Elizabeth Daly Crossword Puzzle Solution

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

Posted in Mystery Authors, Mystery Crossword Puzzles, Mystery Detectives | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Mystery Authors, Mystery Crossword Puzzles | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Mystery Authors, Mystery Characters, Mystery Detectives | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Mystery Detectives, Mystery Word Search Puzzles | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Mystery Authors, Mystery Word Search Puzzles | Leave a comment

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.

53

Posted in Mystery Word Search Puzzles | Leave a comment

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.

60answer

Posted in Mystery Authors, Mystery Crossword Puzzles | Leave a comment

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.

puzzle60

Posted in Mystery Authors, Mystery Crossword Puzzles | Leave a comment

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.

54a

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Mystery Authors, Mystery Characters, Mystery Detectives | Leave a comment