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
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
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.
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.
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 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 Parent, Mark, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Hope you enjoyed doing the crossword puzzle about the Queens of Mystery –Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham. I certainly learned a great deal about these ladies during my research. Just in case you need a little help with the answers –here is the solution.
Below is a crossword puzzle about the Queens of Mystery. Most of the questions focus on Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh, since Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers were previously featured in a Crossword Puzzle. Check the Blog Archive on the home page to locate the Christie and Sayers puzzles.
Margery Allingham is the last member of the Queens of Crime from the Golden Age of Mysteries.
The Queens of Mystery
Agatha Christie was best known for her plots and gathering the suspects together to reveal the murderer. Dorothy Sayers emphasized the intellect of Lord Peter sometimes to the point of overthinking the circumstances. Ngaio Marsh developed the skills of her detective Alleyn, while infusing the stories with her personal knowledge of art and theater. Our last Queen, Margery Allingham, is harder to define, especially since her detective, Albert Campion, in many ways is also a mystery.
Margery Allingham-The Beginnings
Margery Allingham was born in London in 1904 to parents Herbert and Emily Jane who were both writers. Herbert was editor of the Christian Globe and The New London Journal before becoming a successful pulp fiction writer. Emily Jane was a contributor of stories to women’s magazines.
The family moved from London to Essex in a village near Colchester. Margery attended a local school and began writing stories and plays.
Margery returned to London in 1920 to study drama and speech training at Regent Street Polytechnic. These studies helped her cure a stammer which she had endured since childhood. It was also during this time that she met her future husband, Philip Youngman Carter. In 1927, she married Carter, who collaborated with her and designed the jackets for many of her books.
They purchased a country house in Colchester on the edge of the Essex Marshes. Allingham preferred the image of the country wife as opposed to that of a gifted writer and often down played her writing talents.
Allingham stayed in Colchester while Carter kept a house in London where he was gone for extended periods of time and had many extramarital affairs.
Allingham, while enjoying her county life also suffered from bouts of depression. She sought treatment including electroshock therapy. Her depression and treatments account for the long gaps in her writings, especially in her later years.
Allingham in addition to her depression was diagnosed with breast cancer and died in Colchester, England, on June 30, 1966, at the age of 62. She requested that her final Campion novel, Cargo of Eagles, be completed by her husband and it was published in 1968.
Carter along with Mike Ripley continued to issue additional releases of her work, both with and without Albert Campion. The Margery Allingham Omnibus, comprising Sweet Danger, The Case of the Late Pig and The Tiger in the Smoke, with a critical introduction by Jane Stevenson, was published in 2006.
Allingham the Writer
At the age of eight, Margery earned her first money as a writer when one of her stories was printed in her aunt’s magazine. Margery contributed articles and Sexton Blake stories to her father’s papers.
Her first novel, Blackkerchief Dick, was published in 1923 when she was 19. Blackkerchief Dick was well received, but was not a financial success. She wrote several plays in this period, and attempted to write a serious novel. Fortunately for us, she decided that writing mysteries was her true calling.
Allingham’s Albert Campion Appears
Her breakthrough mystery novel was in 1929 with the publication of The Crime at Black Dudley. This book introduced Albert Campion to her readers, although originally, he was only a minor character. He is described by George Abbershaw, who was the main character in this first book, as a “fresh-faced young man with the tow-colored hair and the foolish, pale-blue eyes behind tortoiseshell-rimmed spectacles….”
At first, she continued writing short stories and pieces for magazines such as The Strand Magazine, but her Campion following was growing. Campion returned in Mystery Mile as the lead character. This was in part based on the pressure from her American publishers, but also Allingham found that she liked the character she had created. With three novels complete and now with a strong central character, Allingham made Campion the centerpiece of another 17 novels and over 20 short stories, until her death.
Allingham’s Albert Campion is a Man of Mystery
Albert Campion is a pseudonym for a gentleman from a prominent British family. In The Fashion in Shrouds he verifies that his real name is Rudolph but he changed it to Albert simply because he liked this name better.
In the early books there are subtle hints that Campion is part of the Royal family and in the succession line to the throne. In later books, the royal connection is not mentioned. However, he has an older brother, Herbert, who is a viscount. Later, we learn from an uncle that Herbert has died and having never married the title now belongs to Campion, although he doesn’t use it
Campion was born in 1900, is well educated at top schools and by his twenties is pursuing a life as an adventurer and detective. He is able to operate in the upper class of society, interface with government officials and mingle with the criminal class all with ease. He is often assisted by his manservant Lugg, who was a former burglar.
Campion had a friendly demeanor and often sported a blank expression which could fool those around him into believing he was no threat. However, when needed, Campion rose to the task at hand and either worked behind the scenes or as the main force fighting evil and solving crimes.
Albert Campion and Peter Wimsey
Many comparisons have been made between Albert Campion and Dorothy Sayers’s, Peter Wimsey. Both are from titled families. Both have sufficient wealth that allows them to concentrate on solving cases and not worry about earning an income.
Wimsey has Mervyn Bunter and Campion has Magersfontein Lugg as their manservants and able assistants when working a case. Both spent their wars years overseas involved in never discussed secret missions for the government. Wimsey marries Harriet Vane. Campion marries Amanda Fitton, an aircraft engineer and pilot, who he first meets in Sweet Danger. In later stories both wives have equal status with their husbands in solving cases. Wimsey has a family and Campion has his son, Rupert.
Was Campion created in honor of Lord Peter Wimsey, as a parody of Wimsey, or a starting point for Allingham to develop her own distinctive detective? Sayers and Allingham lived only a few miles from each other, but other than their professional association in The Detection Club there seemed to be little contact. Although Sayers wrote a good review of Allingham in a Sunday column stating that only a very good writer would have the versatility to create her variety of detective stories.
Allingham’s Unique Style
Allingham’s counterparts locked their detectives like Wimsey, Poirot and Alleyn into a particular format. However, Allingham was much more willing to experiment with Campion and not confine him only to a traditional mystery format.
Her early mysteries like The Black Dudley Murder, Mystery Mile, and The Gyrth Chalice Mystery are more traditional and might be classified as “village mysteries.”
In The Case of the Late Pig Campion tells the story in first person as an autobiographical account of events. In The Tiger in the Smoke, the book is written as a thriller with Campion playing a lesser role to the psychopathic killer Jack Havoc. Unlike other detectives, Campion is sometimes in the wings watching the action and not the lead character on stage. Agatha Christie once said that Allingham’s work was “distinctive” and did not rely on plot twists for impact.
In the Campion books our detective ages along with his police associates like Stanislaus Oates, Charles Luke and L.C. Cockran (Elsie). With this aging there is a little less of the young, well-to-do adventurer that tended to stumble into a problem that needed to solved. Instead there is a maturity which allows Campion to grow beyond George Abbershaw’s original comment of him being a “silly ass” and he becomes a well-rounded character involved in serious solutions to crime.
Campion Lives On
Campion may not be the deep-thinking detective of a Hercule Poirot with his little gray cells−or have the British government and aristocratic in-roads of Wimsey−or have Alleyn’s police knowledge and access. On the other hand, Campion is more willing to venture into a difficult situation and participate where the other detectives might not go. Campion is also not afraid to admit that he can be frightened and sometimes struggles to remain in control of a situation.
Even after all these years, Campion has his devoted followers and so he should. Allingham has provided a series of interesting mysteries, adventures and thrillers with her unique detective−Albert Campion.
Were you able to find the key words from the 32 novels featuring Marsh’s gentleman detective, Albert Campion? Just in case you have any questions, here’s the solution to the puzzle.