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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Queens of Mystery Crossword Solution

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.

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The Queens of Mystery Crossword Puzzle

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.

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Margery Allingham & Albert Campion

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

Margery said she was destined to be a writer. Her father was a writer, her mother was a writer and all the people around her were writers. Allingham

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….”Allingham-Crime at Black Dudley

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.  Allinghman--Tider in the SmokeUnlike 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.

 

 

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Margery Allingham-Campion Word Search-Solution

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.

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Margery Allingham-Campion Book Titles

Below is a list of Margery Allingham-Albert Campion book titles. As always look for the capital letters in the puzzle. Solution will follow in a separate post.

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Edith Ngaio Marsh

Many of you have heard about the Golden Age of Mysteries. It was introduced in the 1920’s and reached a peak in the 1930’s, and perhaps lasted as long as the authors who wrote in this style. The Golden Age of Mysteries had specific rules that mystery authors were expected to follow. (Note: check my The Golden Age of Mysteries blog from September, 2012)

Agatha Christie for her entire body of work is called the “Queen of Crime.” However, during this same period there were four writers who were designated as the “Queens of Mystery.” The title belongs to Christie and Dorothy Sayers who were discussed in previous blogs, but there are two other women who share this honor. They are Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh. This blog is about Ngaio Marsh with Allingham being discussed at a later time.

Edith Ngaio Marsh

Edith Ngaio (pronounced Nigh-oh) Marsh was born in April of 1895 and was the only child of her mother, Rose and her bank clerk father, Henry Marsh.  There is some doubt about her actual birth date because her father did not register her birth until 1900. She lived at the same address for 76 years and died in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand in February, 1982.

Marsh-A Prolific Writer

Marsh wrote 32 mystery novels between 1934 and 1982 featuring her gentleman detective Roderick Alleyn. Although Marsh was a New Zealander, only four of her novels were set in her home country. While known for her Alleyn mystery novels, she also published short stories, numerous plays and three non-fiction books including her autobiography, Black Beech and Honeydew. Over the years March valued and protected her privacy. Thus, many were surprised when she wrote her autobiography which gave readers an insight to not only her writings but her private life.

Marsh was an Avid Researcher

Marsh thoroughly researched her stories and plays. For example, for medical knowledge, she relied on doctors who were family friends and had operated on her. She kept a chart of the command hierarchy for New Scotland Yard. Aside from her own observations, she constantly researched other information for her stories at the library. She kept notebook after notebook of her research work. Marsh -young woman

Marsh as Artist, Actresses and Writer 

March was always interested in the arts. She attended St. Margaret’s College from 1910-14, where she showed a talent for writing poetry, prose and plays as well as acting. In 1913, she attended Canterbury College of Art and when she left in 1919 she had her sights set on becoming a professional painter. However, when she was given the opportunity to tour with a Shakespeare company she delayed her painting plans.

Interest in Theater

While Marsh was known for her creation of mystery stories, she also maintained a life-long passion for the theater. At home her parents followed strict Victorian standards, but they took their young daughter to many theater performances. Her parents also performed as amateur actors. Marsh felt her mother had a creative side that was never fully realized and her mother even performed in one of her plays.

One of the early theater performances Marsh attended was Christie’s Alibi. Charles Laughton played the brilliant detective Poirot.

Ngaio Marsh

Awards for Marsh

Marsh received several awards including Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1966 and the Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement as a detective novelist from the Mystery Writers of America in 1978.

March Visits England

In 1928, Marsh made her first trip to England. She enjoyed London life and worked in theatre, interior design and continued to paint. She stayed with her friends Helen and Tahu Rhodes and their five children and the two women remained lifelong friends. She was an avid people watcher and an observer of events. While staying in England, she earned money by sending travel logs back to New Zealand.

While in England in 1931, Marsh purchase some pencils and several notebooks and started writing her first mystery. She would introduce the world to Detective Chief-Inspector  Roderick Alleyn in 1934.

The Golden Age of Mysteries

Ngaio Marsh was the last to join the other ladies as a Queen of Mystery during the Golden Age. At the time Marsh entered the field, the other writers, Christie, Sayers and Allingham were at their prime and perhaps paved the way for Marsh. In 1934 when Marsh published her first book, the others all added to their list of titles.

1934

Christie’s— Murder on the Orient Express

Marsh—first book A Man Lay Dead

Sayers — Nine Taylors

Allingham—Death of a Ghost

 

The Detection Club

On one of Marsh’s visits to England she was invited to attend a monthly dinner of the Detection Club at Grosvenor House. After dinner, the group retired to a drawing room to watch the induction ceremony for E.C. Bentley. Christie was not at the ceremony, but Marsh meet her later that evening.

Dorothy Sayers was the mistress of ceremonies for this induction. Sayers was an imposing figure who towered over her fellow members. The lights went out, the door opened and Sayers wearing her academic robes, holding a single candle lead the procession into the room. Hidden in her gown was a revolver. In fact, all members had a weapon. The last member of the procession carried a skull named “Eric” on a cushion. Sayers with Eric

While Marsh followed the principles of the Detection Club, she was unable to officially join the group. The club required that members attend five to six dinners per year and with March splitting her time between New Zealand and England she was unable to meet this requirement.

Writing Becomes a Career

Marsh was still torn between her desire to develop her skill as a painter. However, her writing career took off with the publication of Enter a Murderer (1935) and The Nursing Home Murder (1936). These two novels established her place as a leading crime writer.

Marsh’s Detective– Roderick Alleyn

When we meet Roderick Alleyn, in the first book, A Man Lay Dead, he’s 40 years old, but already a Detective Chief-Inspector at Scotland Yard. We learn that Alleyn is a member of the gentry, with an older brother, Sir George, who’s a baronet. He was raised in Buckinghamshire where his mother Lady Alleyn continues to live. He graduated from Oxford, served in army for three years during World War I, spent a year in the foreign service and then joined the police department as a constable.

The first Alleyn Mystery –A Man Lay Dead

A Man Lay Dead is the first novel featuring Alleyn and as mentioned above was published in 1934. The plot concerns a murder committed during a weekend party in a country house where the guests were playing a murder game. This was a popular activity at weekend parties and especially with Sir Hubert. A Man Lay Dead 2

The murder itself concerns a small group of guests staying at Sir Hubert Handesley’s estate. The guests include Sir Hubert’s niece (Angela North), Charles Rankin (a man about town), Nigel Bathgate (Charles’s cousin and a gossip reporter), Rosamund Grant, and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wilde. Also in attendance are an art expert and a Russian butler.

During the game, one of the guests is secretly selected to be the murderer. The murderer gets to select the victim. At some point, the murderer taps the selected guest on the shoulder, indicating that they are the victim.  Once the victim is selected, the lights go out, a gong rings, and then everyone assembles to determine who did it. It is all intended to be light-hearted fun. Except at this party, the corpse is for real.

Unlike later novels, this first novel is focused more on Nigel Bathgate and less on Alleyn. However, Alleyn is tasked with uncovering the culprit even though all seven suspects have alibis. He brings it to a successful conclusion while being distracted by sub-plots focused on the Russians and secret societies.

The Marsh Contribution to Mysteries

Marsh is sometimes hidden behind the works of Christie and Sayers, but stands just as tall in following the principles that make a good mystery. There’s a murder, with a substantial list of suspects and many clues. There are sub-plots and of course, red herrings. Then enters Detective Chief-Inspector Alleyn who interviews the suspects and follows the clues until a solution begins to emerge. And if the reader is paying close attention they have an equal opportunity, along with Alleyn, to solve the crime. Ngaio Marsh provides the reader with a good mystery.

One last thought. Now that Hercule Poirot has finished all of his stories on PBS, how about a series featuring Detective Chief-Inspector Roderick Alleyn. There are thirty-two stories just waiting for the opportunity. I do love watching a good mystery on PBS, don’t you?

 

PD James Comments about Marsh

  • “Death is never glamorized nor trivialized in Ngaio Marsh.”
  • “Readers in the golden years demanded not only that the victim be murdered, but that he or she be, intriguingly and bizarrely murdered…the method of murder in a Ngaio Marsh novel tends to linger in the memory.”

 

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Ngaio Marsh-Roderick Alleyn Word Search -Solution

Were you able to find the key words from the 32 novels featuring Marsh’s gentleman detective, Roderick Alleyn? Just in case you have any questions,  here’s the solution to the puzzle.

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Ngaio Marsh-Roderick Alleyn Titles Word Search

Ngaio Marsh wrote 32 novels featuring her gentleman detective, Roderick Alleyn. Listed below are the titles and the date they were published. Look for the capitalized words in puzzle.

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TV Mystery Shows #4 Word Search -Solution

Just in case you want to double check your answers to see if you captured all the latest mystery shows, here is the solution. Although, I’ll bet you found them all.

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TV Mystery Shows #4

There are so many wonderful television shows available to watch. Here are a few more to add to your list. Look for the words in capital letters.

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Agatha Raisin Titles Word Search Solution

I know you found them all. However, just in case you want to double check your answers, here is the solution for the Agatha Raisin word search titles.

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Agatha Raisin Book Titles

As mentioned in the blog on M.C. Beaton and Agatha Raisin, there are many more books for creating PBS shows. From the list of book titles below, look for the words in capital letters. Solution to follow at a later date.

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M.C. Beaton and Agatha Raisin

As many of you would agree, British television does a marvelous job with developing and presenting mystery shows. And fortunately for us, PBS brings many of these shows to this country.

After watching hundreds of episodes of the various British series, I’ve come to the conclusion that these mystery shows fall into three categories. There are the dark story lines like, Sherlock, Vera, Case Histories or Jack Taylor. There is the cozy type of mysteries like all the Christie stories with Poirot and Miss Marple or Midsomer Murders. Then there is the last category which I classify as the lighthearted mysteries. The lighthearted mystery shows definitely investigate murder but are sprinkled with a heavy amount of humor and social behaviors. Examples of these shows include Murder in Suburbia, Father Brown and one of the latest entries Agatha Raisin.

Marion Chesney and M.C. Beaton MC Beaton 1

Agatha Raisin is a series based on the books by British writer Marion Chesney under her pseudonym M.C. Beaton.

M.C. Beaton/Chesney was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1936. Her first job was in the fiction department of booksellers, John Smith & Sons Ltd.  While working for Smith she received a job offer from the Scottish Daily Mail where she was a reviewer of variety shows and then advanced to the job of theater critic. She left Smith when she took on the duties of fashion editor with Scottish Field magazine. Her next job was at Scottish Daily Express where she was a crime reporter. Once more she made a move to the Daily Express where she became the chief woman reporter. All these reporting jobs provided her with a variety of writing experiences.

She married Harry Scott Gibbons and had a son, Charles. Harry took a job as editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian and the family moved to the United States. This job did not work out and they moved to Virginia where Marion actually worked as a waitress. Finally, they both found jobs in New York on Rupert Murdock’s new tabloid, The Star. However, Marion wanted to spend more time with her son and her husband agreed.

She left her reporting career and switched to writing Regency romances under her maiden name of Marion Chesney. After authoring over 100 romances, she eventually tired of writing about the limited period between 1811 to 1820. She turned to writing detectives stories using the pseudonym M.C. Beaton.

The family eventually returned to England. Marion continued writing while Harry raised black sheep in Scotland. However, it was a long commute from London to Scotland. When their son finished school, they moved to the Cotswolds which also happens to be the home of the Agatha Raisin series.

Agatha Raisin-the Early Years

We learn from the short story Agatha’s First Case that Agatha Raisin is a 26-year-old woman working at a public relations firm. She is doing all the work and receiving little reward for her effort. She’s willing to do this because she is trying to better herself from her humble beginnings in a block slum in Birmingham.

Raisins 1st case

When Sir Bryce Teller is charged with murder Agatha is sent to break the news that the firm will no longer keep him as a client. However, during the interview Agatha decides to help with the press. Once he sees her ability at handling the press, he sets Agatha up in her own PR firm.

While establishing her PR firm, Agatha also proves that Sir Teller didn’t kill his wife and thus, establishes her detective credentials.

Her understanding of people, in addition to her PR skills over the years helps Agatha grow her business into one of the most successful agencies in London.

Agatha Raisin Retires to the Cotswolds

Now we jump ahead in time with the first book Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death. This is also the first episode in the PBS series. Agatha is now 53 and owns a highly successful PR agency with top clients. She has made her fortune and has also made the decision to retire while she can still enjoy life.

Based on a childhood memory of a camping trip she decides to leave London and retire to the fictional village of Carsely in the Cotswold. She is ready for a quiet retirement by enjoying life in a quaint village. And village life and all it has to offer would be perfect if it wasn’t for the murders.

Agatha decides the best way to fit into village life is to participate in the various activities. Her first attempt at blending in is by entering the local contest for baking the best quiche. There’s only one problem−Agatha doesn’t cook. Her cooking is limited to having a selection of prepared and frozen food items that she microwaves for most of her personal meals. For her entry in the baking competition, Agatha purchases a quiche from “The Quichery,” a top delicatessen in London. However, even with a professional entry, Agatha doesn’t win.

After the contest, the judge, Mr. Cummings-Browne takes home Agatha’s left-over quiche. The next day he is found dead after eating a second slice of the spinach quiche. However, this slice of quiche was laced with cowbane and Agatha quickly becomes the top suspect.

In order to help her defense as the potential murderer, she is forced to admit that her quiche was store bought. This faux pas immediately reduces her standing in the village to that of a cheater. In order to get back in the good graces of the villagers, she decides she must solve the crime.

Agatha Raisin on PBS 

Agatha Raisin Season 1

In the television series, the story lines tend to follow the original plots of the books. However, there are several character modifications from those in the books. However, the changes seem to add to the television drama.

Agatha, played by Ashley Jensen is clearly not 53, but an active forty something This age difference is reinforced when Bill Wong, the local constable, fills out his on-line dating profile and lists he is interested in women 40-50. He’s hoping to attract Agatha.

In addition to Bill, Agatha relies on an eclectic group of helpers including Roy Silver from her PR days in London and her house cleaner, Gemma Simpson and her daughter.  James Lacey, Agatha’s good-looking neighbor, is introduced early in the first television episode and plays a role in saving Agatha from danger. To make your own character comparisons be sure to check out the books as well as the PBS series.

This crew of amateur detectives under Agatha’s guidance plow through the list of suspects who can be just as eclectic as her helpers. Sometimes they stumble into misadventures but at the end of the day, they uncover the killer of quiche judge Cummings-Browne.

And so, life in the village continues with a sprinkling of murders to keep it from becoming too complacent or dull for the dynamic Agatha Raisin.

This is only one example from the first season of the television series. There are many more adventures based on the books to entertain PBS viewers. In fact, there are many more books available beyond those represented in this first season. To date there is only one season of this delightful series. Hopefully, with the added interest from American PBS audiences, producers will be persuaded to film several more seasons of Agatha Raisin.

Note: Marion Chesney is the author of the Hamish Macbeth detective series, which she also writes under the pseudonym M.C. Beaton. Perhaps in a future blog we will discuss this series.

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Methods of Murder #3 Word Search- Solution

Here are the answers for the latest Methods of Murder Word Search. How did you do? Did you find all the dastardly ways to commit murder?
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Methods of Murder # 3

Yes, we still have more Methods of Murder for you to consider. In some ways, it’s hard to believe there are so many ways to murder our fellow citizens. I might mention that I’ve already started list #4.  To solve the puzzle, look for the words in capital letters. The solution will be posted at a later date.
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John P. Marquand/Mr. Moto Crossword Solution

I know you worked very hard on completing this puzzle. Just in case you need some extra help, here is the solution for the John P. Marquand/Mr. Moto crossword.

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John P. Marquand/Mr. Moto Crossword

You’ve had a couple of weeks to look at the blog about John P. Marquand and Mr. Moto. Now it’s time to test your knowledge. Check out the crossword puzzle below. Remember, most of the answers can be found in the blog. Solution will be posted in a couple of weeks.

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John P. Marquand’s Mr. Moto

What Pulitzer Prize winning author of satirical novels also created one of the most memorable spy detectives in both books and films? The answer is−John P. Marquand.

John P. Marquand won the Pulitzer Prize for The Late George Apley (1938). His title character, George Apley, is a Harvard-educated, white, Anglo-Saxon protestant living on Beacon Hill in downtown Boston. Beacon Hill is one of the oldest and wealthiest areas of Boston where the old money families live. It is located near the Massachusetts State House which sits prominently at the top of the hill, which gives us the term “Beacon Hill.” It was this world of wealth, privilege and power with its strict code for social behavior that Marquand was born into and later satirized.John_P._Marquand

Marquand’s Early Years

Marquand was descendant from several of the early governors of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His mother was the great niece of well-known feminist writer, Margaret Fuller, and a cousin of Buckminster Fuller. Aside from his prestige lineage, there was the family fortune made from shipping and merchandising.

However, during the crash of 1907 the family lost their money and suffered a financial downturn. Marquand was sent to live with two eccentric aunts in an old deteriorating mansion in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Unable to afford the tuition for an elite private school he attended the local public high school. He did go to Harvard by winning a scholarship for Chemistry.

At Harvard, he had wanted to write for the newspaper but was turned down. Instead he was elected to the editorial board of the humor magazine, the Harvard Lampoon. After graduation, he finally worked for a newspaper when he was hired by the Boston Evening Transcript in 1915.

In 1922 he married Christina Sedgwick, niece of The Atlantic Monthly editor, Ellery Sedgwick. In 1925 Marquand published, Lord Timothy Dexter. This was considered an important book about the life of this Newburyport eccentric. His other well-known satirical novels include H. M. Pulham, Esquire (1941), B.F.’s Daughter (1946) and Sincerely, Willis Wade (1955).

By the mid-1930’s he was a prolific and successful writer and a regular contributor of fiction for slick magazines like The Saturday Evening Post. By the late 1930’s, Marquand, had created a series of novels about life in the upper-class.

Although he had been snubbed by his college roommates for his lack of wealth, he ultimately joined and embodied the lifestyle of the upper-class including owning luxury homes in Newburyport and the Caribbean. He was part of the very social scene that he often portrayed in a negative light. He was even linked to the Rockefeller family through his second wife, Adelaide Ferry Hooker, whose sister, Blanchette, was married to John D. Rockefeller III.

However, since this is a mystery blog, we think Marquand’s most important work was the creation of Japanese master spy and detective, Mr. Moto. Marquand achieved great popularity and commercial success with his spy novels about this fictional detective.

The Creation of Mr. Moto

Marquand was asked by The Saturday Evening Post to write a series of stories featuring an Asian character. In fact, the magazine sent him on a trip to Asia to do research. The magazine was attempting to fill the void created by the death of Erle Derr Biggers, the creator of Charlie Chan.

His first Moto story appeared in the magazine under the title, No Hero but later when published as a novel it was changed to, Your Turn, Mr. Moto.

Marquand wrote six Moto novels between 1935 and 1957.  All six novels were serialized first as magazine stories in The Saturday Evening Post except for Last Laugh, Mr. Moto which was serialized in Collier’s Weekly.

Marquand’s Moto novels were adapted into 23 radio shows starring James Monk. The first radio show was called A Force Called X07 (May,1951) and ended with The Dry Martini (October, 1951). Eight motion pictures were developed by Twentieth Century Fox starring Peter Lorre and Henry Silva starred in a 1965 film, The Return of Mr. Moto. In 2003 Moonstone Books published a graphic novel called Welcome Back, Mr. Moto.

Who Is Mr. Moto

When Mr. I.A. Moto is introduced to us, he appears as an eccentric Japanese aristocrat. In Think fast, Mr. Moto, Moto is described as a small man, delicate, almost fragile. book moto

He was dressed formally in morning coat and striped trousers. His black hair was carefully brushed in the Prussian style. He was smiling, showing a row of shiny gold-filled teeth, and as he smiled he drew in his breath with a polite, soft sibilant sound.

The focus of the novels is on westerners who experience problems involving some international intrigue. They are written from the westerner’s point of view. Mr. Moto is an international spy that operates behind the scene and enters into their lives to help them find a solution to their problem and extract them from danger.

In Think Fast, Mr. Moto he mentions other skills that he possesses:

Yes, I can do many things. I can mix drinks and wait on tables, and I am a very good valet. I can navigate and manage small boats. I have studied at two foreign universities. I also know carpentry and surveying and five Chinese dialects. So very many things come in useful.

Later in Mr. Moto Is So Sorry, we learn that one of the foreign universities he attended is American where he was a student of Anthropology. Later in the film versions of Mr. Moto, we will discover he has added several more skills to his list.

Plots of the Novels

In all the novels, Moto is a shadowy figure that seems to have numerous contacts in the Orient underworld that he manipulates to achieve his desired results.  Let’s take a look at the first Mr. Moto book.

In Your Turn, Mr. Moto, Flying Ace Lee Casey finds himself stranded in Tokyo when his transpacific pilot job for a tobacco company is cancelled. Low on funds Casey accepts a lucrative job offer from Mr. Moto and finds himself on a ship bound for Shanghai. His fellow passenger and female lead in this story is Sonya, a White Russian, who also seems to be assisting Mr. Moto. When a Chinese man turns up dead in Casey’s cabin, the trio is caught in a game of danger that could affect all of their countries.  Your Turn Mr. Moto

In the final novel, The Last of Mr. Moto (Stopover Tokyo-magazine title) is set in the 1950’s. Mr. Moto is now an intelligent officer for the pro-western Japanese government.

Jack Rhyce, a former paratrooper from World War II, has changed careers to becomes a secret agent in the early years of the Cold War. Rhyce and fellow spy Ruth Bogart have been dispatched to Tokyo to foil an assassination attempt. However, while the team is working to stop a murder they must also deal with an additional problem. Japan is now forming close ties with America and a communist ring is stirring up anti-American sentiment.

Jack and Ruth are pretending to be representatives of the Asia Friendship League and are met by Mr. Moto at the airport. Mr. Moto is undercover as a would-be tour guide who offers to make their stay more pleasant.

The American spies immediately suspect that there’s more to Mr. Moto than what appears. They need to stop the sinister plot and discover if the mysterious Mr. Moto will be their ally, or their enemy.

Both of these examples are representative of the plots in the novels. A westerner is in peril in the world of spies and deadly plots. The constant danger is offset with a romance between the male hero and the female lead.

The characters may not always understand the motives of Mr. Moto but he is ultimately there to help them. There’s also a sense that the people he is helping are talented individuals who emerge as a new form of hero. Moto recognizes this when he says:

“Undercover work is always like that,” …the people one encounters are much the same. They may be shady and raffish, but don’t forget they’re all of them brave. They do their work like a piece on a chess board and nothing stops them from moving along the diagonal. … they’re working for their respective countries and that’s more than a lot of people do.”

Mr. Moto Films

During one of the winter months this year, there was a very snowy day. This is the kind of day where you don’t want to leave the house and curling up with a good book is the perfect solution.

On this day, instead of opting for a good mystery book, I decided to do my own film fest. I had just received the collection of Mr. Moto movies. These are the eight movies from 20th Century Fox filmed between 1937 and 1939 featuring Peter Lorrie. I started with the first film, Think Fast, Mr. Moto. Think Fast Mr. Moto

Unlike the novels, there are several differences with the Mr. Moto in the films. Mr. I.A. Moto of the novels now has the first name of Kentaro. Mr. Moto is no longer the shadowy figure behind the scenes, but the focus of the films with the westerner playing a subordinate role. Occasionally he may be the seen in a tuxedo, but he does not wear formal morning attire as his normal dress and there is no signs of a gold tooth.

And perhaps based on the athleticism of Lorre we are aware that Moto is both an expert in Jiu-Jitsu and Judo and capable of circus like feats. He is a master of disguises and is also a skilled magician. For his personal enjoyment, he composes a form of poetry known as Haiku and draws caricatures.

The film plots are loosely based on the original stories but always involve spies and expose Mr. Moto to danger from some foreign government or group. And there is still the westerner who needs help in saving the secret plans, protecting their country or finding the hidden treasure. With the help of Mr. Moto, the problem is solved and for just a little while life returns to normal, until the next Moto film.

Mr. Moto Continues to be a Good Story

Mr. Moto was a good solid replacement for the Charlie Chan stories. I recommend on snowy days or on any day for that matter, to treat yourself to the detective stories of John P. Marquand’s, Mr. Moto. They are full of intrigue, spies, romance and plots that keeps the reader entertained.

 

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Erle Stanley Gardner Book Titles #2-Solution

Hope you found all the Perry Mason titles. Just in case you didn’t, here is the solution. I also hoped you enjoyed our posts about Erle Stanley Gardner.

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Erle Stanley Gardner Titles #2 Word Search

I’m going to finish our current set of blogs about Erle Stanley Gardner with a second word search puzzle of Perry Mason titles. Gardner was such a prolific writer that I couldn’t fit all the titles in just one word search. And these are just the Perry Mason titles. Who knows maybe I’ll have a word search of Cool and Lam titles at a later date. As always, find the words in the list of titles that are capitalized.

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Erle Stanley Gardner Crossword- Solution

There were a couple of tough questions in this puzzle, so I understand if you need to check your answers. I also know you are a mystery puzzle expert so I’m sure you did a great job!

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Erle Stanley Gardner Crossword Puzzle

If you’re searching for an answer, be sure to read the previous blog about Erle Stanley Gardner. You’ll find the answers for this crossword puzzle within that blog. Solution will be posted in a couple of weeks.

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Erle Stanley Gardner

Mention the name of actor, Raymond Burr and most people will immediately respond− “Perry Mason.” Burr made his acting mark playing this television lawyer.  But ask this same audience the name of the writer of the Perry Mason stories and many people will struggle to remember −Erle Stanley Gardner.

Erle Stanley Gardner

Gardner is the prolific writer who created over eighty Mason stories along with two other lesser known mystery series Cool and Lam and Doug Selby and numerous other works.

Gardner’s Legal Background

Gardner attended law school in Indiana but only lasted about a month. He had an interest in boxing which included organizing illegal boxing matches. This endeavor resulted in his suspension from school.

He came home to California where he secured a job as a typist at a law firm. Without any formal schooling, but with the knowledge he learned at the law firm and self-study he passed the bar in 1911. He opened a law office in 1917, but soon closed it for a better paying sales job. By 1921 he returned to the practice of law and was a partner at the firm of Sheridan, Orr, Drapeau and Gardner where he remained until 1933.

As a lawyer, Gardner preferred case strategy and courtroom tactics and was bored by other elements of law. His preference for strategy and tactics are clearly found in his stories.

Gardner’s and Pulp Magazines

The existence of Pulp Magazines helped launch many a Golden Age mystery author and Erle Stanley Gardner was no exception. He produced hundreds of stories for the pulps. Long before the Perry Mason stories became popular Erle Stanley Gardner was considered the “King of the Pulps.”

As the Mason novels became more popular Gardner reduced his contributions to these magazines. Of course, by the 1950’s the pulps were also on their way out.

Gardner’s Perry Mason

The Perry Mason stories are the largest body of work that Gardner produced. And the Mason books rank third in the top ten list of best-selling series.

As a young boy in Massachusetts Gardner read a magazine called the “Youth’s Companion” which was published in Boston by the Perry Mason Company. It was from this company that Gardner took the name for his Perry Mason character.

Gardner’s Perry Mason Stories

The Mason stories tend to follow a set formula with a wrongly accused client seeking Mason’s help. Then Mason and Drake investigate.  The guilty party is usually revealed during the preliminary court proceedings. In addition, other crimes like blackmail, embezzlement, missing persons and fraud are often discovered along with the solution for the current murder.

Although most of us probably picture someone who looks like Raymond Burr when we think of Perry Mason, very few descriptive details are presented in the stories. He leaves the true description of Mason to the reader’s imagination. We also know very little about Mason’s private life. He lives alone in an apartment and his only romantic interest seems to be Della, although this relationship is never fulfilled. We actually know more about Mason’s food likes because many scenes take place in restaurants.

Mason is also a very good detective. In The Case of the Caretaker’s Cat, District Attorney Hamilton Burger says “You’re a better detective than you are a lawyer.” It’s not enough for Mason to simply get his client off.  He needs to solve the crime.

Perry Mason−Early Films

In the 30’s Warner Brothers purchased the film rights for several of the Mason novels. However, Gardner was not thrilled with the results. In one film the emphasis was on Mason as a Latin lover. In another, film he marries Della Street. In all the films, Mason acted as a lighthearted detective solving the crime with no courtroom trials. Some of the actors portraying Mason in these films were Warren William, Ricardo Cortez, and Donald Woods. These films were purely entertainment without emphasis on the legal element.

Perry Mason Radio

Even though his experience with Perry Mason movies was not a positive one, Gardner decided to put Mason on the radio. The Perry Mason shows were developed as part of detergent giant Proctor and Gamble’s afternoon soap operas or as they became known − “The Soaps.” These shows were extremely popular and built a large audience.

Perry Mason Television

By the time audiences were switching from radio to television, Perry Mason was at the top of the radio ratings.

CBS approached Gardner about turning Perry Mason into an afternoon soap opera for television. Gardner refused, but CBS did create the long running soap, The Edge of Night starring John Larkin. Larkin had been the voice of Perry Mason on the radio and later had guest appearances on the Mason television series.

In 1957, CBS again approached Gardner for a television show featuring Perry Mason. Gardner along with actress Gail Patrick (Jackson) and her husband, Thomas Jackson (Gardner’s literary agent) formed a production company. This provided Gardner with the creative control he wanted.  Burr as Mason

Canadian actor, Raymond Burr, was chosen for the starring role. Burr had originally auditioned for the role of Hamilton Burger. However, once Gardner saw Burr he said Burr was the character he had in mind when he created Mason. Paul Drake was played by William Hopper, the son of Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. Della Street was played by Barbara Hale who also appeared in several Falcon
movies. And many future stars had early appearances on the series including Burt Reynolds, Robert Redford, Cloris Leachman, Leonard Nimoy, Dick Clark, Angie Dickinson and even the genie herself, Barbara Eden. In the final episode of this series, The Case of the Final Fade-Out, even Gardner had a cameo appearance as the judge

[Note: Barbara Hale was the last remaining star from the original series and just passed away in January (2017) at the age of 94.]

Perry Mason Continues

For one season from 1973-1974 a second television series was produced featuring Monte Markham as Mason. Then in 1985, thirty new episodes were created. The series once again featured Raymond Burr as Mason with Barbara Hale as Della Street and ran until 1995. Barbara Hale’s son, William Katt played Paul Drake. For new generations of viewing audiences, the original and the later series featuring Burr can still be seen on television. And HBO recently announced the possibility of a new series featuring Robert Downey Jr. So, stay tuned for more Perry Mason.

Other Gardner Crime Series

Gardner’s Doug Selby

Doug Selby is on the opposite side of the legal system from Perry Mason. He is a newly elected District Attorney who works crime cases with the newly elected Sheriff, Rex Brandon.  In the first book, The D.A. Calls It Murder, Selby must not only solve the murder with reluctant witnesses but face constant criticisms from a hostile and corrupt press. The-D-A-Calls-It-Murder-FE

His antagonist in many of the stories is Alphonse Baker (A.B.) Carr. Unlike Mason, he’s a shyster whose clients are usually guilty.  There are nine Selby books, a radio episode and a television film. The television film starred Jim Hutton who also played Ellery Queen in the television series.

Gardner’s Cool and Lam,

Cool and Lam was a series about a detective agency that Gardner wrote using the pseudonym A.A. Fair. He produced twenty-nine books featuring Bertha Cool and Donald Lam starting with The Bigger They Come (1939).

Bertha Cool takes over the detective agency after her husband’s death. She is described initially as being overweight with white hair, miserly, but persistent.  In the first novel, she hires Donald Lam as an operative who does the leg work for the agency.

Lam is not your typical hardboiled detective. He doesn’t weigh much and is constantly getting beat up. He doesn’t carry a gun for fear of losing it during a fight. However, like a true hardboiled detective he has his own code of justice which doesn’t always include following the normal legal process. Although, he wants a partnership in the agency, Lam doesn’t receive it until after he leaves the team and Bertha finally realizes how valuable his skills are to solving the crimes.

One final note about this series. The Knife Slipped which was written in 1939 as the second book in the series was lost among Gardner’s papers. When it was discovered it was finally published in 2016.

Still More Gardner Writings

Gardner did a great deal of radio work where he created characters such as Christopher London in 1950 (played by Glenn Ford) and characters for a Life in Your Hands which aired from 1949-1952.

Gardner also spent many hours working on a project called the “Court of Last Resort.” Working with legal, forensic and investigative experts, the project reviewed criminal cases and sought to reverse miscarriages of justice. Gardner wrote a book about the project’s work and won an Edgar Award in the Best Fact Crime category. The project was also made into a television series.

In addition to his fiction work, Gardner wrote documentaries about his travels through the Baja California peninsula. He loved the area and traveled extensively writing about his explorations. When he passed away on March 11, 1970 at age 80, his final instructions were that he was to be cremated and his ashes scattered over his beloved Baja peninsula.

Personal life

Gardner married Natalie Frances Talbert in 1912 and they had one daughter, Grace. Gardner and Frances separated in the early thirties, but never divorced. After her death in 1968, Gardner married Agnes Jean Bethell who had been one of his secretaries since 1930.

Gardner typed his stories on a typewriter using only two fingers.  Of course, as he became more famous he dictated his writing to a team of secretaries.  Jean had two sisters Peggy and Ruth who also worked as Garner’s secretaries. It is said that Jean, Peggy and Ruth inspired Gardner’s creation of Della Street.

Earl Stanley Gardner’s Contribution to Mysteries

The massive volume of work produced by Gardner makes him stand out from other crime and mystery writers. At the time of his death, he was the best-selling American writer of the 20th century.

With his courtroom stories, Gardner established a format that has continued to influence legal dramas through today. Gardner’s lawyers were more than the legal arm of the law. They were detectives who helped solve crimes. More importantly they insured that justice was done for both the innocent and the guilty. And like his Perry Mason TV series Gardner’s work continues to live on for new readers

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Erle Stanley Gardner Book Titles #1-Solution

A couple of weeks have passed since I posted this first word search puzzle of Perry Mason titles. Did you discover all of the key words? If not, here is the solution so you can check your work.

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Erle Stanley Gardner Titles #1 Word Search

Over the next several blogs, we’re going to take a look at Erle Stanley Gardner’s writings. Let’s start with a word search puzzle. This list represents the early Perry Mason titles through 1953. As always, search for the words from the titles in capital letters.

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Raymond Chandler Crossword Puzzle-Solution

Here’s your chance to see if you are a Raymond Chandler expert. Below are the solutions to the crossword puzzle.

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Raymond Chandler Crossword Puzzle

Hopefully, you have read the previously published Raymond Chandler blog. Now it’s time to test your knowledge about Raymond Chandler with this crossword puzzle. Solution will follow in a few weeks.

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Raymond Chandler

What do you do when you’re a top executive with a large oil company and you lose your job during the depression. If your Raymond Chandler, you become a writer of hardboiled detective fiction. He may have started his writing career late in life −at the age of forty-four− but he created one of the most iconic detectives of all time in Phillip Marlowe.

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Chandler was born in 1888 in Chicago, Illinois to Florence and Maurice Chandler. He spent his early years living in Plattsmouth, Nebraska near relatives of his mother’s family. However, life was not easy for him and his mother. His father was an alcoholic and then abandon the family. His mother, who was originally from Ireland, made a decision that the best place to raise Ray was to return nearer her home. They arrived in London in 1900 where they lived with her mother while one of her Irish uncles supported them.

Chandler’s Education

After his early education, Chandler continued at Dulwich College in London.  Other famous authors who received their education at this institution were C.S. Forester and P.G. Wodehouse. He did not go on to attend university but spent time traveling in Germany and France. In 1907, he was naturalized as a British subject.  This allowed him to take the civil service examination and get a job with the British Admiralty. Also during this time he published his first poem.

Chandler soon discovered he did not like civil service and disregarding family objections he resigned. He next worked as a reporter for both the Daily Express and the Bristol Western Gazette. He was not considered a particularly good journalist, but he published reviews and continued writing poetry.

In 1912 he returned to the US and his mother joined him at the end of the year. In 1913 they moved to the city of Los Angeles.

In 1917 when World War I started he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and he did see action in France. He had just started flight training in the Royal Air Force when the war ended.

Chandler’s Personal Life

After his military service, he returned to Los Angeles and fell in love with Pearl (Cissy) Pascal. She was 18 years his senior, married and the step mother to one of the men that enlisted with Chandler. Cissy divorced her husband but Chandler’s mother was still not happy with her son’s choice of a partner. Chandler waited and in the interim supported both woman. Then after his mother’s death in 1923, he married Cissy.

Chandler was totally in love with Cissy. When Cissy died in 1954 Chandler was absolutely heartbroken. His loneliness after her death along with his increased drinking led to bouts of depression. He attempted suicide in 1955. He even forgot that Cissy’s ashes were stored in the basement of Cypress View Mausoleum. It wasn’t until 2010 through the efforts of lawyer, Aissa Wayne (John Wayne’s daughter) that Cissy finally joined Chandler at his grave site in Mount Hope cemetery. On the gravestone are the words “Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.”

Chandler and Pulp Fiction

Chandler explained that he started reading pulp fiction because he never cared for the short stories found in women’s magazines. Chandler said he taught himself to write pulp fiction by reading and studying the stories from Erle Stanley Gardner.

The Black Mask magazine, which was featured in a previous blog, published Chandler’s first story, “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot” in 1933. In his first stories the detective’s name was Mallory. However, when Chandler was at Dulwich College he was a member of Marlowe house and it is believed this influenced the name change. The last pulp fiction short story Chandler penned was “The Pencil.” (1959)

Chandler’s Marlowe Novels

The first full length novel that introduce his detective Philip Marlowe was The Big Sleep in 1939. Chandler was 51 when this book was published.

After, The Big Sleep he wrote six more Philip Marlowe novels. The last Marlowe novel that Chandler completed was Playback. He was 70 when he finished this book.

Chandler Plot Summaries:

The Big Sleep (1939) In this first book, Marlowe is hired by aging millionaire General Sternwood. He tells Marlowe that his daughter Carmen is being blackmailed. However, Marlowe also learns that sister Vivian’s husband Rusty Regan has disappeared.

What appears to be a simple case of paying off a blackmailer turns into a complex case of kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murders. And under Marlowe’s code of justice all the murders must be solved regardless of who committed them.

Farewell My Lovely (1940)  While working a dead-end case, Marlowe spots felon Moose Malloy in a nightclub called Florian’s. He’s  looking for his ex-girlfriend Velma Valento.

Marlowe on a separate case is hired to deliver a ransom to retrieve a set of stolen jewels. The separate searches for the missing showgirl and the missing jewelry merge into a string of related crimes for Marlowe to solve.

The High Window (1942) Marlowe is asked to recover a missing doubloon which is a rare and valuable coin. Is the coin’s disappearance related to the son, Leslie Murdock’s gambling debts? Was the husband’s fall from a window really a murder? Several murders are interwoven with the search for the coin and the players connected to it. the-high-window

The Lady in the Lake (1943) Marlowe is hired by Derace Kingsley to find his estranged wife, Crystal. It’s believed that Crystal has run off with Chris Lavery, until he turns up dead.

There are three women challenging Marlowe’s detecting skills. The missing wife, the daughter found dead in a car with the motor running and of course the lady in the lake. Marlowe needs to sort out stolen identities, the murders and a crooked cop to bring justice to this case.

The Littler Sister (1949) This book incorporates Chandler’s film experience in several scenes, but does not portray Hollywood in a positive light. It focuses on a starlet, Mavis Weld who has a gangster boyfriend and a couple of siblings in her life. The plot includes multiple murders, black mail and family secrets that weave in and out of the plot.

The Long Goodbye (1953) This book was written while Chandler’s wife was dying and is considered his most personal. It concerns two men who are both alcoholics and one, Roger Wade, a successful novelist who now finds it hard to write.

It opens with Marlowe meeting a drunk named Terry Lennox who he later drives to Mexico. When he returns from Mexico, he finds that Lennox is accused of his wife’s murder. Lennox confesses to the murder in his suicide note. However, Marlowe is not convinced about Terry’s suicide.

In the meantime, Marlowe takes a case to keep novelist Roger Wade writing and not drinking. However, when Wade is murdered Marlowe finds the two cases are connected.

Playback (1958) Marlowe is hired by an anonymous client to find Betty Mayfield. She was acquitted of her husband’s murder but her father-in-law does not accept the outcome and wants her tailed. Marlowe finds he’s becoming romantically involved with the woman he is tailing. He must save her from both her father-in-law and a new murder charge.

Chandler’s Unfinished Novel

The eighth Marlowe novel was completed after Chandler’s death. When he died in 1959 he left behind four chapters of a new Phillip Marlowe novel. Robert B. Parker of Spencer fame was tapped to finish the book which was published in 1989. It’s called Poodle Springs and portrays Palm Springs in a negative light. poodle-spring-cover

Detective Phillip Marlowe

The location for most of the Chandler’s stories is the city of Los Angeles. In these stories he takes the reader from the high life of society into the underbelly of the seedier side of the city. However, none of the social groups depicted were free from corruption.

Marlowe follows the general guidelines for hardboiled detectives. He was fired from the D.A.’s office for insubordination, but he maintains his contacts within law enforcement. He doesn’t engage in fights just to prove a point, but he can take care of himself.  When he’s on the receiving end of an encounter, he’s tough and always manages to survive. He’s a drinker of hard liquors like brandy, whiskey and bourbon, but will indulge in cocktails like Gibsons and Gimlets when he’s with the ladies.

However, there’s a softer side to Marlowe.  He is more of a thinker and a man who is fond of poetry and enjoys a game of chess against himself. But true to typical hardboiled behavior he’s a loner and maintains a one-man office with no secretary.

Like Hammett’s Sam Spade, Marlowe is able to avoid the seduction of the story’s femme fatales. In the end his code of moral justice will always win out over the ladies.

Chandler and the Film Industry

The film version of Chandler’s first book, The Big Sleep (1946) is probably remembered more for the two stars that played in the movie rather than the plot of the book. Of course, I’m referring to actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. In fact, Bacall’s role was enhanced from the original story in order to give her more screen time with Bogart. the-big-sleep-movie

His second novel Farewell, My Lovely was made into three different Hollywood movies. The 1944 version Murder My Sweet marked the screen debut of Phillip Marlowe played by Dick Powell. Chandler liked Powell’s Portrayal of Marlowe. However, many actors besides Powell portrayed Marlowe including James Mitchum, Powers Boot, James Garner, Elliot Gould and James Caan.

Because of the success of the Marlowe books, Chandler was in demand. He decided to try his hand as a screenwriter. In 1944 he worked with Billy Wilder and adopted James M. Cain’s novel Double Indemnity. Wilder said the dialogue which is the heart of the film was largely Chandler’s contribution. Chandler also wrote the screenplay for The Blue Dahlia (1946). Both of these screenplays were nominated for Academy Awards.

Chandler worked on the film Strangers on the Train (1951) with Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock and Chandler did not get along and rumor has it that Hitchcock threw Chandler’s first two drafts in the trash. However, when the screen credits were listed, Chandler was in first position.

Chandler’s Contribution to Mysteries

Chandler’s strength was not in the plots that were often intricate, complex and sometimes incomplete, but in the emotion revealed in his descriptions and dialogue. Chandler was considered to be a more thoughtful writer weaving various style elements into his stories which make the people and places seem real.

Marlowe is also perhaps more romantic than other hardboiled detectives of this period.  He is often seen as a Sir Galahad coming to save the day.

Even though his style was different, Raymond Chandler along with Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain are credited with creating the standard for hardboiled detective fiction that we continue to enjoy today.

 

 

 

 

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Mystery TV Shows (#3) –Word Search

Over the years there have been some great TV shows featuring an assortment of detectives. Here is another sampling of those shows. Find the capitalized words from the list below.

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