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Phoebe Atwood Taylor's picture

Phoebe Atwood Taylor

USA (1909 - 1976)

aka Freeman Dana, Alice Tilton

Phoebe Atwood Taylor wrote mystery novels under her own name, and as Freeman Dana and Alice Tilton. Her first novel, The Cape Cod Mystery, introduced the "Codfish Sherlock", Asey Mayo, who became a series character appearing in 24 novels. Taylor's work was light in tone, a bit more serious than screwball comedy, but fun and easy to read. According to critic Dilys Winn, "Mrs. Taylor is the mystery equivalent to Buster Keaton." She borrowed heavily on her own background (being born in Boston, and very familiar with Cape Cod) to produce books full of local color. Taylor adopted the pseudonyms of Freeman Dana and Alice Tilton for her other books because her publisher did not want her known as a writer of potboilers. Like many who lived through the Great Depression, she was in constant need of money, and one of her letters to her publisher was printed in a recent edition of one of her books as an explanation of why she adopted the pen name of Alice Tilton for the popular Leonidas Witherall novel series.

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