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Lockridge, Frances and Richard

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on January 1, 2006 at 10:51:08 am
 

Frances Louise Davis (1896-1963) and her husband Richard Orson Lockridge (1898-1982) became detective writers alomost by accident when they developed two Thurberish characters from newspaper vignettes and radio situation comedy - Mr and Mrs North, modelled on themselves - into the protagonists in a detective novel, The Norths Meet Murder (1940). From there they went on to write more than forty other books about the Norths, usually aided by their long-sufferering friend, New York Lieutenant Bill Weigand, and subsequently developed other detectives - Sheriff Merton Heimrich, the lawyer Nathan Shapiro and assistant DA Bernie Simmons, all based in New York State. After Frances died in 1963 Richard married his agent, Hildegarde Dolson, and continued to write on his own. The North books blend witty family cross-talk with classic detection; the other series are slightly more serious, but all of them have that lightness of touch which characterises the Golden Age cosy.

 

Richard Lockridge was born in Missouri and saw naval service in 1918. He married Frances in 1921 and became a journalist and ultimately drama critic of the New York Sun. He also wrote non-fiction.

 

The North series was enormously successful, spinning off a movie starring George Burns and Gracie Allen, a long-running play on Broadway, a radio drama which lasted for thirteen years, and a popular television show, with Richard Demming and Barbara Britton, which aired for two years. Of the small number of married sleuths in the history of crime fiction, the Norths had the longest sustained series.

 

Bibliography

 

Mr and Mrs North (1936) {not detection}

The Norths Meet Murder {aka Mr & Mrs North Meet Murder} (1940)

Murder Out of Turn (1941)

A Pinch of Poison (1941)

Death on the Aisle (1941)

Hanged for a Sheep (1942)

Death Takes a Bow (1943)

Killing the Goose (1944)

Payoff for the Banker (1945)

Death of a Tall Man (1946)

Murder Within Murder (1946)

Untidy Murder (1947)

Think of Death (1947)

Murder Is Served {aka A Taste for Murder} (1948)

I Want to Go Home (1948)

The Dishonest Murderer (1949)

Spin Your Web, Lady (1949)

Murder in a Hurry (1950)

Foggy, Foggy Death (1950)

Murder Comes First (1951)

A Client Is Cancelled (1951)

Dead As a Dinosaur (1952)

Death by Association {aka Trial by Terror} (1952)

Curtain for a Jester (1953)

Death Has a Small Voice (1953)

Stand Up and Die (1953)

A Key to Death (1954)

Death and the Gentle Bull {aka Killer in the Straw} (1954)

Death of an Angel {aka Mr & Mrs North and the Poisoned Playboy} (1955)

Burnt Offering (1955)

The Faceless Adversary {aka Case of the Murdered Redhead} (1956)

Voyage Into Violence (1956)

Let Dead Enough Alone (1956)

The Tangled Cord (1957)

Practise to Deceive (1957)

Catch As Catch Can (1958)

The Long Skeleton (1958)

Accent on Murder (1958)

The Innocent House (1959)

Murder and Blueberry Pie {aka Call It Coincidence} (1959)

Murder Is Suggested (1959)

The Golden Man (1960)

The Judge Is Reversed (1960)

Show Red for Danger (1960)

The Drill Is Death (1961)

Murder Has Its Points (1961)

With One Stone {aka No Dignity in Death} (1961)

And Left for Dead (1962)

Night of Shadows (1962)

The Ticking Clock (1962)

First Come, First Kill (1962)

Murder by the Book (1963)

The Distant Clue (1963)

The Devious Ones {aka Four Hours to Fear} (1964)

Quest for the Bogeyman (1964)

 

Richard Lockridge alone

 

Death in the Mind {with GH Estabrooks} (1945)

A Matter of Taste (1949)

Murder Can't Wait (1964)

Squire of Death (1965)

Murder Roundabout (1966)

Murder for Art's Sake (1967)

With Option to Die (1967)

Murder in False-Face (1968)

A Plate of Red Herrrings (1968)

Die Laughing (1969)

A Risky Way to Kill (1969)

Troubled Journey (1970)

Twice Retired (1970)

Death in a Sunny Place (1971)

Inspector's Holiday (1971)

Preach No More (1971)

Something Up a Sleeve (1972)

Write Murder Down (1972)

Not I, Said the Sparrow (1973)

Death on the Hour (1974)

[Or Was He Pushed?] (1975)

Dead Run (1976)

A Streak of Light (1976)

The Tenth Life (1977)

The Old Die Young (1980)

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