Donna Frey left a comment on my blog entry about gothic romantic mystery paperbacks a while back, and I thought it might be more useful if posted my reply as a new blog entry, instead of leaving it hidden where no one would find it.

   Here’s what Donna asked:

    “I have a 1953 copy of Theresa Charles’ Fairer Than She, and I’ve always loved it. The heroine is psychic, and TC is such a good writer. Would like to buy her other books but there is never a plot description on Amazon or eBay so it’s buying blind. I don’t like the Nurse in love with Doctor books. How do I get a description before I buy? And does anyone know of a bio of Ms. Charles? Would like to read about her. Thanks.”

Theresa Charles

   Donna, you’re not alone in liking the gothics that Theresa Charles wrote. I’ve been asked a few times before to be on the lookout for her books by people trying to find them. (They’re not all that difficult to come across, but again there must be a demand for them. The asking prices online start around $4.00, which as the low end price for a gothic, is rather high.)

   As far as a biography is concerned, technically speaking, there is or was no “Theresa Charles.” That was the joint pen name of two British authors, Irene Maude Swatridge and Charles John Swatridge, neither no longer living. Other than their names, though, I’ve never found much of anything more about them. I assume they are were a married couple, but of course this doesn’t mean that they were. Irene also wrote a few books on her own, using a pair of other pen names. I’ll list the titles below.

   You’re right in being wary of buying any books by Theresa Charles without knowing more about them. A lot of the books under her name appear to have been straight romances, including (yes) Doctor-Nurse affairs. The list of titles below are from Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin. With one possible (and obvious) exception, these would be your best bets as books to start hunting down. [UK = British edition.]

      CHARLES, THERESA; pseudonym of Irene Maude Swatridge & Charles John Swatridge; other pseudonyms: Leslie Lance & Jan Tempest
         * The Burning Beacon (Cassell, UK, 1956, hc) Lancer, 1966.
         * Fairer Than She (Cassell, UK, 1953, hc) Dell, 1968.
         * Happy Now I Go (Longman[s], UK, 1947, hc) U.S. title: Dark Legacy. Dell, 1968.
         * House on the Rocks (Hale, UK, 1962, hc) Paperback Library, 1966.
         * The Man for Me (Hale, UK, 1965, hc) U.S. title: The Shrouded Tower. Ace, 1966.
         * Nurse Alice in Love (Hale, UK, 1964, hc) U.S. title: Lady in the Mist. Ace, 1966.
         * Proud Citadel (Hale, UK, 1967, hc) Dell, 1967.
         * Widower’s Wife (Hale, UK, 1963, hc) U.S. title: Return to Terror. Paperback Library, 1966.

      LANCE, LESLIE; pseudonym of Irene Maude Swatridge; other pseudonyms: Theresa Charles & Jan Tempest
         * The Bride of Emersham (Pyramid, 1967, pb) British title?
         * Dark Stranger (Low, UK, 1946, hc)
         * The Girl in the Mauve Mini (Hale, UK, 1979, hc)
         * The House in the Woods (Ace, 1973, pb) British title?

      TEMPEST, JAN; pseudonym of Irene Maude Swatridge; other pseudonyms: Theresa Charles & Leslie Lance
         * House of the Pines (Mills, UK, 1946, hc) Ace, 1968.

   I hope this helps!