Mystery author Rosemary Kutak has two books to credit, both written in the 1940s. Up until today, her entry in Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin, has looked like this :


      * Darkness of Slumber (Lippincott, 1944, hc) [Dr. Marc Castleman]
      * I Am the Cat (n.) Farrar, 1948, hc. [Dr. Marc Castleman; Long Island, NY]

Kutak Darkness

   At some point in her life, as it turns out, Mrs. Kutak seems to have subtracted a few years from her age. Victor Berch has learned that — well, wait, I’ll let him tell it:

   “She and her husband had taken a European ocean trip and were returning on the SS Olympic, which sailed from Cherbourg, France, on Aug. 21, 1933 and arrived in NY on Sep. 6, 1933. Her birth information (apparently from her passport) gave her birth date as May 8, 1905, born in Anderson, Indiana.”

   In a later email, Victor reported further that “Rosemary shows up as Margaret Rosemary Norris in the 1910 Census. Daughter of Samuel C. and Luella Norris.”

   This investigation began when Al Hubin had discovered earlier that:

    “The Library of Congress gives a 1908 birth date to her, which I’ve used. But I can’t trace anyone alive with that name and birth year, and I’m rather wondering if the Rosemary N. Kutak (with the N probably standing for Norris) in the social security records isn’t the author. Her dates are [born] 5/8/1905 [and died] 7/8/1999 (in Louisville, KY).”

   Al was right and the Library of Congress, as Victor has shown, was wrong. The heading for Mrs. Kutak in the online Addenda for CFIV will look like this


   A blurb for Darkness of Slumber, which was reprinted as Pocket #402 in 1946, described the story thusly: “A young doctor investigates the sudden madness of a beautiful woman.” Another dealer quotes from the Canadian hardcover: “We got murder, we got a madhouse, and we got a beautiful woman — add to that a doctor with a reputation he wants to clear, and you’ve got a book the New York Times Book Review said was one of the ‘Ten Best.'”

Kutak Pocket

   I Am the Cat was reprinted twice in paperback, first as a digest-sized softcover in abridged form as Mercury Mystery #130 (December 1948), then by Collier in 1966 with an introduction by Anthony Boucher.

   My apologies for the lack of a cover image, but one online seller says: “Great old plot here, a Long Island mansion, six guest/suspects, mysterious events, all the typical players in a suspenseful story. […] The dust jacket is dark green, with foreboding picture of a stairway leading to where?”


   Author Freda Kreitzman is difficult to locate in CFIV. The book she was in part responsible for is entitled Eighteen by Thirteen (1998), a group-effort novel published as by The Writer’s Workshop. The entry looks like this:


      * Eighteen by Thirteen (Connecticut: Rutledge, 1998, pb) Round-robin novel by Molly Bartel, Doris Bissette, John Fisher, Orel Friedman, 1913- , Charlotte Hartman, Frieda Kreitzman, Erwin Lissau, Grace Marks, Julia Nyfield, Leon Robinson, Ruth Robinson, Betty Webster, and Gertrude Welt.

   She was one of the thirteen writers. Neither she nor any of the other twelve participants have another credit in CFIV. Using social security records, however, Al Hubin has come up with the following dates for Ms. Kreitzman: She was born November 28, 1917, and died December 9, 2006.

18 x 13

   A website page for the Southern Adirondack Library System no longer functioning, but entitled New York State Regional Authors, says of one of the book’s participating writers:

    “Orel Friedman was born in Glens Falls 85 years ago and practiced medicine here until retirement in 1980. A widower with three children and eleven grandchildren, his interests include gerontology, golf, bridge, travel and writing. He is a member of The Writer’s Workshop at his winter residence in Florida where he co-authored Eighteen By Thirteen.”

   Freda Kreitzman was 80 or 81 years old when the book was published. Further investigation has revealed that the The Writer’s Workshop met at the Forum, a Marriott Senior Center Living Community in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

[UPDATE] 04-27-07.  Excerpted from an email from Victor Berch, who did some investigation into the other members of The Writer’s Workshop:

   I have the dates of some more of those writers. The hard part is finding the women authors’ maiden names. Some of their obituaries were in local Sun-Sentinel newspaper for Broward county, but [they are not generally available online]. At any rate, here are some of the dates from the SSDI   [Social Security Death Index]:

   Bartel, Molly (or Mollie) [H], May 2, 1911 – Nov. 11, 2003

   Bissette, Doris [W], Aug. 2,1923 – Nov. 28, 2005

   Hartman, Charlotte, Nov. 17, 1923 – Nov. 8, 2005

   Nyfield, Julia [S], May 4, 1909 – Nov. 24, 2003

   Robinson, Leon, Dec. 26, 1910 – Aug. 21, 2001

   Webster, Betty [i.e. Elizabeth J], May 2, 1927 – June 23, 1999

   Erwin Lissau was an interesting one. He was born in Vienna, Austria on Feb. 17, 1916. He and his younger brother were living as students in Zagreb, Yugoslavia after Hitler had taken over Austria. They came to the US in 1939. Erwin joined the Army in 1941 and more than likely obtained his citizenship because of that. He died Aug. 10, 2001.