947) and The Crime at Porches Hill (1950).

JOSEPHINE BELL (1897-1987)
(pseudonym of Doris Bell Ball, née Collier)
Author of more than 40 mysteries from the 1930s to 1980s.  Bell was herself a doctor for more than 30 years, including at the University College Hospital in London (the same hospital at which Agatha Christie volunteered during the war—did the two puzzlers have any interactions, one wonders?), and her novels, known for the leisurely pace, realistic characters, and clever puzzles, are often set in hospitals.  Titles include Murder in Hospital (1937), Death at Half-Term (1938), Death at the Medical Board (1944), The Summer School Mystery (1950), Death in Retirement (1956), and Fiasco in Fulham (1963).

MARGOT BENNETT (1912-1980)
Much-acclaimed but lesser-known author of mystery novels.  Despite the acclaim, Bennett only published five mysteries—Time to Change Hats (1945), Away Went the Little Fish (1946), The Widow of Bath (1952), The Man Who Didn't Fly (1955), and Farewell Crown and Good-Bye King (1961).  The Widow of Bath was singled out for praise by no less an expert than Julian Symons, and The Man Who Didn’t Fly is described as follows: "four men were supposed to travel on a flight, but when the plane crashed, only three had boarded it. Who was the fourth man—who has also vanished—and why didn’t he take the flight?"  Along with two science fiction novels—The Long Way Back (1954), about an England colonized by Africa, and The Furious Masters (1968)—and various television scripts, these represent all of Bennett's published work.

WINIFRED BLAZEY (1892-1964)
(full name Clara Winifred Blazey)
Best known in mystery trivia as a close friend and sometime roommate of Gladys Mitchell, Blazey also wrote four novels in her own right.  The Spectator compared her rather dark debut, Dora Beddoe (1936), to Francis Iles' Malice Aforethought (not entirely favorably).  Her fourth and final novel, Grace Before Meat (1942), sounds more cheerful: described as "a cheerful period piece with a murder thrown in for good measure," it's about a young woman taking charge of a village school.  Blazey's other novels were Indian Rain (1938) and The Crouching Hill (1941).

WINIFRED BOGGS (1874-1931)
(full name Mary Winifred Boggs, aka Edward Burke, aka Gloria Manning)
Author of more than a dozen novels 1907-1930, under her own name and two pseudonyms, many with intriguing titles, such as Bachelors' Buttons: The Candid Confessions of a Shy Bachelor (1912), The Sale of Lady Daventry (1914), Sally on the Rocks (1915), and The Indignant Spinsters (1921). I would speculate that Murder on the Underground (1929), her penultimate novel, is a mystery, but I haven't been able to locate any details or reviews of it.

PHYLLIS BOTTOME (1884-1963)
(married name Forbes-Dennis)
Novelist often focused on social or political issues, including Old Wine (1924), set in post-WWI Austria, The Mortal Storm (1937), which warned against the Nazis, and the "blitz novels" London Pride (1941) and Without the Cup (1943, aka Survival). It's perhaps a stretch including her on this list, but her 1924 novel, The Depths of Prosperity, written with American author Dorothy Thompson and set in the U.S., has been described as a mystery about a women violently jealous of her own daughter. Her later novel, Level Crossing (1936), also contains thriller elements, dealing with a kidnapped woman and the complex relationship that develops between her and her kidnapper's girlfriend.

MARJORIE BOWEN (1886-1952)
(pseudonym of Margaret Campbell, married names Constanzo and Long, aka Joseph Shearing, aka George Preedy)
An enormously prolific author of historical romances, tales of the supernatural, and mainstream novels as well as popular crime novels—many of them reconstructions of real-life cases.  The last were largely written using her Joseph Shearing pseudonym, and include such titles as Forget-Me-Not (1932), Dark Rosaleen (1933), The Poisoners (1936), and Airing in a Closed Carriage (1943).

DOROTHY BOWERS (1902-1948)
Author of five mysteries, including Fear and Miss Betony (1941), about a retired schoolmistress who investigates wrongdoings at a girls' school, which was named by James Sandoe as one of the best "Golden Age" mystery novels.  The others are Postscript to Poison (1938), Shadows Before (1939), Deed Without a Name (1940), and The Bells at Old Bailey (1947).  All five have been reprinted in recent years by Rue Morgue Press.

NINA BOYLE (1866-1943)
(full name Constance Antonina Boyle)
Suffragist, journalist, welfare worker, and campaigner for women's rights, Boyle also wrote a dozen or so mystery and adventure novels, often featuring strong female protagonists.  Titles include Out of the Frying Pan (1920), What Became of Mr. Desmond (1922), Nor All Thy Tears (1923), Anna's (1925), The Stranger within the Gates (1926), Moteley's Concession (1926), The Rights of Mallaroche (1927), Treading on Eggs (1929), The Late Unlamented (1931), My Lady's Bath (1931), How Could They? (1932), and Good Old Potts! (1934).

ANNIE BRADSHAW (1859-1938)
(née Cropper)
Novelist whose works sound like thrillers and/or melodramas, with titles like A Crimson Stain (1885), Wife or Slave? (1890), The Gates of Temptation (1898), The Rags of Morality (1911), Her Ordeal (1922), and Chained to the Wheel (1934); one of her final works, Murder at the Boarding House (1936), might be a more straightforward mystery, but I've found no details about it.

CARYL BRAHMS (1901-1982)
(pseudonym of Doris Caroline Abrahams)
Along with S. J. Simon, author of a series of four humorous mysteries set at the fictional Stroganoff Ballet Company, beginning with A Bullet in the Ballet (1937) and continuing with Casino for Sale (1938, aka Murder a La Stroganoff), Envoy on Excursion (1940), and Six Curtains for Stroganova (1945, aka Six Curtains for Natasha).  Brahms and Simon also wrote historical humor such as Don't, Mr Disraeli! (1940), and Brahms later wrote several solo novels.

PAMELA [JEAN] BRANCH (1920-1967)
(née Byatt, other married names Faulker and Stuart-Lyon)
Author of four widely-acclaimed humorous mysteries variously compared to the likes of the Marx Brothers and Evelyn Waugh and now published by Rue Morgue Press, including The Wooden Overcoat (1951), The Lion in the Cellar (1951), Murder Every Monday (1954), and Murder's Little Sister (1958), the last named by Carolyn Hart as one of her five favorite mysteries of all time.

CHRISTIANNA BRAND (1907-1988)
(pseudonym of Mary Christianna Milne, married name Lewis, aka Mary Ann Ashe, aka Annabel Jones, aka Mary Roland, aka China Thomson)
Author of nearly a dozen mystery novels featuring three different detectives, the most famous of which, Inspector Cockrill, features in her classic Green for Danger (1944), set in a hospital during World War II; others include Heads You Lose (1941), Suddenly at His Residence (1946), Death of Jezebel (1948), London Particular (1952), Tour De Force (1955), and The Three Cornered Halo (1957).  Her second detective, Inspector Charlesworth, figures in Death in High Heels (1941) and The Rose in Darkness (1979), while Inspector Chuckie appears in Cat and Mouse (1950) and A Ring of Roses (1977).  Brand also published romance novels under her pseudonyms and, rather interestingly, authored the Nurse Matilda children's books upon which Emma Thompson based her film character Nanny McPhee.

ROSE BROEMEL (1867-?1935)
(née Mills, aka Rose D'Evelyn)
A well-known singer under her stage name Rose D'Evelyn, Broemel published one thriller, The Elusive Criminal: A London Mystery (1930), about which little information is available.

HILARY BURLEIGH (1885-1964)
(pseudonym of Edith Mary John, married names Broade and Hunt Lewis, aka H. H. Lewis)
Another rather enigmatic author of at least four mystery novels, two of which feature the same police detectives.  I could find no significant information about them, however, except their titles—Her Hour of Temptation (1937), Murder at Maison Manche (1948), Pearls and Perjury (1950), and By Whose Hand? (1956).

SYBIL [EDITH] BURR (1909-2002)
Children's author best known for Life With Lisa (1958), the fictional diary of a 12-year-old girl, reprinted in 1979 as a Puffin and dramatized for Radio 4 in 2003.  Her debut novel, however, was Lantern of the North (1954, aka Night Train to Scotland), described by Kirkus Reviews as "a delightful Scottish mystery" with a 15-year-old heroine.  Likely not for hardcore mystery fans, but still technically appropriate for this list.

GWENDOLINE BUTLER (1922-2013)
(née Williams, aka Jennie Melville)
Acclaimed author of more than 70 books in all, most of them mysteries but with some gothic romance mixed in, under both her real name and her pseudonym, spanning more than five decades from the 1950s to the 2000s.  She published police procedurals in two series, one featuring Detective Inspector John Coffin, the other featuring a policewoman, Chief Superintendent Charmian Daniels.  She also published historical mysteries set in Victorian or Edwardian England.  Some of her many titles include Receipt for Murder (1956), Dead in a Row (1957), The Dull Dead (1958), Death Lives Next Door (1960), Come Home and Be Killed (1962), A Nameless Coffin (1966), A Coffin for Pandora (1973), The Red Staircase (1980), Windsor Red (1988), The Morbid Kitchen (1995), Coffin's Game (1997), Dead Again (2000), and Dread Murder (2007).  Few of Butler's novels are in print in the U.S., but it looks like many titles are due for reprinting in the U.K. in 2014.  An author who may be ripe for rediscovery?

ELIZABETH [VIOLET] CADELL (1903-1989)
(née Vandyke, aka Harriet Ainsworth)
Author of numerous light novels of humorous romance and/or suspense, including Iris in Winter (1949), The Cuckoo in Spring (1954), The Lark Shall Sing (1955), I Love a Lass (1956), The Yellow Brick Road (1960), Six Impossible Things (1961), and Mixed Marriage (1963). Several of her novels—particularly in the late 1950s and early 1960s—include an element of mystery, but Death and Miss Dane, reportedy written in 1959 and finally published in the past few years by Lady Grantly Publishing (see here), seems to be quite definitely a mystery.

HAZEL [MARY FAITH] CAMPBELL (1891-????)
(née Marlow)
Author of five novels about which information is sparse; The Servants of the Goddess (1928) is described as a "lost race" novel, The Secret Brotherhood (1929) as a "mystic novel of India; the final three—The Burqa: A Detective Story (1930), The Makra Mystery (1931), and Olga Knaresbrook—Detective (1933)—appear to be mysteries or thrillers.

EDWARD CANDY (1925-1993)
(pseudonym of Barbara Alison Neville, née Boodson)
Medical professional for some years before retiring to raise her family, and author of 12 novels, three of them mysteries; Which Doctor (1953), set in a children’s hospital, and Bones of Contention, set at the Royal College of Paediatricians, both feature Professor Fabian Honeychurch assisting Inspector Burnivel from Scotland Yard in solving crimes which make use of Neville's medical background; her third mystery, Words for Murder Perhaps, which didn’t appear until 1971, also features a university professor and Burnivel.  This time the professor is teaching a course on crime fiction for adult students, but finds the topic becoming quite real when a fellow staff member is poisoned.  These three novels were apparently reprinted by Hogarth Crime in the 1980s.  Of Neville's other novels, The Graver Tribe (1958), A Lady's Hand (1959) and Doctor Amadeus (1967) make use of her medical experience, while Parents' Day (1967) takes place in a coed school in Pembrokeshire.  Check here for discussion of several other novels.

JOANNA CANNAN (1896-1961)
(married name Pullein-Thompson)
Starting her career with mainstream novels such as The Misty Valley (1922) and Sheila Both-Ways (1928), both of which deal with unhappy marriages, and High Table (1931), a melodrama set at Oxford (and one of the few Cannan novels to have been reprinted), by the 1930s Cannan had crime on her mind.  No Walls of Jasper (1930), Ithuriel's Hour (1931), and Frightened Angels (1936) are psychological studies of murder, while The Hills Sleep On (1935) and A Hand To Burn (1936) are more along the lines of "thrillers."  Princes in the Land (1938), a novel about motherhood reprinted in recent years by Persephone, also appeared at this time.  Only at the advent of World War II did Cannan try her hand at more traditional whodunits.  They Rang Up the Police (1939) and Death at the Dog (1940) introduce Guy Northeast as their detective, a discontented and unremarkable man whose abilities are therefore often underrated.  They are both set in villages and make humorous use of the setting and its characters.  Later in the 1940s Cannan focused on the girls' pony book series she had begun with much success with A Pony for Jean (1936), and on a family saga, Little I Understood (1948), and its sequel, And All I Learned (1951).  In 1950, she returned to mysteries, introducing a new detective, Ronald Price, in Murder Included (1950, aka Poisonous Relations and The Taste of Murder).  This was followed by Body in the Beck (1952), acclaimed by Barzun and Taylor as one of their 100 best mysteries.  Cannan's later mysteries include Long Shadows (1955), And Be a Villain (1958), and All Is Discovered (1962).  Some of Cannan's mysteries were reprinted by Rue Morgue Press, but appear to be out of print again now. Cannan was also the mother of children's authors Josephine, Diana, and Christine Pullein-Thompson and the sister of poet and novelist May Cannan.

ELSÉ HAYDON CARRIER (1879-1958)
Poet and author of three early novels—The Meadow Beyond (1910), A Soul in Shadow (1913), which appears to be a crime novel, and The King's Token (1914), about Henry II; Carrier then went on to publish several significant works about the geology of England and Europe.

E[THEL]. M[ARY]. CHANNON (1875-1941)
(née Bredin)
Author of melodramatic adult fiction and several well-received school stories, such as Expelled from St. Madern's (1928) and The Honour of the House (1931), and other children's fiction such as the humorous family story The Surprising Holidays (1926), about an inept family surviving without domestic help. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Channon wrote several mysteries, described by Hilary Clare as "too short, too straightforward and too sensational." Two of these, The Chimney Murder (1929) and Twice Dead (1930), were reprinted by Greyladies in recent years. The Chimney Murder deals humorously with the gruesome murder of an "unsatisfactory husband," while Twice Dead deals with village murder apparently predicted by a fortune-teller.  Channon's other works in the genre are The House with No Address (1931), described as a thriller rather than a whodunit, and The Gilt-Edged Mystery (1932).

AGATHA CHRISTIE (1890-1976)
(née Miller, other married name Mallowan, aka Mary Westmacott)
What can I add to all that's been written about the bestselling novelist of all time?  Check out the official website for sure, but otherwise I can only list the Christies I would personally recommend as essential, which include the controversial (did Christie "cheat" or didn't she?) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), the iconic Murder on the Orient Express (1934), the justly famous The ABC Murders (1936), the ultimate puzzle, And Then There Were None (1939), N or M? (1941)—Christie's only mystery written during World War II that doesn't take place in a warless alternate universe—The Body in the Library (1942), a particularly clever and entertaining Miss Marple mystery, the brilliant Crooked House (1949), and Curtain (1975, though written much earlier), Poirot's final case. Those sum up Christie's talents well, but for pure entertainment value, also check out The Murder at the Vicarage (1930), a wonderfully characterized village novel disguised as a mystery, The Sittaford Mystery (1932), a lesser-known work that makes the most of a blizzard setting, The Hollow (1946), singled out by Nicola Humble for its middlebrow concerns but also featuring a clever twist, A Murder Is Announced (1950), also strong on character and featuring a striking portrayal of what is surely a lesbian couple, and the charming Cat Among the Pigeons (1959), set in a girls' school. Christie's best-known plays also provide brilliant twists, especially The Mousetrap (1952) and Witness for the Prosecution (1953). The film version of the latter is particularly good. Trust me, you'll want to watch it twice.

HELEN MARY ELIZABETH CLAMP (1892-1973)
(married name Overall, aka Irina Karlova, aka Olivia Leigh, aka H. M. E. Clamp)
A remarkably prolific and versatile author of romance, adventure, historical, and supernatural fiction; as Irina Karlova, she wrote many gothic novels, at least one of which, Dreadful Hollow (1942), seems to contain some elements of a detective novel (John at Pretty Sinister discussed it last year), which is slight enough justification for including her here, but it does sound interesting!  Clamp's other titles as Karlova were The Empty House (1944) and Broomstick (1946).

EILEEN HELEN CLEMENTS (1905-1993)
(married name Hunter)
Author of nearly two dozen spy and mystery thrillers from just before WWII until the 1960s.  Be sure and check out Spy Guys and Gals for more information and some charming covers.  I'm particularly intrigued by Cherry Harvest (1943), which takes place in and around an evacuated girls' school during World War II, whose inhabitants and guests must deal with murder and intrigue.  Other titles include Let Him Die (1939), Perhaps a Little Danger (1942), Weathercock (1949), Over and Done With (1952), Discord in the Air (1955), Uncommon Cold (1958), and Honey for the Marshall (1960).

JOAN COCKIN (1919-2014)
(pseudonym of Edith Joan Macintosh)
Trail-blazing diplomat, educational writer, and author of three well-received detective novels—Curiosity Killed the Cat (1947), Villainy at Vespers (1949), and Deadly Earnest (1952)—all featuring series character Inspector Cam.

JOAN COGGIN (1898-1980)
(aka Joanna Lloyd)
Author of six girls' school books starting with Betty of Turner House (1935), an apparently forgotten early novel, And Why Not Knowing? (1929), and four humorous mysteries all featuring Lady Lupin, "the scatterbrained wife of the vicar of Glanville," as their usually inadvertent detective: Who Killed the Curate? (1944), Penelope Passes, or Why Did She Die? (1946), The Mystery at Orchard House (1946), and Dancing with Death (1947).  Rue Morgue has reprinted all four, and their site contains a wonderful discussion of Coggin and her work.

MARGARET COLE (1893-1980)
(née Allen, aka M. I. Cole)
Politician, education advocate, and author of more than 30 mystery novels with her husband George (G. D. H.) Cole.  The Coles' novels are known for strong characterization and clever methods of murder (see the informative discussion at GA Detection).  Their titles include The Death of a Millionaire (1925), The Murder at Crome House (1927), Poison in the Garden Suburb (1929), Corpse in Canonicals (1930), Death of a Star (1932), Scandal at School (1935), Disgrace to the College (1937), Mrs Warrender's Profession (1938), Murder at the Munition Works (1940), Knife in the Dark (1941), Toper's End (1942), and Birthday Gifts (1946).

AGNES ROSEMARY COOPER (1911-1989)
(married name Gould, aka Ramsay Bell [with Mary Weller])
Co-author, with Mary Weller, of four pseudonymous novels—Dragon Under Ground (1937), To Joanna (1938), Dangerous Promise (1939), and The Lake of Ghosts (1940)—which appear to be mysteries or thrillers. Dragon Under Ground is described as “a pleasantly told yet thrilling tale of Christmas adventure," while The Lake of Ghosts is set in the Apennines and has an archaeologist as heroine.

MRS. GEORGE CORBETT (1846-1930)
(pseudonym of Elizabeth Burgoyne Corbett)
More research needed; novelist and crime writer, many of whose works appeared in periodicals and have not been fully documented; known works include the utopic New Amazonia: A Foretaste of the Future (1890), The Marriage Market (1905), and An Unwilling Husband (1922).  Although several sources mention that she wrote crime or mystery novels, the only one I've been able to positively identify as such is When the Sea Gives Up Its Dead: A Thrilling Detective Story (1894).

JOAN A[LICE]. COWDROY (1884-1946)
Author of at least 20 mysteries from the 1920s to 1940s, including Brothers-In-Love (1922), The Inscrutable Secretary (1924), Mask (1928), The Mystery of Sett (1930), Watch Mr Moh! (1931), Murder of Lydia (1933), Murder Unsuspected (1936), Framed Evidence (1936), Death Has No Tongue (1938), Nine Green Bottles (1939), Merry-Go-Round (1940), Murder Out of Court (1944), and Morris Dance (1946).

FRANCES [GERTRUDE] COWEN (1901-1992)
(married name Munthe, aka Eleanor Hyde)
Author of children’s fiction from the 1920s to 1960s, such as The Milhurst Mystery (1933), Clover Cottage (1958), and The Secret of Grange Farm (1961), Cowen then switched to historical romance and suspense, including such titles as Scented Danger (1966) and The Hounds of Carvello (1970).  Most of her work for adults seems to be romantic suspense, but there are also references to mystery novels.  Under her Eleanor Hyde pseudonym, Cowen published a series of historical novels in the 1970s, some with titles that suggest they could be mysteries, such as Tudor Mayhem (1973), Tudor Mystery (1974), and Tudor Murder (1977).  If anyone is more familiar with Cowen's work than I am, please share your knowledge and I'll update this entry.

GUY CULLINGFORD (1907-2000)
(pseudonym of Alice Constance Lindsay Taylor, née Dowdy)
Author of about a dozen humorous mystery novels, all but the first, Murder with Relish (1948), under her pseudonym. The others are If Wishes were Hearses (1952), Post Mortem (1953), Conjurer's Coffin (1954), Framed for Hanging (1959), A Touch of Drama (1960), Third Party Risk (1962), The Whipping Boys (1964), Brink of Disaster (1964), The Stylist (1968), The Bread and Butter Miss (1979), and Bother at the Barbican (1991). Happily, Orion's "Murder Room" series has now released all of her mysteries as e-books (though there appears to be some doubt about how long Murder Room titles will continue to be available now that the imprint is closing down).

CELIA DALE (1912-2011)
(married name Ramsey)
A secretary to Rumer Godden early in her career, Dale became a successful crime novelist who specialized in character development and whose focus was often on lonely or desperate characters.  She perhaps has more in common with Ruth Rendell than with Agatha Christie, and in fact Rendell called Dale's work "quiet, clever, subtle—and terrifying. I can’t think of anyone whose stories of suspense I appreciate more."  She published 13 novels in all, including The Least Of These (1943), To Hold the Mirror (1946), The Dry Land (1952), The Wooden (1953), Trial of Strength (1955), A Spring of Love (1960), Other People (1964), A Helping Hand (1966), Act of Love (1969), A Dark Corner (1971), The Innocent Party (1973), Helping with Inquiries (1979, aka Deception), and Sheep's Clothing (1988).  Several of Dale's titles have now been reprinted by Faber & Faber.

CLEMENCE DANE (1888-1965)
Playwright and novelist known for A Bill of Divorcement (1921), a successful play about changing divorce laws, Regiment of Woman (1917), a controversial novel about lesbianism in a girls' school, and Broome Stages (1931), about several generations of a theatre family.  In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Dane teamed with Australian novelist Helen Simpson for three mystery novels set in the world of provincial theatre and featuring Sir John Saumarez as their lead character.  The first, Enter Sir John (1928), was the source for Alfred Hitchcock's early film Murder! (1930) and reportedly also an inspiration for Dorothy L. Sayers' Strong Poison.  Their other collaborations are Printer's Devil (1930) and Re-enter Sir John (1932).

MRS. PHILIP CHAMPION DE CRESPIGNY (1860-1935)
(pseudonym of Rose Key Champion de Crespigny, née Key)
Painter, mystery writer, and novelist; early novels like The Mischief of a Glove (1903) featured spunky girls in historical situations, but later work such as The Mark (1912) and The Dark Sea (1927) deal with supernatural and spiritualist themes, as does her memoir This World and Beyond (1934).  Little is known about de Crespigny, but according to detective-fiction.com, she published 20 mystery novels as well, including Tangled Evidence (1924), The Missing Piece (1927), The Riddle of the Emeralds (1929), and The Eye of Nemesis (1931). 

LYN DEAN (1909-1978)
(pseudonym of Winifred Selina Garrett, married name Lindop)
Apparently the author of only two novels, both published in 1937—Ask No Questions and The Rope Waits—which seem to be mysteries, but little information is available about them.

HILDA DANVERS DEARDEN (1892-1981)
(née Glasson)
Founder of a dance school in London and author of at least nine novels of the 1930s which appear to be adventure, mystery, and/or spy stories, including "This Road Is Dangerous!" (1930), The Mystery at the Skating Rink (1931), The Blonde Madonna (1933), Strange Rendezvous (1934), The Trappings Are Gorgeous (1937), and Dust in Her Eyes (1940).

PHYLLIS GORDON DEMAREST (1908-1969)
A somewhat mysterious author (see here), Demarest published several novels in the 1930, including Lady Gone Wild (1933), The Past Is Ours (1934), and This Strange Love (1939), as well as several later ones, of which Crime Fiction IV classifies two (apparently posthumous?)—What Happened on the 'Melisande' (1971) and The House on Washington Place (1974)—as mysteries.

CICELY SIBYL ALEXANDRA DICK-ERIKSON (1906-1989)
(née Dick, aka Alexandra Dick, aka Frances Hay)
Author, under her pseudonyms, of numerous mysteries and historical novels from the 1930s to 1960s.  Most of her mystery titles seem to have been under her Alexandra Dick pseudonym, and include The Curate's Crime (1945), MacAlastair Looks On (1947), The Innocence of Rosamond Prior (1953), and Crime in the Close (1955).

EILÍS DILLON (1920-1994)
(married names O Cuilleanain and Mercier)
Known for children's fiction such as The Lost Island (1952), Dillon wrote three mysteries with Irish settings—Death at Crane's Court (1953), Sent to His Account (1954), and Death in the Quadrangle (1956)—and mainstream novels including The Bitter Glass (1958) and Citizen Burke (1984).  There's an excellent article on Dillon and on her mysteries at Rue Morgue Press.

WINIFRED [WILSON] DONALD (1917-1999)
Author of five girls' mystery tales with some school content, including Linda—the Schoolgirl Detective (1949), Linda in Lucerne (1950), Linda and the Silver Greyhounds (1952), Linda in Cambridge (1955), and Linda in New York; reportedly, she also wrote adult mysteries, but these have not been identified and might have been under an as-yet-unidentified pseudonym or might have appeared only in periodicals.

MARGARET DOUGLAS (dates unknown)
Author of romantic novels for J. Leng 1922-1941, and perhaps at least one mystery, Murder at the "Mike" (1936); other titles include Diana Dean (1922), Love's Sunlit Way (1924), The Loom of Love (1925), Denholm's Daughter (1929), Nancy Pretty (1931), Riding for a Fall (1935), Though Seas Divide (1937), and For Love of Linda (1941).

MARJORIE DOUIE (c1888-1946)
Author of three mystery/thrillers set in exotic locales, including The Pointing Man: A Burmese Mystery (1917, now available from Google Books), The Man from Trinidad (1918), and The Man Who Tried Everything (1919).

WINIFRED [AMY] DUKE (1890-1962)
Intriguing Scottish author of numerous crime novels often focused on the psychology of crime rather than on the solving of a puzzle.  Bastard Verdict (1934), compared to Elizabeth Jenkins' Harriet, focused on a uniquely Scottish concern—the ability of juries under Scottish law to return a verdict of "Not Proven," meaning that suspicion remains although the crime can't be proven.  This possibility resurfaces in Duke's next novel, Skin for Skin (1935), and in her fascinating final novel, The Dancing of the Fox (1956), which I reviewed here a while back.  Other works include The Stroke of Murder (1937), Death and His Sweetheart (1938), Unjust Jury (1941), Funeral March of a Marionette (1945), Blind Geese (1946), Winter Pride (1952), and My Grim Chamberlain (1955).

MARY DURHAM (dates unknown)
Author of at least nine mystery novels, some or all featuring series character Inspector York, but little else is known of her; titles include Why Pick on Pickles? (1945), Keeps Death His Court (1946), Cornish Mystery (1946), Murder Has Charms (1948), and Castle Mandragora (1950).

13 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post and a great resource - and much more manageable length too. I can see some online searching coming, although I don't expect I'll manage to find books with such lovely covers...

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    1. Thanks, Kaggsy! I know what you mean--so many titles here are tantalizing me. And I already have one from the library, but I'm not telling which quite yet...

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  2. Such a great post - I love the near-craziness of some of those titles: one imagines the editors sitting around brain-storming!

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    1. Thanks, Vicki. My favorite mystery title of all time is coming up in a later section of this list, but Pearls and Perjury (Hilary Burleigh) and Out of the Frying Pan (Nina Boyle) are pretty good ones, and I've been tempted by Winifred Duke's Death and His Sweetheart for a while now, purely on the basis of the title.

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  3. Oh Scott, you are a very serious danger to my bank balance! So much to explore - I think I spotted at least 3 books related to detection within schools that I shall need to investigate further.

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    1. Well, we can't take it with us, Cestina, so we might as well enjoy it in the form of books, right? I have thought that a future list might have to be of books that aren't school stories per se but are set in schools. Someday!

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    2. Ooh, someday soon please! There has been a similar thread on the Chalet School Bulletin Board in the past though I can't locate it at the moment. Ruth might remember, or have better search skills than I have.

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    3. I'd love to see what others suggested for the list if you or Ruth are able to find it. I have a pretty significant list of school mysteries, but those are more widely known. I'll have to start gradually piecing together a list of the non-mysteries.

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  4. Mary Durham might be of interest, if British and indeed female.
    http://www.classiccrimefiction.com/mary-durham.htm

    That nothing seems to be known of her piques my curiosity.
    Sally

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    1. Thanks, Sally, it does look like Durham belongs on my list. I've emailed a friend who is an expert at tracking down info on writers, to see if he's come across her before. Will update here accordingly. Thanks for letting me know!

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  5. Well, with the publication of the tenth book in the series, "Clara Benson" has confessed to being a modern author who was trying to write as if a "golden age" detective author. So she needs to be removed from the list. However, I do think that he/she did a very good job and I enjoyed the series, even if I disliked the way the author mis-advertised the books.

    Jerri

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  6. Thank you so much for all that you do. Discovering your blog and your lists has been just wonderful.

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    1. Thanks so much, Naomi! Very glad you found the blog and are enjoying it!

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