Inquiries


An inquiry from Bill Bickley:

Hello- I’m trying to identify what book the painting I purchased recently was used on…any ideas?? I thought it was a Mack Bolan or Nick Carter but have gone through most of those covers online to no avail. Do you know or perhaps know someone who has an encyclopedic knowledge of these types of books you can show or post this for others to see and offer opinions/answers?? Thanks!

      From mystery researcher John Herrington comes the following inquiry:

Hi Steve,

   I have been looking at this author of one title Headlines (1932) listed in Hubin’s Crime Fiction IV (as by Janette Cooper), and it has turned up an interesting story.

JANETTE COOPER Headlines

   She was born Rosalea (possibly Rosa or some variant spelling) Mary McCready in Pennsylvania in early 1894. She married Henry Colin Campbell, born 1864, in 1914 in Illinois. Is on 1920 census in Illinois with Henry, and two daughter Dorothy, aged 4, and Virginia, aged 2.

   But in 1930 her husband was executed as the “Cranford torch murderer,” and Rosalea seems to disappear from the records.

   There are a couple of things which do not help to clarify what happened to her.

   The Library of Congress copyright of Headlines is given to a Rhoda Cameron of Stamford, Connecticut. Although this lady appears in directories from 1930s, 1940s etc., sometimes with an Horace Cameron, she does not appear on 1930 or 1940 census. She may be the Rhoda Cameron born 3 April 1894 who died in Connecticut in 1978, who is Rhoda M Cameron in her Connecticut state death registration.

   The reports on Campbell’s trial state that he was a bigamist and had married several times without divorcing the previous wife. He is on 1910 census living with Emma Campbell and three children. In the trial report Emma Bullock Campbell says she was never divorced after Campbell left her, apparently to marry Rosalea! And while married to Rosalea, he had married his victim Mildred Mowery.

   I have no idea what Roselea’s status was after the trial and execution. Was any evidence found to say her marriage was definitely bigamous? Whatever, I cannot find her on 1930 census. Even a search for the children failed to find them. Did she change her name to escape the media hunt?

   And what is the connection between Rosalea and the mysterious Rhoda Cameron in the copyright entry. Are they possibly the same person?

   I would appreciate if you can do a bit on this, to see if anyone out there knows anything about Rosalea and what happened to her.

         Regards

               John

Editorial Comment: The description of the book as given on the cover says: “The wife of a man electrocuted for murder tells her own story.”

   Author Audrey Boyers is included in the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin, for one book under this name, Murder by Proxy (Doubleday Crime Club, 1945), which was actually a collaboration with Bettina Boyers. Some information about the latter has recently come to light: included in Part 37 of the online Addenda to the Revised CFIV, Bettina Boyers was the “pseudonym of Betti Rosa Tagger, 1891-1960. She was also known as Bettina Bruckner, and died the widow of Theodor Tagger, whose pseudonym was Ferdinand Bruckner. Born in Rosnow, Poland; died in New York City.”

   Bettina Boyers has one other entry of her own in CFIV, a solo novel entitled The White Mazurka (Doubleday, 1946), also a Crime Club novel.

   Not much information seems to be known about Audrey Boyers, however. One might have guessed that she and Bettina were sisters, and yet apparently they were not. What has caught Al’s eye in recent days, along with that of fellow mystery researcher John Herrington, is the entry for Audrey Boyers Walz (1906-1983) who between 1931 and 1951 wrote eight mystery novels under the pen name of Francis Bonnamy, all of which featured a series character named Peter Shane, a criminologist by trade.

   For more information about the series, check out the author’s GADetection page here: http://gadetection.pbworks.com/w/page/7930094/Bonnamy,%20Francis

   The question posed by Al and John is this: Is Audrey Boyers also Audrey Boyers Walz? It would be a whopper of a coincidence if they are not, but no evidence has so far arisen to say that they are. (And where does “Bettina Boyers” fit in?)

Hi Steve,

   W. B. M. Ferguson’s dates are given everywhere, including Crime Fiction IV, as 1881-1967. The birth is correct according to the Irish births registration, but I have now found in the English National Probate Calendar the death of a William Blair Morton Ferguson on 12 January 1958 in Londonderry.

   I have told Allen Hubin as it seems unlikely there are two people of that name, though one never knows.

   But, as I have said, as the 1967 death is given everywhere, I wonder if you could mention this to see if anyone can provide more information. It would also help to spread the word of that incorrect date – if it is incorrect.

   Many thanks

               John

      BIBLIOGRAPHY     [Taken from Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin] —

FERGUSON, W(illiam) B(lair) M(orton) (1881-1967); see pseudonym William Morton; Born in Belfast.

* *The Big Take (Long, 1952, hc) [U.S.]
* *-Black Bread (Long, 1933, hc)
* *The Black Company (Jenkins, 1925, hc) [New York] Chelsea, 1924.
* *Boss of the Skeletons (Long, 1945, hc) [New York City, NY; 1920 ca.]
* _The Clew in the Glass (Chelsea, 1926, hc) See: The Clue in the Glass (Jenkins 1927).
* *The Clue in the Glass (Jenkins, 1927, hc) [U.S.] U.S. title: The Clew in the Glass. Chelsea, 1926.
* *Crackerjack (Long, 1936, hc) Film: Gainsborough, 1938; released in the U.S. as Man with 100 Faces (scw: A. R. Rawlinson, Michael Pertwee, Basil Mason; dir: Albert de Courville).
* *Dog Fox (Long, 1938, hc)
* *Escape to Eternity (Long, 1944, hc) [Dan Cluer; New York City, NY]
* *The Island of Surprises (Long, 1935, hc)
* *London Lamb (Long, 1939, hc)
* _The Murder of Christine Wilmerding (Liveright, 1932, hc) See: Little Lost Lady (Hurst 1931), as by William Morton.
* *Other Folks’ Money (London: Nelson, 1928, hc) Chelsea, 1926.
* *Phonies (Long, 1951, hc) [New York City, NY; U.S. West]
* _The Pilditch Puzzle (Liveright, 1932, hc) See: The Murderer (Hurst 1932), as by William Morton.
* *Prelude to Horror (Long, 1943, hc)
* *The Riddle of the Rose (Jenkins, 1929, hc) [New York] McBride, 1929.
* *Sally (Long, 1940, hc)
* *The Shayne Case (Long, 1947, hc) [Dan Cluer; New York City, NY]
* *Somewhere Off Borneo (Long, 1936, hc)
* *The Vanishing Men (Long, 1932, hc)
* *Wyoming Tragedy (Long, 1935, hc) [Wyoming]

MORTON, WILLIAM; pseudonym of W. B. M. Ferguson, (1881-1967)

* *The Case of Casper Gault (Hurst, 1932, hc) [Police Commissioner Kirker Cameron; *Insp. Daniel “Biff” Corrigan; New York]
* *The Edged Tool (Chelsea, 1927, hc)
* *Little Lost Lady (Hurst, 1931, hc) [New York] U.S. title: The Murder of Christine Wilmerding, as by W. B. M. Ferguson. Liveright, 1932.
* *Masquerade (London: Nelson, 1928, hc) [*Insp. Daniel “Biff” Corrigan; New York] Chelsea, 1927.
* *The Murderer (Hurst, 1932, hc) [*Insp. Daniel “Biff” Corrigan; Police Commissioner Kirker Cameron; New York City, NY] U.S. title: The Pilditch Puzzle, as by W. B. M. Ferguson. Liveright, 1932.
* *The Mystery of the Human Bookcase (Hurst, 1931, hc) [*Insp. Daniel “Biff” Corrigan; Police Commissioner Kirker Cameron; New York City, NY] Mason (U.S.), 1931.

Hi Steve,

   If possible, can you put out this inquiry.

   Being a fan of the Inspector Pel books by Mark Hebden (i.e., John Harris ), I was a little surprised to see in the Curtis Brown archive at Columbia University that a Barry Fox was also mentioned as writing as Hebden. The archive was unable to help with further information.

   I have never thought of it before but three of the Hebden books were published after the death of Harris. So it seems possible that another hand was involved in writing those last books. Then there are the Juliet Hebden books about Pel, supposedly by Harris’ daughter.

   I asked Allen Hubin and the others, but no one had heard of a Barry Fox in relation to the Hebden books. But then I discovered that there is an American ghost-writer by that name. His website is at http://taylor-fox.com/

   I doubt that he will reveal anything because of confidentiality agreements, but I wonder if anyone else knows anything ?

   I would be grateful if you can add this to your inquiries.

   Many thanks

               John Herrington

      The Inspector Clovis Pel series, by Mark Hebden –

Death Set to Music (n.) H. Hamilton 1979 [Theatre; France]
Pel and the Faceless Corpse (n.) H. Hamilton 1979 [France]
Pel Under Pressure (n.) H. Hamilton 1980 [France]

MARK HEBDEN Inspector Pel

Pel Is Puzzled (n.) H. Hamilton 1981 [France]
Pel and the Bombers (n.) H. Hamilton 1982 [France]
Pel and the Staghound (n.) H. Hamilton 1982 [France]
Pel and the Pirates (n.) H. Hamilton 1984 [France]
Pel and the Predators (n.) H. Hamilton 1984 [France]
Pel and the Prowler (n.) H. Hamilton 1985 [France]
Pel and the Paris Mob (n.) H. Hamilton 1986 [France]
Pel Among the Pueblos (n.) Constable 1987 [Mexico]
Pel and the Touch of Pitch (n.) Constable 1987 [France]
Pel and the Picture of Innocence (n.) Constable 1988 [France]

MARK HEBDEN Inspector Pel

Pel and the Party Spirit (n.) Constable 1989 [France]
Pel and the Missing Persons (n.) Constable 1990 [France]
Pel and the Promised Land (n.) Constable 1991 [France]

MARK HEBDEN Inspector Pel

Pel and the Sepulchre Job (n.) Constable 1992 [France]

MARK HEBDEN Inspector Pel



      The Inspector Clovis Pel series, continued by Juliet Hebden —

Pel Picks Up the Pieces (n.) Constable 1993 [France]
Pel and the Perfect Partner (n.) Constable 1994 [France]
Pel the Patriarch (n.) Constable 1996 [France]
Pel and the Precious Parcel (n.) Constable 1997 [France]
Pel Is Provoked (n.) Constable 1999 [France]

MARK HEBDEN Inspector Pel

Pel and the Death of the Detective (n.) Constable 2000 [France]
Pel and the Butchers’ Blades (2001)
Pel and the Nickname Game (2002)

   Maybe you can help.

   I am going nuts trying to find the title for a crime movie I saw on TV in the mid-70’s. Only caught the last half and I don’t recall any major stars.

   The plot: a group of detectives are in a police office after hours waiting for one of the number to come in. In strolls a woman with a gun and a bottle of nitroglycerin. She claims the detective killed her husband and she’s going to kill him when he arrives. If any of the other detectives interfere, she’ll shoot the bottle of nitro and blow the whole office sky-high. Much tension ensues.

   Does this movie sound familiar?

                   — Tim Mayer

1. INQUIRY: From Bill Pronzini: Just for the heck of it, here’s a quiz question for you and M*F readers: Can you name at least one mystery novel narrated by a chauffeur, or in which a chauffeur is the investigating detective? I can supply the title and author of one and am wondering if there are others.

2. A New OTR Website. It might not be correct to call the CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER “Old Time Radio,” but given that the program ran for eight years beginning in 1974, it means that it’s been nearly 30 years since its last broadcast. There is a website that not only lists all 1399 episodes, but it also includes cross-listings for all of the performers and writers. And not only that, you can download or listen to each and every one. How many months would that take, if you did it non-stop? Pull out your calculators! Check it out at http://www.cbsrmt.com/

3. Pulp fiction writer Charles Boeckman is 91 and no longer writing, but his jazz band is still going strong. Check out a photo gallery of his latest gig here.

4. Headline in a local paper: Police were called to a day care center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

UPDATE. 01-06-12. My description of Charles Boeckman as a pulp fiction writer was challenged on a Yahoo group where I also posted the link to the photo gallery above. I was advised that Boeckman was a writer of hard-boiled fiction but not published in pulp magazines.

   I shouldn’t have been so short and brief in my post there, nor in the one above. I should (and could) have supplied more of a résumé for Boeckman, and I’m sorry I didn’t.

   It was Walker Martin who came to my rescue on that Yahoo list, and I hope he doesn’t mind my repeating some of the credentials for Boeckman I should have provided:

    “Charles Boeckman under the name Charles A. Beckman started writing for the Popular Publication line of pulps in the late 1940’s and continued until the pulps bit the dust. Such titles as Fifteen Western Tales and Detective Tales carried much of his short fiction. He also made the switch to the digests. I recently noticed his name in Manhunt.”

   Boeckman is one of the very few authors who wrote for the pulps still living — a survivor — and he should be recognized as such. I’m wondering whether he might be a suitable guest for one of the two annual pulp conventions sometime soon. Playing in a jazz band at the age of 91 seems to suggest that his health may be good enough to attend.

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