Mysterious Women

(There is a bit of knitting content, I promise!)

You might recognize these names and know what they have in common:

  • Karen Grigsby Bates
  • Amanda Cross (Carolyn Gold Heilbrun)
  • Diane Mott Davidson
  • Rosemary White Gatenby
  • Carolyn Keene (Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, and others)
  • Jane (Gillson) Langton
  • Emma Lathen (Mary Jane Latsis and Martha Henissart*)
  • Katherine Hall Page
  • Kate Ross

They’re all mystery authors. I thought this was quite appropriate for Halloween.

And what’s more, we all attended Wellesley College. I was already aware of the Stratemeyer connection, but I had no idea Cross, Davidson, or Page went to Wellesley. I’ll definitely be checking out the other authors new to me. Has anyone read most or all of these authors?

By coincidence, I had queried in the Ravelry YarnWords group forum about a long lost and vaguely remembered book I had read during childhood. The book turned out to be The Swing in the Summerhouse, by Jane Langton! In addition to the Homer Kelly mysteries, she writes The Hall Family Chronicles, of which Summerhouse is the second book.

One of the characters, Eleanor Hall, is a knitter! At one point in The Diamond in the Window, she uses the sharp point of a needle as a prying tool. Later, there is a paragraph about the knitted gifts she made. I’m quoting it here because I think it will strike chords with some of you.

…She had knitted something for everybody. Aunt Lily’s present was one mitten with the promise of another. Edward’s was a nose-warmer that buttoned in back. Uncle Freddy’s was an enormously long striped muffler. It dangled to his knees.…  “It was just knit-a-row, purl-a-row,” said Eleanor. “I almost forgot to stop.”
(The Diamond in the Window, Jane Langton, pages 119-120)

I wonder if Langton knits?

Source: “When it comes to murder and mayhem, Wellesley authors are masters,” by Karen Grigsby Bates, Wellesley, Fall 2006.

*Of the Emma Lathen duo, Latsis is the Wellesley alumna. They also wrote under the pseudonym R.B. Dominic.

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7 Responses to “Mysterious Women”

  1. Chris Says:
    October 31st, 2007 at 9:26 am

    Hmm, I think I read that Summerhouse book once upon a time…

  2. Jeanne Says:
    October 31st, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Ya know, I don’t think I’ve read any of them. Must add to list…

  3. Carrie K Says:
    October 31st, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    I loved the Amanda Cross & Jane Langton series. I haven’t read a Faith Fairchild book in ages and I’d never heard of Karen Grigsby Bates or Rosemary White Gatenby, although KGB’s books look good.

    Nice choices and great theme! I had no idea about the Wellesley connection.

  4. Jill Says:
    October 31st, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    Diane Mott Davidson is a fun read. She has a series about Goldy the caterer from a small town near Denver and, of course, everyone and their brother seems to die in this town. The series shows growth of Goldy and the other characters so it’s always fun to get back and see what they’ve been up to.

  5. omly Says:
    October 31st, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    I didn’t know that you were a women’s college alum. I went to Simmons College :)

  6. Kristi aka Fiber Fool Says:
    November 1st, 2007 at 9:11 am

    I’ve read the Diane Mott Davidson books and I really enjoy them. They are definitely of the cozy variety. I am a sucker for authors from or writing about areas I know well, and she sets her series and writes in Colorado so I was a sucker from the get-go. The first few I found a tad bit “bitter” but they got better.

  7. mrspao Says:
    November 1st, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    I think I’m going to have to look for those books :)

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