Elizabeth Linington Biography


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Elizabeth Linington was born Barbara Elizabeth Linington on March 11, 1921, in Aurora, Illinois, the daughter of Byron G. Linington and Ruth Biggam Linington. When she was a child, her family moved to California, settling in Hollywood. She was graduated from Herbert Hoover High School and received a bachelor of arts degree from Glendale College in 1942. Although she began writing in high school, it was not until 1955 that her first novel, The Proud Man, a historical novel about a sixteenth century Irish prince, was published. She wrote several more historical novels.

In 1960, Linington wrote her first mystery, Case Pending, under the pseudonym Dell Shannon; this novel launched the Lieutenant Luis Mendoza series. In 1961, she wrote Nightmare, a suspense thriller, under the pseudonym Anne Blaisdell. In 1961, writing as Lesley Egan, she published the first novel in the Detective Vic Varallo series, A Case for Appeal. This novel also introduces Jewish lawyer Jesse Falkenstein, who is the protagonist of the fourth Linington series (the only one not a police procedural). The Sergeant Ivor Maddox series began in 1964 with Greenmask!

Linington received several prizes for her writing, including a gold medal for the best fiction by a California writer from the California Commonwealth Club in 1956 for The Long Watch. Her wide range of interests is apparent in her novels. These include the John Birch Society, of which she was a longtime member, parapsychology, archaeology, music, the occult, and languages. Once Linington realized that she was involved in writing many books about police officers, she researched the techniques of the Los Angeles Police Department carefully. It is apparent that the later books are more closely based on actual police procedures than are the early ones.

Linington also wrote historical novels, including her last work published before her death in 1988, The Dispossessed. Oddly, perhaps, she published this and a number of her historical novels under her Dell Shannon pseudonym. Two police procedurals were published posthumously, again under the Dell Shannon name, by Linington’s literary executors. The Manson Curse (1990) and Sorrow to the Grave (1992) were inferior works, but manuscripts unpublished in their author’s lifetime are always objects of intrigue for the dedicated fan. Linington died in Arroyo Grande, California, on April 5, 1988.