Monday, March 28, 2011
Crime Fiction Alphabet: Letter L
Kerrie over at Mysteries in Paradise sponsors The Aphabet in Crime Fiction community meme. your post MUST be related to the first letter of the book's title, the first letter of the author's first name or the first letter of the author's surname. You can write a book review or a bio of an author so long as it fits the rules somehow.
This week is all about the letter L. L is for Lockridge. Frances and Richard Lockridge. This husband and wife team created several series detectives in various mystery novels from the late 1930s through the 1960s. These detectives include Inspector Heimrich, Detective Nathan Shapiro, Paul Lane, Bernie Simmons, and their most famous creation, Mr. & Mrs. (Jerry & Pam) North. The North novels also feature Lt. (later Captain) Bill Weigand and Sgt. Mullins. All of these stories, while revolving around sometimes brutal murders, are very light and breezy in tone. The perfect afternoon read when one wants a good, fun mystery that won't require too much brain power. I love Pam North and her illogical logic...her way of making intuitive jumps that always bring Bill Weigand to the correct solution in the end. I also like the way the Lockridges involve the many cats of the Norths and the dog of Shapiro in the stories. They have a way of writing about the animals in a very accurate yet humorous way that stops short of being too cutesy. The Lockridge books give readers a nice snapshot of New York City and the surrounding area in 1930s-1960s. For the most part, it seems like a mighty fine place to have been.
Frances first developed the plot for The Norths Meet Murder (the first mystery novel) in 1937 and, when she found herself having trouble with her characters, Richard offered his collaboration and a madcap mystery career was launched. After Frances passed away in 1963, Richard continued to write mysteries--using every series except the Norths and also writing some non-series mysteries that fall more into the thriller genre. While I have enjoyed the later books, I find myself liking those written in collaboration with Frances much more. This husband and wife team had a very special magic that is evident in the earlier books.