A couple of months ago I reviewed a book by Marguerite Silverman entitled The Vet It Was That Died. I didn’t include any biographical information on the author because at the time, I couldn’t find any. Nor was there anything more about her in Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin, only the following list of the three books she wrote:

      * The Vet It Was That Died (n.) Nicholson 1945 [Chief Insp. Christopher Adrian; England]
      * Who Should Have Died? (n.) Nicholson 1948 [Chief Insp. Christopher Adrian; England]
      * 9 Had No Alibi (n.) Nicholson 1951 [Chief Insp. Christopher Adrian; England]

   For my overall opinion of the book, you can read the review. Here?s a quote, though, from somewhere early on:

   … The primary detective in each is Chief Inspector Christopher Adrian. Coming to his assistance in this one, at least, a relatively minor affair, is a newly graduated veterinarian surgeon by the name of Helena Goodwin.

   Helena’s involvement with the mystery is due only to this, her first job, however, and in fact she’s one of those immediately on the scene when her body of her veterinarian employer is found.

   Keep this in mind, as this will be important later. I no longer remember the reason — and this was only yesterday, mind you — but I happened to Google the author’s name, and up came up several websites I hadn’t seen before. Marguerite Silverman is not a common name, but neither is it uncommon, which makes a big difference when trying to locate an author when all you have to work with is her or her name.

   But one or two of these websites mentioned Marguerite Silverman as being — a veterinarian! And yet another site where I found her name was in relation to pets and their well-being.

   I asked British librarian-sleuth John Herrington if I was onto something, and indeed, yes he agreed, sending me this paragraph about her, found here:

   Marguerite R Silverman, MRCVS, ACIS, graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1935 and spent some time in companion animal practice before the Second World War. She then changed career and developed a successful business in verbatim recording (before the invention of the tape recorder). In 1958, following a holiday visit to Israel during which she had been distressed by the scale of the animal suffering she had seen, she founded the Society for Animal Welfare in Israel. […] In 1986 she approached UFAW about the possibility of SAWI being taken under its wing […] She died peacefully at a nursing home, near her home in Catcott in Somerset, on Friday 5 December 2003, aged 89.

   For those of us who are acronym-disabled, Google helps out in this manner also:

      MRCVS = Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon
      ACIS = Associate of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries
      UFAW = Universities Federation for Animal Welfare

   Working backward from her age at the time she died, along with the fact that she passed away so late in the year, it means that Miss Silverman, who apparently never married, was born in 1914. Unfortunately the Somerset Local Studied Library had no obituary on record for her. Then in a later email, John reported that: “According to Freebmd, her birth was registered in Southampton in June 1914. (Entry is incorrect as transcriber has read the R for Ruth as an M — magnification of the entry shows it as a poor R.)”

   I’ve still read only the one book of the three that Marguerite Silverman wrote. Knowing that she was a veterinarian herself, and learning of her lifelong love of animals, puts the book into a perspective I hadn’t had before. It also puts tracking down her other two mysteries several notches higher on my scale of things to do. Both are rather scarce, unfortunately.


[UPDATE] 05-07-07. Although neither John nor I realized it, Al Hubin already had the information on Miss Silverman’s birth and death dates. See his Addenda #9 for the Revised CFIV.