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Heberden, MV

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MV HeberdenMary Violet Heberden (1906 - 1965) was an British writer who lived most of her life in the US.  She was born in London began her life as an actress in the West End and then moved to New York where she appeared on Broadway in thirteen plays in various supporting parts from 1925 through 1941. Among the plays she acted in were the original productions of Merrily We Roll Along by Kaufman & Hart (decades later adapted into a Sondheim musical), Victoria Regina starring Helen Hayes as Queen Victoria, and Lady in Waiting by children's author Margery Sharp and directed by Antoinette Perry for whom the American Theater Wing award the Tony is named. After giving up acting she continued life in theater as a performer's agent and at one point ran a timber business in Brazil. In an interview for the Doubleday Crime Club newsletter she discusses at length her love of travel and how in 1949 she headed for Italy with the intent of continuing on through the entire country and then moving on to Egypt. When she got to Rome, however, she stopped and set up home. She was living there at the time of the interview in Spring 1952.


Her series characters under her own name were private eye Desmond Shannon and Naval Intelligence Officer Rich Vanner who appeared in only three books. She also wrote espionage and adventure thrillers under the name Charles L. Leonard, a pseudonym in honour of her father Rev. Charles Heberden and her mother Eleanor Leonard Heberden. She spent much of her life travelling the world and her experience with South America culture and politics show up in many of her books.


About Her Characters

Desmond Shannon is supposedly the "highest paid private eye in New York City" in a fast-paced, tough series of novels. Desmond's a large, husky red-headed Irishman who doesn't shy away from the rough stuff and can more than hold himself in a brawl -- much to the occasional dismay of Sam Ross, his "homely assistant." But Shannon evidently has brains as well as brawn. He's a literate kinda dick, with a special interest in philosophy. He also has a thing for communism–he doesn't like it. In one case, in fact, he works for free, to clear a young man framed for murder by those nasty reds. You'll Fry Tomorrow, was praised by Anthony Boucher in the New York Times, who said the story "moves at a fast clip." Mind you, the fast clip might be partially explained by Desmond's occasional use of bennies -- according to the blurb in the Dell Mapback edition of They Can't All Be Guilty, he lives on "bourbon, benzedrine and tough steaks." -- Thrilling Detective




Desmond Shannon Detective Novels

Death on the Door Mat (1939)

Subscription to Murder (1940)

Fugitive from Murder (1940)

The Lobster Pick Murder (1941)

Aces, Eights and Murder (1940)

Murder Follows Desmond Shannon (1942)

Murder Makes a Racket (1942)

Murder Goes Astray (1943)

To What Dread End (1944)

Murder of a Stuffed Shirt (1944)

Vicious Pattern (1945)

Drinks on the Victim (1947)

They Can't All Be Guilty (1947)

The Case of the Eight Brothers (1948)

Exit This Way (1950) {aka You'll Fry Tomorrow}

That's the Spirit (1950) {aka Ghosts Can't Kill}

Tragic Target (1952)

Murder Unlimited (1953)


Rick Vanner Detective Novels

Murder Cancels All Debts (1946)

Engaged to Murder (1949)

The Sleeping Witness (1951)


As Charles L Leonard

The Stolen Squadron (1942)

Deadline for Destruction (1942)

The Fanatic of Fez (1943) {aka Assignment to Death}

The Secret of the Spa (1944)

Expert in Murder (1945)

Pursuit in Peru (1946)

Search for a Scientist (1948)

The Fourth Funeral (1948)

Sinister Shelter (1949)

Secrets for Sale (1950)

Treachery in Trieste (1951)


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