Firearms in Mysteries – Word Search

So often we read a mystery where a particular firearm is mentioned. Below you will find a list of different firearms including both pistols and rifles. Remember to look for the capitalized words.

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Mysterious Cats Word Search – Soultion

Here is the solution for the Mysterious Cats Word Search. Although I have no doubts that you found all the answers.

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Mysterious Cats Word Search

I hope you enjoyed reading the cat blog in the previous post. Now you can test your skills by searching for words related to our feline friends. Find the words listed with capital letters.

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Cats in Mysteries

I’ve noticed that today’s cozy mystery book covers often feature a cat as part of the art. Many times, the cat pictured is there for decoration and does not play a role in the story. In other books, the cat may be the feline companion of the principal character, and in some stories the cat is an integral part of helping the detective solve the crime.

The frequency of cats on the covers got me thinking about the history of our fury companions, and also some of my favorite movies and books that have a cat in the story.

History of the Cat

When cat fossils were first discovered, it was difficult to determine specific species or origins. The only distinguishing characteristic was a slight difference in size. But with the development of DNA research in 2006, scientists had additional information to help establish origins.

From this research, scientists believed a cat that lived in Asia traveled to North America by the Bering land bridge and then returned to Asia. Each time the cat migrated, a new species developed and one of these new species became the common house cat. Many experts believe Felis libyca, an African wildcat, is the original ancestor of our domestic cats.

Originally, researchers thought the cat’s domestication was about 4000 years old and part of the ancient Egyptian culture. More recent research shows cats lived near Chinese farmers some 5300 years ago. These farming villages attracted the cats because of rodents and other small animals living in the area. This was a mutually beneficial relationship as the farmers didn’t have to deal with pest control and the cats had a ready source of food.

In the Middle Ages, the fate of the cat changed from being a respected hunter to one of persecution. During this time, many people believed that witches and black cats formed alliances. This alliance allowed the witches to transform themselves into a cat so they could cast spells without their victims being aware.

Settlers brought these same beliefs to America. When an unexplained event or death occurred, people believed the devil, using witchcraft, was responsible. The result was the era of the Salem Witch trials.

After such a negative beginning in America, it took many decades for the cat to elevate its status beyond superstitions. Today, cats enjoy the number two spot as the most popular pet in America behind the dog. Even though cats are in second place in pet popularity, they can take comfort in knowing their cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for cognitive information processing—is more complex than in dogs. Cats have some 300 million neurons, as compared to 160 million in dogs.

Cat Superstitions

The Black Cat

There are many superstitions associated with black cats. As mentioned above, written documentation supports the superstition between black cats, witches and witchcraft.  Not only black cats, all cats are nocturnal and people believed they roamed freely during the dark hours doing mischief.

Throughout early 13th century Europe until the 17th century Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, they killed black cats along with those charged as witches. Black cats continue as icons of anything related to witchcraft, especially during the Halloween season.

 Do Black Cats Bring Bad Luck?

Do black cats signal death? In medieval times, they believed that any animal with black fur or feathers, including ravens and crows, signaled death. Several countries believed if they found a black cat on a sick person’s bed, death was imminent. And if they spotted a black cat during a funeral procession, another family member would pass away within a short period.

Medieval times were not the only era with cat superstitions. Even today many people still believe it’s bad luck if a black cat crosses your path or you spot one walking away from you. But it’s good luck if a white cat walks towards you or crosses in front of you.

Black Cats Aren’t all Bad Luck

While Americans associate black cats with bad luck, other cultures find black cats a source of good luck.

Sailors believed a black cat on a ship could be lucky. If the cat walked on and stayed on the ship, it meant good luck. Although, if the cat walked on and then off again, it was a sign that the ship would sink. Wives of fishermen often kept a black cat at home as good luck charms to help the sailor make a safe return.

In Japan, black cats and all cats are symbols of good fortune and prosperity. The Japanese Maneki Neko cat statue, which can be black or white, sits inside almost all businesses. It raises one paw to wave in good fortune. Also, many young, single women in Japan own black cats, because they believe it will bring them many suitors.

Do Cats have 9 lives?

One of the best-known superstitions is that cats possess nine lives. We may base this myth on the cat’s ability to leap and make safe landings that would normally injure other animals. The association with witches who could turn themselves into other creatures and bring them back from the dead may also have added to this belief.

 

Cats on the big screen

There are many examples of cats in the movies starting with the early monster flicks like The Black Cat starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. And who can forget Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s white Persian cat in the James Bond movies, or Cat Woman as the thorn in Batman’s side, or the interesting scenes created by Crookshanks, Hermione Granger’s pet cat, in the Harry Potter movies.

There are many choices, but I’m going to focus on two of my favorite movies where cats play a significant role and reinforce the supernatural element of the feline.

Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus is a movie which exemplifies the witch trials and the use of a cat for casting spells. Young Thackery Binx sees his young sister, Emily, captured by witches. The witches are trying to regain their youth, but in the process, they kill Emily. They also cast a spell on Thackery, condemning him to an immortal life as a black cat named Binx. The movie follows the return of the Sanderson sisters—Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, who play the witches executed in the 17th century.

The plot focuses on a group of local teens, trying to eliminate the witches, break the curse on Binx and reunite him with his sister during a series of Halloween events.

Bell, Book and Candle

In the movie Bell, Book, and Candle, Gillian, played by Kim Novak is a witch who uses her cat, Pyewhacket, to cast spells. This includes casting a spell on Shepherd, Jimmy Stewart, so he will fall in love with her. We get an inside look at the world of witches and warlocks as Shepherd attempts to reverse Gillian’s spell. We learn that when Gillian falls in love; she loses her powers as a witch, and her formerly faithful cat leaves as he can no longer help her with spells.

Besides Novak and Stewart, the movie has a wonderful supporting cast which includes Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Janice Rule, Hermione Gingold, and Elsa Lancaster

 

Mystery Books with Cats

There are many books available with a feline assistant, so it was difficult to select just four. However, these four examples, all series, feature cats in different ways.

Lilian Jackson Braun, The Cat Who… Series

It’s hard to discuss any series with a cat without first mentioning Lilian Jackson Braun. I might add this was my first blog for this website highlighting this remarkable author.

The series features former city crime reporter Jim Qwilleran, with his large moustache, his baseball cap and his two Siamese cats, Kao K’o-Kung (nicknamed Koko) and Koko’s companion, Yum Yum.

In later books, this unlikely trio leaves the city and shares a converted old apple barn in the town of Pickax in Moose County, which readers learn is located 400 miles north of everywhere. And like the residents of Pickax, I looked forward to Qwilleran’s Qwill Pen column in the Moose Something newspaper.

While Qwilleran was the chief character in the stories, most readers knew the actual hero of the series was Koko. Koko had a “sixth sense” which enabled him to assist Qwill in solving mysteries. This special cat knew in advance when something dire was about to happen. Koko not only predicted the future, but aided Qwilleran, usually by knocking a book off a shelf, to the clues that would help him solve the crime.

This is one of the most famous long-running cozy mystery series begun in 1966 with The Cat Who Read Backwards and continued for twenty-nine mystery novels and three related collections. Ms. Braun was still writing at the time of her death at 97. This should also be an inspiration to all writers: it’s never too late to write a story. 

Miranda James Offers A Cat in the Stacks Mystery Series 

 This was a new read for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed this series featuring librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel. Unlike the cat series with Qwill and Koko, Charlie and Diesel aren’t a crime-solving team. Diesel has no special powers, but he seems to understand what his owner says and offers comfort to others. He’s Charlie’s best friend, which makes these books a fun read.

Charlie Harris is a librarian who gets involved with solving murders in the small town of Athena, Mississippi. He lives in his deceased Aunt Dottie’s house and rents out rooms to college students. Charlie, is a retired widower who spends his time working at the Athena College library in the books and archives department, and volunteering at the local public library.

The first mystery, Murder Past Due, involves one of Charlie’s borders, a first-year student Justin Wardslaw, who unwittingly becomes mixed up with the murder of a local author. While James writes several mystery series, he currently has twelve additional books in the Cat in the Stack group.

Rita Mae Brown and the Mrs. Murphy Mystery Series

My third pick is the long-running book series by Rita Mae Brown featuring tiger cat Mrs. Murphy and her companion, Tee Tucker, a corgi and a fat grey cat named, Pewter.

The stories feature postmistress Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen, and her pets solving a series of murders occurring in the town of Crozet, Virginia. As postmistress, Harry knows everyone in the town and she’s not afraid to ask questions as she tries to solve the crime. However, the reader soon learns that her pets are usually one step ahead of her and try to lead her in the right direction for the solution.

We get to read the story from both the human and the animal’s perspective as each follows a path to uncover the clues and the suspects. The first book in the series created in 1990 is Wish You Were Here, followed by 28 additional Mrs. Murphy books. One additional fact, we are told that another cat named Sneaky Pie Brown is the actual author of the books.

H.Y. Hanna Offers the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries

I started this series with the audiobook version. I found these books a great way to end the day with a bedtime story listening to narrator Pearl Hewitt’s lovely English accent.

The series features Gemma Rose, owner of a tearoom and her somewhat naughty tabby cat, Muesli. Gemma earned her degree at Oxford and the reader learns about the various colleges and the traditions the institution follows, along with visits to the surrounding Cotswolds villages.

Although Gemma runs the Little Stables Tearoom featuring traditional English treats, what’s not so traditional are the dead bodies that keep turning up. Helping her solve all the murders is boyfriend Devlin O’Connor—CID detective, four elderly patrons known as the Old Biddies, her best friend Cassie and of course Muesli.

Gemma calls Muesli naughty because of his nature for constantly getting into things and straying away from Gemma to do his own snooping. However, most of his antics lead to a clue that helps advance the solution. Muesli is also very protective of Gemma and on more than one occasion has leaped to her rescue.

Cats in Mystery Books Wrap-up

With these examples, we have four different roles for our feline helpers. Koko provides a sixth sense to help Qwill solve the crimes in Lilian Jackson Braun, the Cat Who… series. In the Cat in the Stack series, Diesel is a pleasant companion to Charlie and a comfort to those caught in the current crime. With our third example, the reader relies on Mrs. Murphy and Tee Tucker to help guide Harry and the reader towards the correct solution. And our final feline assistant, Muesli, helps find clues while protecting his owner.

If you are a fan of cats or you just want to read a good mystery, check out these four authors along with the many other mystery books with a cat in the story.

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Saint Book Titles #2- solution

Here’s the solution for Saint Book Titles #2. Hopefully, you don’t need the cheat sheet.

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Take the Spirit of Murder – Faraday Murder Series Book #4

Baffling incidents, ghostly sightings, and murder confront Carrie and Charles Faraday in the latest entry in my cozy mystery series. I’d like to tell you a bit about the plot. But don’t worry, I’ve been very careful not to give away the ending.

**********

Carrie and Charles Faraday are looking forward to a much-needed vacation in this fourth book in the Faraday Murder Series.

The couple married late in life, but since their marriage, they’ve solved three murders. They met while searching for the murderer of Charles’s brother Jamie in Take a Dive for Murder. Then Carrie faced charges for the murder of the playboy son of a prominent family in Take Stock in Murder, and last summer the couple solved a murder that involved her father’s computer company in Take a Byte Out of Murder. Now they’re ready for some relaxation and are trying to decide where to go on vacation.

While selecting reading material to take on their holiday, they get an unusual invitation from the owners of the Tri-County bookstore, sisters Maddy Luther and Marge Millford. The sisters’ family owns a century old country inn, Millford Manor, with a rich history in the northern part of the state.

Perhaps because of all the history, Manor guests have always reported seeing fleeting apparitions. These include a Civil War soldier in uniform and a woman in fifties style dress dancing through the hallways. There are also unexplained sounds of music and mysterious voices.

The sisters report these previously friendly spirits are now causing problems. Guests are being told to “get out,” property is being destroyed, and reservations and event bookings are falling. The incidents are having a financial impact on the Manor’s bottom line. The sisters implore the couple to spend their vacation at Millford Manor to see if they can discover who or what is behind all these negative events.

Carrie and Charles consider Maddy and Marge good friends and feel like they want to help. The sisters, unlike other members of the Nottingham community, were supportive when the police charged Carrie with murder.

The couple decides this is a perfect situation for them. They can enjoy a holiday at Millford Manor and have the challenge of an intriguing puzzle to solve. They will be undercover with Carrie posing as a writer hired by the family to create a new marketing brochure. This will give her access to all the behind the scene locations.

Based on the original advertising brochure the sisters showed them, the couple assumed the inn was an oversized bed-and-breakfast. They are both shocked and pleasantly surprised to find that Millford Manor is a large resort with several restaurants and multiple amenities. They’re hoping they can find a quick solution to the unwanted activity and then enjoy their holiday.

The couple starts their investigation by meeting the cousins of Maddy and Marge, who handle the day-to-day management: Beatrice, Albert and Elizabeth (Lizzie) and also Albert’s son, Ryan. They learn from them the incidents continue to escalate. This unwanted activity is happening while the Manor is in the middle of a massive construction project to add a conference center and other buildings to the property.

Carrie and Charles have barely started their investigation when there’s a murder. The killing of Ken Harvey, the hotel’s event manager, changes everything. Was Ken part of the problem, or was he murdered because he uncovered the reason for the plot against the family?

While trying to solve the murder, Carrie is also experiencing some of the ghostly activity guests have reported. She believes she has encountered Roxie, the murdered girlfriend of the former Manor manager and family member, Bernie Millford. Carrie can’t explain what she’s seeing, and Charles is sure there must be a reasonable explanation. Surely ghosts aren’t causing Millford Manor’s problems, but how do they explain Carrie’s experiences.

The pressure is on the Faradays to solve the crime and save the hotel before someone else dies. Carrie and Charles must use all their sleuthing skills to uncover clues and suspects, both human and ghostly. Not until a final deadly confrontation are the culprits revealed and the problems for Millford Manor solved.

Take the Spirit of Murder

ISBN Numbers for the print book: 978-1-7346234-0-6

ISBN Number for the eBook: 978-1-7346234-1-3

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/take-the-spirit-of-murder-millie-mack/1138455910?ean=9781734623406

Amazon: (Use this link for Amazon) https://tinyurl.com/y5r4m3v8

Check out all the books in the Faraday Murder Series

Take a Dive for Murder 

Take Stock in Murder

Take a Byte Out of Murder

 

 

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Methods of Murder #4 – Word Search – Solution

Here’s the solution for Methods of Murder #4 in case you need a little help. Although I’m sure you found all the words, since you’re a mystery expert.

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Methods of Murder #4 – Word Search

There seems to be no limited to the number of methods for taking a person’s life. Here is another list of methods for you to discover in the word search below. Look for the words in capital letters to solve the puzzle.

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Mystery Shows #5 Word Search – Solution

Here is the solution in case you want to check your answers for the latest in Mystery Shows.

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Mystery Shows #5 Word Search

It’s been a while since we offered a word search with a list of the latest mystery shows. And the good news is there is a wonderful selection of shows available on cable as well as the streaming channels. Remember, to search for the capitalized words.

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Leslie Charteris – The Saint Titles #2

Below is the second Word Search of Saint Titles. Leslie Charteris wrote nearly 100 Saint novels, so there were plenty of choices for the puzzle. Be aware sometimes you are looking for the French and not the English title. Have Fun!

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Leslie Charteris–Creator of The Saint

Those of us who love mysteries are living in a splendid time. There are so many channels and streaming options available to help the mystery lover, like you, find a movie or a television show representing the genre. One of the channels I’m enjoying is showing the television series The Saint starring Roger Moore. And there are also a variety of channels featuring the movies with George Sanders and other actors playing this famous detective. With so much personal enjoyment I wanted to find out more about the author, Leslie Charteris, who created this much-loved character.

Leslie Charteris

Leslie Charteris was born Leslie Charles Bowyer-Yin in May 1907 in Singapore to a Chinese father, Dr. S.C. Yin, a surgeon, and an English mother Lydia Florence Bowyer.

In 1926 he legally changed his name to Charteris, and one report states he chose that name from a Colonel Francis Charteris. But this Charteris was a despicable soldier from the 1600s, charged and convicted of rape. Leslie Charteris’s daughter disputes this claim and states that her father chose this name from the phone directory. It was not from Francis Charteris, or a combination of names and didn’t have any other special meaning.

Charteris and Writing

Charteris started writing at an early age. He created a magazine to showcase his articles, short stories, poems and even a comic strip.

In his first year at King’s College, Cambridge, Charteris wrote a book and left the university to pursue his new writing career. His goal was to have a career he loved while attaining financial wealth. However, the road to achieving this was not a direct path. While writing thriller stories, he worked in a tin mine, and on a rubber plantation, prospected for gold, dived for pearls, drove a bus and toured with a carnival around England to name a few of his job experiences.

The Saint Writings

Simon Templar appeared in short stories, novellas and full-length novels, and in a syndicated comic strip.

Charteris wrote two previous novels before completing his third book Meet the Tiger (1928) where the Saint makes his first appearance. However, Charteris was not happy with this book as the introduction to the Saint. Instead, he maintained the Saint series really launched with the second book Enter the Saint (1930).

For 55 years from 1928 to 1983, Charteris wrote and managed one of the longest running series featuring Simon Templar, which matched Agatha Christie’s series featuring Hercule Poirot.

Simon Templar Emerges as The Saint

On the origin of the Saint….

 “Who knows where an idea comes from? The Saint was just originally a character who came to life in my head not so long after I started writing, but he was not the first character I thought of. He was, as a matter of fact, the fifth. I went on and created two or three other characters, each of them in an individual book. And then I suppose I got lazy, or I got the idea that it was better to continue and build up one character than to spread yourself around among a dozen. I looked back over the characters I had created so far and picked the Saint, liked him the best, and decided to go on with him.”

When asked how he chose the name Templar, Charteris credited his childhood fascination with the Knights of the Round Table. Aside from the swords and the battles, this was the age of chivalry with a special code of justice. The name Templar is reminiscent of this era and his behavior matches that of a knight fighting the good fight.

What are the origins of Templar’s nickname, the Saint? There isn’t a definitive explanation, but we learn from the writings he began using the name at nineteen. Charteris provided no further explanation.

Characteristics of the Saint

The saint lets people know he’s made an appearance by leaving a calling card with the stick figure of a man with a halo over his head. He is humorous, debonair with a saintly smile and remains calm and collected in the direst of situations.

Perhaps his cool and collected manor is because we are told he is British. But in the first book Meet the Tiger there are hints that he spent time in America fighting the bootleggers of prohibition.

Simon Templar’s nickname was the saint, but we also knew him as the “Robin Hood of modern crime.” The Saint’s mission is to beat criminals at their own game. And if there is a reward for the criminal’s capture or the opportunity to seize some other spoils because of his work, Templar sees this as his just reward for eliminating the bad guys. But he is also generous in sharing the proceeds with his colleagues, victims and charities.

He targets those who prey on individuals who cannot fight back. The targets can include the criminal class, corrupt politicians or even the Nazis. Like the hardboiled detectives of a later era, Templar exacts his own form of justice and is not above killing the villain. Achieving his form of justice has him walking a fine balance between bringing criminals to justice and the law.

The Saint on Radio

In the US we first heard a radio broadcast of the Saint in January 1945. This was a quick series which starred Edgar Barrier with Bromo-seltzer as the sponsor and ended on March 31, 1945. Broadcasters started a second series in June 1945 as a summer replacement show featuring Brian Aherne with Campbell soup as the sponsor. The third version started July 1947 but was heard only on the CBS West Coast network. This time producers tapped Vincent Price for the role of Templar and Lever Brothers was the sponsor. Vincent Price continued to play the role as it switched between several radio networks. The show relied on the Ford Motor Company for financing until the series finally ended in October 14, 1951. Besides Vincent Price, Tom Conway, George Sanders brother, briefly played the role along with Barry Sullivan.

Charteris approved the selection of Vincent Price as the voice of Simon Templar and tailored many of the scripts for his talent. For the stories he didn’t write, Charteris oversaw the scripts. He also scripted stories for the Sherlock Holmes radio series with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.

The Saint in the Movies

While Simon Templar was a popular character in literature, the goal of having the Saint appear on the big screen eluded Charteris. Finally, between 1938-1943 RKO produced eight films. The first film was The Saint in New York starring Louis Hayward based on the Charteris novel of the same name. Jonathan Hale played Inspector Henry Farnack who was the American version of Claud Eustace Teal the Chief Inspector with the British police.

With the success of the first film, RKO authorized seven more films. George Sanders starred in The Saint Strikes Back (1939), The Saint in London (1939), The Saint’s Double Trouble (1940), The Saint Takes Over (1940), and The Saint in Palm Springs (1941). George Sanders did not like playing the same role multiple times and dropped out of the series after the fifth picture. Hugh Sinclair played the role for The Saint’s Vacation (1941) and The Saint Meets the Tiger (1941–this film did not release until 1943). Louis Hayward returned for the role in a ninth film The Saint’s Girl Friday (US title-1953)

Charteris was not happy with the RKO Saint movies because he felt the scripts were not true to the original stories. Charteris continually annoyed RKO and as the feud developed RKO stopped making the Saint pictures. They replaced it with a new series featuring an equally suave detective -the Falcon. And believe it or not, RKO tapped George Sanders for the role. He did three films before being replaced by his brother, Tom Conway.

Charteris sued RKO for copyright infringement, claiming that the Falcon was merely a duplicate of his character. George Sanders had already established the character of the Saint, and with Sanders playing the new role it strengthened the case against RKO. They did not release the details, but RKO settled the suit. The suit delayed the release of The Gay Falcon (1941) until 1943.

Charteris mentions the Falcon in his novel The Saint Steps In. When the suggestion of attending a Falcon movie comes up between the Saint and his lady friend, the answer is why watch someone doing “a bargain-basement imitation.”

The Saint on TV

From 1962 to 1969 Roger Moore played the part of the Saint in the British production. Prior to accepting the lead role, Moore wanted to produce the shows and tried to buy the rights to the books. Later, Charteris sold the rights to Robert S. Baker and Moore became one of the co-owners.

When the series started, the creators based many episodes on Charteris’s short stories. Later, when other writers created the scripts, Charteris turned some of these scripts into novels or collections of stories published under his name.

For the viewer, the Saint travels throughout the world, but they filmed most episodes on sets at the Elstree Studios in England. The studio used blue screen technology, superimposed different backgrounds or painted moveable scenes to create different locales. For a few episodes, the studio sent doubles to locations where they were filmed from a distance and not identifiable as Moore.

As in the books, the TV series portrays Templar as the hero helping to bring the criminals to justice and protect the victims who find it difficult to fight the bad guys. But to do this Templar often needs to skirt the law. Two of the policemen he interacts with are Inspector Teal (featured in 26 episodes) and Colonel Latignant (featured in six episodes). In the books, the police are as smart as Templar but focus on the wrong piece of information to solve the crime. In the television series, these two policemen along with others are presented as bungling and incompetent. Regardless of their interaction, by the end of the episode they appreciate the Saint’s help.

In early episodes, at the beginning of the show, Roger Moore addresses the audience directly to set the scene. When the episodes switched to color, in the opening scene someone recognizes the Saint and a cartoon-like Halo appears above his head.

Interesting Facts about the Roger Moore Saint Series

  • The producers asked Jaguar to provide a car for the series, but the car company refused. Instead Volvo was happy to provide their P1800 car and it became known as the “Saint’s car.” His license plate was ST1.
  • Most of the wardrobe Moore wore in the series was his own.
  • They offered the James Bond role twice to Moore during the time he was playing the Saint. He finally accepted the Bond role after the series ended. In one episode, the saint is mistaken for Bond,
  • The series was broadcast in 60 countries besides the United States and the United Kingdom. The shows were highly profitable

Charteris Becomes a Citizen of the United States

In 1932, Charteris moved to the United states and spent time in Florida and Hollywood. While he continued to write and publish short stories, he was also a screenwriter for Paramount Pictures. For example, he worked on the film about London jewel thieves called Midnight Club starring George Raft.

The United States prohibited Charteris from permanent residency because of the Chinese Exclusion Act. This law prohibited immigration for persons of “50% or greater” Oriental blood. Because of this act, Charteris continually had to renew his six-month temporary visitor’s visa. Eventually, an act of Congress granted his daughter and him the right of permanent residence in the United States, with eligibility for naturalization. He became a US citizen in 1946.

Charteris Personal life

Charteris married four time starting with Pauline Schishkin (1931-1937 and had a daughter, Patricia), Barbara Meyer (1938-1943), Elizabeth Borst (1943-1951) and Audrey Long (1952-1993- until his death)

The Saint appeared in nearly 100 books. Charteris wrote his last Saint story in 1963 with The Saint in the Sun, but he approved and edited stories ghost written by others which continued the brand. In 1964 Vendetta for the Saint was published and Charteris took credit as the author, but science fiction writer, Harry Harrison wrote it. He also wrote for and edited The Saint Mystery Magazine. In 1983, Salvage for the Saint was the last book published in the series.

In later years Leslie Charteris return to England with his wife Audrey Long. He died April 15, 1993, Princess Margaret Hospital Windsor, Berkshire.

Revisiting the Saint

Leslie Charteris books are still in print. The movies and the Roger Moore television series are available on DVD. And if you prefer to watch the Saint, on your TV or other device, check your local cable channels and streaming networks for the opportunity to catch a movie or television show of the Saint in action created by Leslie Charteris.

Interesting Facts About Leslie Charteris

  • Charteris’s papers are not in England but housed at Boston University.
  • Charteris was one of the earliest members of Mensa.
  • Charteris invented Paleneo, a wordless pictorial sign language, and also wrote a book about it.
  • Charteris also wrote a column on cuisine for The American Magazine
  • Charteris made a cameo appearance in one episode of the Return of the Saint, the second British television series.
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The Saint Titles #1- Soultion

Here are the answers to Puzzle #1 of The Saint Titles Word Search in case you need to do a quick check. If I were a betting person, I would bet that you found them all.

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Leslie Charteris – The Saint Titles #1

Today, with so many cable channels and streaming options it’s easy to find a film or a television show featuring the Saint better known as Simon Templar. And these programs were based on the works of Leslie Charteris. Below are the first of two puzzles listing the Saint titles.

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Elizabeth Daly Crossword Puzzle Solution

Here’s the opportunity for you to check your answers- but I know you got all the correct answers.

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Elizabeth Daly Crossword Puzzle

Hopefully you’re learning more about Elizabeth Daly. Below is a crossword puzzle as one more activity to test your knowledge. Be sure to read the Daly blog, since you can find many of the answers for the crossword puzzle.

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Elizabeth Daly

I recently published a blog on Mary Roberts Rinehart where many mystery experts refer to her as the American Agatha Christie. Even though Christie published many years after her they base the comparison on Rinehart’s entire body of work. However, there is another author who has received the honor of being called the American Agatha Christie. This mystery author is Elizabeth Daly.

Agatha Christie said Elizabeth Daly was her favorite American mystery writer. Daly wrote during the same period as Agatha Christie and followed the guidelines established during the Golden Age of Mysteries by the British Detection Club. Besides being compared to Agatha Christie others liken her to Arthur Conan Doyle because of her intricate plots that challenges the reader to discover the solution. They also compare her detective Henry Gamadge to Dorothy Sayers detective Lord Peter Wimsey.

For older readers of this blog, it’s interesting to note that Ms. Daly was sixty-two when she published her first Henry Gamadge mystery novel.

Although Elizabeth Daly has faded from the public eye I believe its worth taking another look at her mystery series.

Daly’s Early Years

Elizabeth Daly was born on October 15, 1878 in New York City. Her father, Joseph Francis Daly, was a justice on the bench for the Supreme Court of New York County, and she was the niece of Augustin Daly who was a noted 1890s playwright and producer.

From the time she was a little girl, Daly loved games and puzzles. She was an avid reader of detective fiction and her favorite author was, Wilkie Collins. Her own writing career started at 16 when she published her short prose and poetry pieces in periodicals such as Puck, Life, and Scribner’s. However, she did not write a detective story until she was in her thirties. When she embraced the mystery genre, she felt that detective fiction was a high form of literature.

Ms. Daly attended Miss Baldwin’s School in Bryn Mawr, PA. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr College in 1901, and a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1902. After college she did not become a full-time writer. Instead, she tutored in French and English at Bryn Mawr College. Daly, like her detective, Henry Gamadge, had the financial independence and the leisure time to produce amateur theatricals, to read, and to write.

Daly’s first Gamadge novel was Unexpected Night published in 1940 and after this first entry she wrote 15 more Gamadge novels. Only once did she stray from the mystery genre when she wrote her fourth book called, The Street Has Changed.  This novel covered forty years of the world of New York theater. Critics praised the work because of the accurate portrayal of the theater world. Daly claimed her research was easy since she grew up in a theatrical family.

Prior to her death she received an Edgar award from Mystery Writers of America for her body of work. Ms. Daly died in St. Francis Hospital on Long Island on September 2, 1967.

Daly’s Writing

Daly is a skilled craftsman at describing 1940s New York where her detective, Gamadge lives and works. She is a master of transporting the reader to this world laden with the social manners and morals demanded at this time. It’s a time where before being admitted to the drawing rooms of friends and even suspects the visitor must present a calling card.

Her writing emphasizes family history, personal interests, and societal demands which provides the reader with everything needed to understand the characters in her books. This is different from mystery novels in today’s world where there is more of a desire to understand the psychology of what is driving the detective.

This doesn’t mean Daly’s writing is out-of-date. Her ability to describe this earlier time with such precision makes the reader feel these scenes could happen now. She is very adept at describing the location and these descriptions allow the reader to walk the streets with Henry Gamadge.

Daly is probably best known for her complex plots, which involve crimes of forgery, theft, and murder. They incorporate everything from reincarnations to apparitions, and her clever literary clues supporting Gamadge’s expertise with books. She received literary praise for her unexpected solutions to her crimes.

Plots Based on Books

Daly weaves many of her mystery plots around pieces of literature or some literary circumstance.

Murders in Volume 2 (1941) features the poetry of Byron. The Book of Dead (1944) revolves around Shakespeare’s The TempestThe Wrong Way Down (1946) centers on a Bartolozzi engraving of a Holbein portrait, and The Book of the Lion (1948) involves a lost Chaucer manuscript. The solution of Death and Letters (1950), one of her last and most acclaimed novels, relies on the discovery of the secret sale of a Victorian poet’s love letters.

Who is Henry Gamadge?

Henry Gamadge was born in 1904 into a family where both his father and grandfather were interested in rare books. After he finished school, he followed the family’s interest in books, but he also added his own interest in puzzles.

He admits to having worked in intelligence during the World War II but offers few details as to his actual duties. His hobbies are bridge, golf, and listening to music. He married Clara Dawson in 1940 and has one son, born in 1943.

Although Gamadge lives more in the style of an English gentleman, he is a New Yorker and resides in the fashionable Murray Hill section. His family’s wealth allows him to live independently without worrying about employment, unless he accepts a commission for his expertise on old books. And some of these commissions lead to interesting cases. When members of his social set hire Henry Gamadge, they know he will handle their problem quietly and without publicity.

He’s not good-looking but has a way of catching people’s attention. People know he’s smart, but they appreciate that he doesn’t flaunt his knowledge.

One last note, Gamadge doesn’t admit he has a yellow cat named Martin. Instead, he refers to the cat as a guest who came to visit and stayed. But Martin often is present in the room when an important discussion occurs.

Detective Henry Gamadge

Gamadge is not your hard-boiled detective. He is the complete opposite. He doesn’t solve crimes based on streets smarts or how to maneuver in the world of criminals. Instead he relies on information found in his books and understanding the nature of the victims and suspects trapped by strict social guidelines. We overlook Gamadge’s lack of detective skills because the plots don’t require guns and brute force but knowledge to solve the puzzle.

Unlike a hired detective he is not the outsider but accepted as a member of the social set. They trust him with information, gossip and even the scandals that require discretion. People may find him kind, but don’t be fooled. He can be ruthless when he needs to trap the villains and bring them to justice.

Daly’s First Book Unexpected Night

While most of her books take place in New York, Henry Gamadge, makes his very first appearance in Unexpected Night at a golf retreat in coastal Maine.  When the body of Amberly Cowden is discovered at the base of a cliff, it first appears to be a natural death. Cowden was due a large inheritance if he lives past midnight but his death changes the distribution of the money. This factor causes the police to take a closer look at the case.

As the police start the investigation nothing seems to fit between Cowden’s death and the possible suspects. Gamadge who is on vacation, steps in to help the local police sort the clues as they relate to the inheritance, and a troupe of summer stock actors who start dying off. Soon Gamadge’s logic is on full display as he links the suspects to the clues and solves the case.

The events in this first story represents the complexity of the plots Daly creates in all of her stories.

Is Daly the American Agatha Christie?

If you want to make your own comparison between Agatha Christie and Elizabeth Daly, you can still purchase Daly’s books. Felony and Mayhem Press are reissuing them, and they are available in Kindle editions from Amazon. Take the opportunity to read an Elizabeth Daly mystery and enter the world of Henry Gamadge.

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Elizabeth Daly Word Search Solution

Here is the solution for our Elizabeth Daly word search puzzle. Be sure to check out the Elizabeth Daly Blog for more information about our author.

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Elizabeth Daly Word Search

Elizabeth Daly is often called the American Agatha Christie. She wrote 16 novels featuring her detective, Henry Gamadge and one other novel about the New York Theater scene. Look for the words in capital letters within the puzzle.

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Things That Can Stick You Word Search

Ouch, that hurt!

Here’s a fun puzzle for you to enjoy. It’s all about items that can be used for murder by sticking it to the person. Look for the words that are capitalized.

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Mary Roberts Rinehart Crossword Puzzle Solution

I know you solved the puzzle. Just in case you want to check your answers the solution is below.

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Mary Roberts Rinehart Crossword Puzzle

Below is a crossword puzzle to test your knowledge about Mary Roberts Rinehart. Don’t forget to read the recent blog on Rinehart to help with the answers. Solution will follow at a later date.

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Mary Roberts Rinehart Titles Word Search Solution

At the end of last year, we gave you the opportunity to do a Mary Roberts Rinehart Word Search. Here is the solution for that puzzle. And be sure to check the just-published blog about this famous author.

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Mary Roberts Rinehart − An American Agatha Christie

Literary critics often call Mary Roberts Rinehart the American Agatha Christie. This is a somewhat interesting comment since Rinehart published her first mystery novel fourteen years before Christie.

Rinehart wrote over 60 mysteries, seven plays, news stories, travel articles, poems and numerous short stories. Let’s take a closer look at Mary Roberts Rinehart. Mary Roberts Rinehar

Rinehart’s Early Years

Mary Roberts Rinehart was born Mary Ella Roberts in a section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania formerly known as Alleghany City to Thomas and Cornelia Roberts. She grew up with an extended family including her grandmother, a dressmaker who worked long hours in a shop at the back of the house.

Her father was in the sewing machine business and a frustrated inventor. He designed a rotary shuttle for the sewing machine which received a patent, but many of his other inventions were unsuccessful.  Throughout her childhood, the family often suffered financial problems. In 1895 Thomas Rinehart committed suicide.

She attended public high school and then enrolled in nursing school at Pittsburgh’s Homeopathic Hospital where she would meet Dr. Stanley Rinehart. The hospital strictly forbid friendships between doctors and staff members. They kept their engagement secret until after her graduation from nursing school when they married. They had three sons; Stanley Jr., Alan and Frederick.

Rinehart did not follow a nursing career. She filled her days with raising her sons and helping her husband with his practice. Life was simple and enjoyable until the couple lost all their savings in the 1903 stock market crash.

The Start of Rinehart’s Writing Career

Dr. Rinehart continued his practice, while Mary wrote verse, short stories and articles. She wrote 45 stories in 1903 to help pull the family through their financial crisis. Her first novel, The Circular Staircase brought her national attention. It also launched her career as a mystery writer and novelist when the book sold over a million copies.

Around 1909 the Saturday Evening Post published some of her humorous pieces and her Letitia “Tish” Carberry stories. The Saturday Evening Post sent Rinehart to England as a reporter during World War I, and she was in Paris when the war ended.

The Circular Staircase Plot

All Story serialized the novel for five issues starting with the November 1907 issue, and Bobbs-Merrill published the book in 1908. All Story was one of the early Pulp Fiction magazines before Argosy Magazine absorbed them. (Just a side note, be sure to check out a previous blog on Pulp Fiction.)

The Circular Staircase story follows wealthy spinster Rachel Innes who has raised her niece Gertrude, age 24, and her nephew Halsey, age 20, since they were young children. Gertrude and Halsey talk their aunt into renting a country home called “Sunnyside” for the summer. The home belongs to the Armstrongs, a prominent family.

On the second night after arriving, they find Arnold Armstrong, son of the owner dead at the bottom of the circular staircase. Halsey and the friend he brought for a visit both disappear. Halsey returns without his friend and with no explanations of where he was or what happened to his friend.

In the meantime, many other events occur to the worry the residents and the staff. Rachel decides she must solve what is disturbing her household and looks for clues. When she discovers evidence and bits of helpful information, she doesn’t initially share with the policeman in charge of the case, Detective Jameson. Nor does Detective Jameson detect. Instead, he waits for those involved to tell the truth. Circular Staircase

While searching Rachel is often in dangerous situations. The plot is complex and there are several subplots, but eventually all is revealed and our amateur sleuth restores order to her household.

Had-I-But-Known School of Mystery

Rinehart receives credit as one of the first creators of the “Had-I-But-Known” (HIBK) school of mystery. The Circular Staircase is the first story to introduce this technique. This style of writing foreshadows events yet to come. The person narrating the story misses the hint of a disaster waiting for one or more of the characters.

Neither the narrator nor the reader knows of the mistake until revealed near the solution of the crime. This revelation eventually occurs through the presentation of clues. Characters in these mysteries are also the ones who hear a sound in an empty room and rush in to see what happened.

There are typical HIBK statements from the narrator within the story. For our spinster aunt in The Circular Staircase a typical statement is, “had I but known what lay in wait for me, I would never have rented the country house for the summer.” Handled properly this mystery device can add a real element of suspense. When not handled with skill, the story could turn into a messy melodrama.

“The Butler Did It”

As an avid mystery lover, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “The Butler Did It.”  Mary Roberts Rinehart receives credit for this phrase from her novel, The Door, published in 1930. I should also note this exact phrase never appears in the work.

Sorry there is no way to give Rinehart credit for this mystery first without giving away the ending. The book is still worth reading because of the interesting plot.

Elizabeth Bell’s runs an efficient and quiet household. When the family nurse, Sarah Gittings, is brutally murdered, Elizabeth discovers there are several suspects within her home. Especially when it appears Sarah knew and probably trusted her murderer. The crimes don’t stop with Sarah’s murder. There’s a burglar in the house, along with a shadowy figure who appears and disappears and there is more than one victim before Bell solves the case.

Rinehart quickly wrote The Door in 1930. She was in the hospital recovering from an illness when her sons launched a new publishing house. As a devoted mother she broke her longtime contract with Doubleday and wrote this bestseller to get their new business started.

The Publishing Firm of Farrar & Rinehart

In June 1929 Rinehart’s sons, Stanley M. Rinehart, Jr (president) and Frederick R. Rinehart (partner) joined with John C. Farrar (vice president) and formed Farrar & Rinehart. Rinehart supported her sons by leaving Doubleday. Her best-selling mysteries were the foundation for the new firm.

The firm continued to grow and with the acquisition of Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Book Corporation in 1931; it became one of the most successful publishing houses for this period. Best-selling authors for the firm included Rinehart and Hervey Allen’s Anthony Adverse (1933) which sold over two million hardcover copies.  For mystery lovers, they also published Elizabeth Daly (1940-43) and the first ten (1931-1944) Nero Wolfe books.

They renamed the publishing house, Rinehart and Company when John C. Farrar left the firm in 1946. He formed a new company with Roger Straus that became Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Rinehart’s Play “The Bat”

Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood penned a three-act play called The Bat in 1920. The play used elements from The Circular Staircase and is a combination of mystery and comedy. The Bat

It was a dark and stormy night and Cornelia Van Gorder and her guests are at the summer home she’s rented. They are spending their time looking for stolen money, supposedly hidden in the house. Interrupting their search efforts is the appearance of a masked criminal called the “Bat.”  The play also focuses on learning the identity of the masked criminal revealed at the end of the play.

After 867 performances in New York, 327 performances in London and numerous shows by road companies the play was a critical and commercial success. There were several film adaptations, and the play was the basis for the Batman comic book hero. In 1933, RCA’s talking book division released a recording of The Bat.

Rinehart’s Writing Has Benefits

Unlike so many writers, Rinehart’s writing career made her a wealthy woman. She had a 24-room seaside home in Bar Harbor, Maine and an elegant apartment on Park Avenue in New York.

Rinehart once made the comment she wished she had a pen that could keep up with the speed of her thoughts. The Parker Pen company created a special snub-nosed fountain pen for her.

She was also a guest on the popular CBS television show Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow in November 9,1956. The show featured stars from stage, screen, television the world of sports and other famous people who reached a pinnacle of success.

Rinehart’s Real-Life Crime Drama

In 1947, while staying at her Bar-Harbor home Rinehart’s chef attacked her. He worked for her for 25 years, but unexpectedly fired a gun at her and then attempted to slash her with several knives. Other servants rescued her. The police arrested the chef and while being held; he committed suicide in his cell.

Other Rinehart Facts

Dr. Rinehart accepted a post at the Veterans Administration and the family moved to Washington, DC in 1922. Rinehart joined the Literary Society of Washington and remained a member until 1936.

Dr. Rinehart died in 1932, and Mary remained in Washington until 1935 when she moved to New York City.

Rinehart was left handed.  During this time and for years to come, we trained left-handers to use their right hand. I can relate to this having been a left-hander trained to use my right.

She smoked a pack of cigarettes a day; she had breakfast in bed and loved to climb mountains, ride horses and fish.

Rinehart had personal health issues. Diagnosed with breast cancer, she had a radical mastectomy. She discussed her surgery and urged women to have breast examinations in an article for the Ladies’ Home Journal in 1947.

In 1954 she received a special award for her work from the Mystery Writers of America but was too ill to attend the dinner in her honor. She died in 1958 at age 82 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Rinehart Versus Agatha Christie

Why do people say Rinehart is the American Agatha Christie? Even though Christie published many years after Rinehart I think her entire body of work offers many comparisons.

Rinehart’s pieces are dated, but they accurately capture a time from the past. And remember a good mystery transcends time.

Do you think Mary Roberts Rinehart is the American Agatha Christie? There’s only one way to decide. Pick up one of her books and give it a read and decide for yourself.

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Mary Roberts Rinehart Titles Word Search

Mary Roberts Rinehart is often called the American Agatha Christie. Below is list of her titles for you to find. Remember to look for the words in capital letters.

A solution will post at a later date

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Sue Grafton/ Kinsey Millhone Crossword Puzzle Solution

Just checking back to see how you did with the puzzle solution. I’m sure you found all the answers, but just in case you need a little help−here are the answers. Once again, a big thank you to Sue Grafton for her wonderful contribution to the mystery genre.

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Sue Grafton/ Kinsey Millhone Crossword Puzzle

In our final blog saluting Sue Grafton, we’ve created a crossword puzzle to test your knowledge about the author and Kinsey Millhone. If you haven’t read the Sue Grafton blog, remember all of the answers can be found in this piece.

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Sue Grafton—A Tribute

In December 2017, we lost a fine writer and a giant in the mystery genre with the passing of Sue Grafton.

Grafton was best known as the creator of the Alphabet Mystery series featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone. She hoped to complete the series from letters A to Z, but her series has ended with Y is for Yesterday.

Sue Grafton—The Beginnings

Sue Grafton was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to C.W. Grafton (1909-1982) and Vivian Harnsberger. (1908-1960) Her father was a municipal bond lawyer and her mother was a former high school chemistry teacher. After her father’s return from World War II when Grafton was five, her home life changed dramatically. Both parents became alcoholics and Grafton said “From the age of five onward, I was left to raise myself.”

Grafton and her older sister Ann grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and attended Atherton High School. She graduated from the University of Louisville in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and minors in humanities and fine arts. Although we know Grafton as a writer she had several non-writing jobs, including working as a hospital admissions clerk, a cashier, and a medical secretary.

Grafton’s mother killed herself in 1960 after an operation to remove esophageal cancer brought on by years of drinking and smoking. Her father died in 1982, a few months before A is for Alibi was published.Grafton

Grafton—The Writer

Grafton was inspired by her father who wrote detective fiction at night. He taught Grafton about writing and the editing process and groomed her to be a writer. Based on his teachings, Grafton began writing when she was 18 and finished her first novel four years later. When she started writing crime novels she said the strongest influence on her writing was author Ross Macdonald.

Grafton spent 15 years in Hollywood writing screen plays for television movies, including Sex and the Single ParentMark, I Love You, and Nurse. Her screenplay for Walking Through the Fire earned a Christopher Award in 1979. She also adapted the Agatha Christie novels A Caribbean Mystery and Sparkling Cyanide for television and co-wrote A Killer in the Family and Love on the Run.

She became disillusioned with the movie business when her words were changed, as she said, “by twenty-five-year-old executives.” However, her Hollywood years taught her basic story structure, creating dialogue, writing action sequences and getting in and out of scenes. Judy Kaye, who is the voice of Kinsey on the audio versions, states that Grafton’s books were written like a screenplay. This made them a joy for the actor to record. Lolly-Madonna Movie

Grafton had true perseverance as a writer. Her first, second and third novels were never published. Her fourth novel was published and her fifth novel The Lolly Madonna War was made into a movie. Her sixth and seventh novels were never published and her eighth novel was A is for Alibi.

Grafton’s Writing Method

When Grafton wrote her mystery series, she had to learn about California law and both police and private investigator procedures.

She then created Kinsey who she always treated like a real person. She once commented that when the work was going well, it was like taking dictation from Kinsey. When it wasn’t going well she struggled like every other writer.

She kept elaborate charts of her characters and plots, because she didn’t want to repeat herself and bore her readers. She kept a journal for each book. These were more like a long letter to herself about what she had written.

Grafton used color index cards−one for dialogue, one for action, one for characters, etc. Kinsey also used index cards to keep track of her cases until she had time to type her notes for her final case report.

Grafton believed when writing a book, the reader and the writer are pitted against each other. If the reader figures out on page five who did it−the reader isn’t happy with the author. If the reader gets to the end and they “don’t get it” −meaning the ending doesn’t make sense, the reader is angry. The author has only one in three chances to get it right.

She also believed a mystery concerns three parts−what really happens, what appears to have happened and how the detective figures it out. This is the journey that the reader shares with the detective.

Grafton’s Shadow Voice and Ego Voice

According to Grafton, ‘Shadow’ is the little voice that pops up in your head and tells you the truth. ‘Ego’ is the voice that urges you on even when you know it’s not right. Ego is the voice that tries to please others. Shadow is the voice you must follow as a writer

The writer needs to craft the story in a way that allows the reader to experience emotions−laughter, fear, crying, anger, etc. It’s these experiences that engage the reader in the story.

The Beginnings of the Alphabet Series

In an interview, Grafton said that when she decided to write her crime novels she wanted the books linked. She was familiar with the book The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. In this book of drawings, Gorey has little rhymes that accompany each of the pictures: A is for Amy who fell down the stairs, B is for Basil who was eaten by a bear, etc. This gave Grafton the idea for linking her books to the alphabet.Alibi 2

Grafton also created some unique murders and interesting traps where Kinsey must use all of her detecting skills. Grafton dealt with a divorce and a custody battle that lasted six years. She imagined ways to kill or maim her ex-husband and these fantasies were often incorporated into her stories.

Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone−The Beginnings

Kinsey Millhone was born May 5, 1950, in Santa Teresa, California. The fictional town of Santa Teresa was based on Grafton’s hometown of Santa Barbara. The first book takes place in 1982 making Kinsey thirty-two when we first meet her.

Her mother, Rita was part of a wealthy family from Lompoc. When she married postal worker, Randall Millhone, her family disowned her.

Kinsey was five when her parents were killed in a car accident. She was raised by her mother’s sister, Aunt Gin. While Aunt Gin wasn’t overtly loving she did teach Kinsey to be independent and self-sufficient. These are major characteristics that govern her adult life.

Kinsey wasn’t an outstanding student, but after graduation, she becomes a police officer. Her independent streak made it difficult for her to fit in with all the rules and policies. She also felt women were treated as underdogs within the Santa Teresa Police Department.

Kinsey leaves the police department and earns her private investigator license. She starts her new career with office space in the California Fidelity Insurance building. In addition to her clients, she handles insurance investigations for them.

Kinsey’s Private Life

When not on a case, Kinsey lives in a studio apartment over the garage of her loveable landlord, Henry Pitts. Henry creates crossword puzzles and in his previous life was a baker. Kinsey finds comfort in the smells that greet her from Henry’s home.

Kinsey does not cook. Top of her favorite food list is a Quarter-Pounder with cheese and peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. When she ventures out for a meal she usually stops by Rosie’s Tavern. Rosie is Henry’s sister-in-law having married his brother William. Kinsey indulges Rosie’s cheap white wine that accompanies her rather unique Hungarian dishes. While Kinsey’s eating habits are not the best, she is physically fit due to her habit of jogging three-miles.

Kinsey was married and divorced twice. Her first husband, Mickey, an ex-cop appears in O is for Outlaw. Her second husband, Daniel, is a struggling musician. He left Kinsey unexpectedly, but reappears in E is for Evidence. He asks Kinsey to keep his guitar safe and this innocent request opens a host of problems for Kinsey. O for Outlaw

Kinsey may not be currently married but she’s had several relationships throughout the series. Her main relationships included Jonah Robb, a police officer, Robert Dietz, another private eye and longtime friend Cheney Phillips, a police detective. Kinsey is a loner. Her love interests are not long-term although they sometimes reappear. Kinsey remains friends with Cheney even after their split and Jonah drops in and out of her life based on his on again-off -again marriage.

Kinsey’s Family

After her Aunt Gin dies, Kinsey assumed all family relationships died with her. Kinsey is shocked when she finds she has family in J is for Judgment. When she meets cousins Tasha and Lisa, she realizes the three look alike. Kinsey and Tasha form a business relationship in M Is for Malice. However, she remains reluctant to become fully involved with her new-found family. She felt they abandoned her when she was orphaned. In U is for Undertow Kinsey discovered her grandmother made efforts to raise her, but Aunt Gin concealed this fact. Kinsey finally agrees to meet Gran at a family event where her grandmother, now very frail, mistakes Kinsey for her mother.

Kinsey as Private Eye

Kinsey is as tough as any of her male counterparts in the field of private eyes. She has a soft spot for Henry, but she has vulnerabilities including her relationships with men.  Kinsey accepts all types of jobs from missing persons, murder, robbery, arson and cold cases. Her routine insurance assignments often turn out to be more complicated. In H is for Homicide she even goes undercover and puts her life in danger to reveal an insurance fraud gang. She has escaped her own murder on more than one occasion.

Kinsey’s Legacy

She is a survivor. At the end of the day she is a good investigator who solves her cases.  She has become one of the best-known female private eyes in the entire mystery genre.

While the books focus on Kinsey’s main case, Grafton often has a subplot running simultaneously. And she has a wonderful way of weaving in other elements that are part of Kinsey’s life—her current love interest, her personal tastes, family matters and memorable characters like Henry.

The End of Grafton’s Series

The readers will never know what Grafton had in mind for her final book which was named Z is for Zero. Instead, it is now up to each of us to create a final adventure for Kinsey.Y for Yesterday

Perhaps this is the best way to end the popular series with Y is for Yesterday. We are left with all the wonderful yesterdays and twenty-five Kinsey Millhone adventures that have kept us entertained for so many years. And finally, a huge thank you to Sue Grafton for creating a detective named Kinsey Millhone.

 

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Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Series Word Search-Solution

Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone books are so popular books I know you found all the answers. But just in case you need a little help, here’s the solution.

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Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Series Word Search

Even though the mystery world recently lost Sue Grafton, we will always have her detective Kinsey Millhone. Below is a word search of all the alphabet titles from this wonderful series.

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