Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Update: Mysteriously romantic (1 of 3)

Winifred Duke is already a favorite

Somehow I've accumulated enough new mystery and romance writers to fill three whole update posts, so here is the first batch of 18.  Since I've already added most of the best-known authors in both of these genres, author photos and even book covers are getting a bit harder to find, but I did find several that are rather seductive and/or just plain entertaining.  The two genres seem to fit well together in updates, since several of these authors combine them into romantic suspense or mysterious romance.

I already wrote a review of WINIFRED DUKE's final novel, The Dancing of the Fox, which I came across in Victoria during our post-Christmas jaunt and was instantly seduced by.  Time allowing, I will definitely want to track down more of her books, as Fox proved quite quirky and fun and the characterization was superb.

KATHLEEN LINDSAY wrote untold dozens of romance novels under at least nine different pseudonyms (that I've come across—there could be more).  With such a huge output, I wouldn't expect brilliance and polish in her works, but they could be entertaining.  She's the only writer in this update for whom I've found an author pic, and you have to admit that she seems, in the photo, to be laughing all the way to the bank…

One of Kathleen Lindsay's many pseudonyms

Thanks again to Fernando for providing me with information about mystery writer ELIZABETH NISOT, sister of Anne Hocking, who is already on my list.  There were three Hocking sisters who all became novelists (and a fourth who didn't), and I recently posted about discovering the third (and by far the most obscure), but Fernando was the one who sent me info on Nisot, who sounds intriguing.  The third sister will be added in a future update soon.

I admit that ELIZABETH KIRBY might not even belong in this update—she could be American or Australian or Canadianbut since I've found nothing about any of her six (or more) novels, it's hard to tell.  Two of them, Little Miss Muffet (1918) and Penelope (1920, aka The Adorable Dreamer), are available from Google Books, however, so perhaps I'll sample one—in addition to sampling about 500 other intriguing titles already on my “to read” list…

My favorite subtitle of any book in this update has to be that given in the British Library catalogue for MAUD L. EADES's The Tawny Desert, described as "a romance of the Inland Water Transport Section of the Royal Engineers in Mesopotamia."  Sounds pretty enticing, eh?

IDA BARNETTE may not have been a brilliant author (or perhaps she was?), but the cover of an early edition of her Stained Inheritance is loaded with perfectly cheesy malevolence, with what appears to be a gargoyle (?) swooping ominously over the heads of the characters, who are eyeing one another ambivalently against the elegant backdrop of the Eiffel Tower.  Ah, to be in Paris—with or without malevolent gargoyles…

And finally, who knew (or indeed would have thought to ask) that a descendant of our dearest Jane was writing mystery novels in the 1930s?  LOIS AUSTEN-LEIGH was the granddaughter of Jane Austen's nephew (her favorite nephew, according to some sources), which made her a … grand-niece?  I think?  Or something like that.  Apparently the same relationship that Edith Charlotte Brown—an earlier addition to my list—bears to Austen.  Which means that Brown and Austen-Leigh must bear some sort of cousinly or perhaps even closer relationship to one another, but the very thought of sorting that out at the moment makes my temples throb.  As with Brown, Austen-Leigh’s novels don’t seem to have made quite the same impact as those of her preeminent forebear.  But who knows, perhaps they should be rediscovered?

The full list of 18 new authors is below, and all have been added to the main list.


Granddaughter of Jane Austen's favorite nephew, Austen-Leigh published four crime or mystery novels in the 1930s—The Incredible Crime (1931), The Haunted Farm (1932), Rude Justice (1936), and The Gobblecock Mystery (1938).


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).


Author of nearly three dozen romance and romantic suspense novels from the 1930s to 1960s; her titles include Innocence (1934), Pretence and Peril (1938), Maiden in Danger (1951), Stained Inheritance (1956), Love May Cheat Us (1958), and Kiss in the Moonlight (1964).

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).

(pseudonym of Edith Mary John, married names Broade and Hunt Lewis, aka H. H. Lewis)

Author of several mystery novels, at least two of which feature the same police detectives but about which little else is known; these include Her Hour of Temptation (1937), Murder at Maison Manche (1948), Pearls and Perjury (1950), and By Whose Hand? (1956).

(pseudonym of Gladys Alexandra Milton, née Yardley)

Daughter of Maud Yardley and prolific Mills & Boon author of the 1920s and 1930s, whose novels were "full of dramatic situations and surprises"; titles include Grains of Dust (1921), Like Ruth of Old (1923), Another Reapeth (1924), As a Star May Fall (1936), and In Cinderella's Slippers (1937).

(née Dick, aka Alexandra Dick, aka Frances Hay)

Author, under her pseudonyms, of numerous mysteries and historical novels from the 1930s to 1960s; titles include The First Man (1937), Yellowing Hay (1939), Many a Flower (1944), The Curate's Crime (1945), The Sleeping Beauty's Daughter (1947), and The Witch's Doing (1951).

WINIFRED DUKE (1890-1962)

Intriguing author of numerous crime novels often focused on the psychology of crime; Bastard Verdict (1934) was compared to Elizabeth Jenkins' Harriet; others include Death and His Sweetheart (1938), Blind Geese (1946), Winter Pride (1952), and The Dancing of the Fox (1956).

MAUD L[OUISE]. EADES (c1878/1880-1948)

Author of at least four mystery novels in the 1920s and 1930s—The Crown Swindle (1925), The Tawny Desert (1929, described as "a romance of the Inland Water Transport Section of the Royal Engineers in Mesopotamia"), The Torrington Square Mystery (1932), and In Another Man's Shoes (1936).


Author of a popular guide to Hampton Court Palace (1932), Keate also wrote several novels, including A Garden of the Gods (1914), A Wild-Cat Scheme (1930), The Jackanapes Jacket: A Thrilling Story of a Murder at Hampton Court (1931), The Mimic (1932), and Demon of the Air (1936).

ELIZABETH KIRBY (dates unknown)

More research needed; author of at least six novels 1916-1931, including The Bridegroom (1916), Little Miss Muffet (1918), Penelope (1920, aka The Adorable Dreamer), Fugitives (1925), All Saints’ Day (1931), and Liberty Let Loose (1931).

(aka Mary Richmond, aka Molly Waring, aka Betty Manners, aka Elizabeth Fenton, aka Mary Faulkner, aka Jane Darnley, aka Margaret Cameron, aka Hugh Desmond, aka Nigel MacKenzie)

Hugely prolific author (under numerous pseudonyms) of mysteries and novels of romantic suspense from the 1920s to at least the 1970s; titles include The Mystery At Greystones (1932), Storm Maiden (1938), Death Strikes At Dawn (1943), and Flight From A Throne (1951).

(née Hocking, aka William Penmare)

Daughter of novelist Joseph Hocking and sister of Anne Hocking, Nisot published at least 10 mystery novels of the 1920s and 1930s, including The Black Swan (1928), Shortly Before Midnight (1934), Hazardous Holiday (1936), Extenuating Circumstances (1937), and False Witness (1938).

(pseudonym of Madeleine Hermione Murat, married name Batten)

A prolific author of romance and romantic suspense from the 1930s to 1970s; her titles include Rhapsody in Spring (1940), Sob-Sister (1943), Reach Me a Star (1950), Love in Four Flats (1953), Reflections of a Star (1956), Whispering Island (1959), and The Dark Castle (1963).


More research needed; author of a single mystery/thriller called Long Shadows in 1935.


Prolific author of romance and children's fiction from the 1930s to 1960s; her titles include Laggard in Love (1935), Tempestuous Sally (1939), Brave Music (1943), The Living Ghost (1947), The Moon and the Nightingale (1948), Soldier? Sailor? Rich Man? (1949), and Blind Cupid (1951).

(née Pryor)

Editor for Women's Pictorial and author of at least 10 romantic novels, including Trusting Journey (1949), Nevermore Alone (1952), Time Off for Love (1956), Wanted on the Voyage (1957), No Blameless Life (1958), The Recovered Past (1959), and Mixed Motive (1961).

(née Lockwood, earlier married name Lewis)

Not to be confused with American author Constance Choate Wright; author of one children’s book, Tales of Chinese Magic (1925), and one novel, The Chaste Mistress (1930), about the 1779 murder of Martha Ray (which has also been memorialized by Wordsworth and discussed by Elizabeth Jenkins).


  1. Charming charming covers, Scott. I'm so pleased we can enjoy these through the internet. I admit I love Googling images, and finding engaging, colourful cover art.

    "...a romance of the Inland Water Transport Section of the Royal Engineers in Mesopotamia." Sounds pretty enticing, eh?

    Well, yes, I think it does. I mean, that's pretty verbose, but the idea of a Royal Engineer (probably Scottish) perhaps building a canal in the desert, with romance, sounds good to me.

    1. I'm sure you can tell, Susan, that I've become completely addicted to cover art, whether beautiful or cheesy or downright kooky. I agree with you about the subtitle. Whether Eades carried the plot off as enticingly as the subtitle makes it sound would remain to be seen, but it certainly SOUNDS like fun.

  2. Another collateral descendent of Jane is Joan Austen-Leigh, Canadian writer (so not eligible for your list).

    1. Not eligible for my list, but I'll add her to my database. I love tracing relationships between writers. (I have to admit, though, I had to look up "collateral descendant"!)

  3. Thanks so much for this bite-sized & newsy post, Scott. Just out of curiosity, what kinds of book covers intrigue you? Could you list some of your favourites, maybe top 20?! Which could change over time, of course. :-)

    1. Thanks, Del! I tend to like all kinds of covers, I think--artistic, cheesy, gaudy, understated--just somehow eye-catching and intriguing seems to be my criteria. Hmmm, I will have to give some thought to my favorites...

  4. I think what intrigues me about my favourite covers is sincerity. they may be cheesy as all getout now (okay, I suppose NO ONE says "as all getout" any more) but if they are true to the spirit of the book and present the characters as the author intended, then I have a weakness for them.

    Of course, many are simply horribly cheesy, just good for a laugh. I mean, the John-Cleese-in-a-Clinch-With-a-Tart cover from a few weeks ago was marvellously funny.


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