Taken from an email correspondence from Al Navis to Al Hubin, and the latter’s reply:


[In reference to the following entry in CFIV:]


* * * The House on Washington Place (Curtis, 1974, pb) [New York City, NY; 1860s]

I have found the following book:

Demarest, Phyllis Gordon

** What Happened on the Melisande?, Cassell, London, 1971, FIRST EDITION, precedes the 1972 Curtis Books First American Edition, released posthumously.

On the rear flap it states that she died in 1969, but gives no birth year.

Hope this helps.

Al Navis


Thanks for the Demarest information. A little digging convinces me that she was an American, the daughter of novelist Samuel Gordon and stepdaughter of actor William Demarest, and that she was born 3/13/1908 and died 12/1969. So I’ll add the new book to the bibliography (via the permanent addenda at www.crimefictioniv.com) and also add/correct her dates.



Steve again:

A quote, probably from the front cover of Melisande, describes it thusly: “Not since The Poseidon Adventure has there been as gripping a tale of terror at sea.” The House on Washington Place is a scarce book, with only one copy now being offered for sale on the Internet, nor is it clear that it is the Curtis edition. Her other novels appear to be either historical fiction about the early US, romances, or a combination thereof.

Except for a possible few, the short stories I’ve found for her appear to be romances. Most of these were found using the online FictionMags Index.

* Late One Night (sl) Smart Love Stories Feb 1937
* Dance for Your Love (ss) Love Book Magazine May 1937
* Stubborn Brat, Part One, Smart Love Stories, June 1937
* House of Hearts (nv) Love Book Magazine Sep 1937
* Just Forget Me (nv) Love Fiction Monthly Apr 1938
* Double Heartbreak (ss) Love Book Magazine Sep 1938
* Jig Saw (ss) Liberty Magazine Nov 19 1938
* If We Must Part! (ss) Ten-Story Love Nov 1938
* Hearts Don’t Break (ss) Love Book Magazine Apr 1939
* Yesterday’s Ecstasy (nv) Love Book Magazine Apr 1940
* Rendezvous with Love (nv) Love Novelettes Jun 1940
* Hangover from Childhood (ss) All-Story Love Dec 1 1940
* Love Under Fire (nv) Love Short Stories Jun 1941
* Second Chance at Love (ss) Love Book Magazine Jun 1941
* Galahad of Broadway (ss) Love Book Magazine Jul 1941
* [unknown title] Sweetheart Stories, Dec 1942
* Tonight is Ours (sl) All-Story Love Jan 1943
* Tomorrow Is Enough (nv) Love Book Magazine Jun 1943
* Love Asks No Questions (ss) Love Book Magazine Aug 1944
* One Love for Two (ss) Love Book Magazine Nov 1944
* Bride for a Hero (nv) Love Book Magazine Jan 1945
* [unknown title] Love Book Magazine, October 1945
* Jonnie Heartbreak (nv) 15 Love Stories Magazine Feb 1950
* Love Letter (ss) Love Book Magazine Sep 1953
* Meet Your Authors. Love Book Magazine Sep 1953 [short biographical piece]

From Victor Berch, a few last morsels of information:


About the only things I can add to Al’s note is some minutia. She came to the US with her father, Samuel, landing in NY on Dec. 10, 1913. By the 1920 Census, she was not living with her mother, Estelle, and stepfather (Carl) William Demarest. And the exact date of her death was December 22, 1969. Nothing in the LA Times regarding her death. Her mother’s maiden name was given as Colette, but I suspect that was a stage name, as she also was an actress, but probably a minor one.



UPDATE: Additional information uncovered by Victor on Phyllis Demarest’s background can be found here, on a later post.