Lillian de la Torre Biography


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The daughter of José Rollin de la Torre Bueno and Lillian Reinhardt Bueno, Lillian de la Torre was born in New York City on March 15, 1902. After receiving her associate’s degree from the College of New Rochelle in 1921, she began teaching high school in New York (1923-1934). At the same time, she pursued graduate studies, specializing in the eighteenth century, and earned master’s degrees from Columbia University and Radcliffe College.

After her marriage to George S. McCue in 1932, de la Torre moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where her husband began a twenty-seven-year tenure in the English department of Colorado College. De la Torre also taught for a few years at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs before becoming a full-time histo-detector. Her first published story, “Dr. Sam: Johnson, Detector,” later retitled “The Great Seal of England,” is based on the actual disappearance of the seal from Lord Chancellor Edward Thurlow’s house on March 23, 1784; de la Torre’s solution appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine for November, 1943, and most of her subsequent accounts of Sam Johnson’s investigations into the real and imagined crimes of eighteenth century England have first been printed in that periodical. Occasionally, her interest has led to more extensive treatment: Elizabeth Is Missing (1945), her first book, suggests what happened to Elizabeth Canning, a servant who disappeared for four weeks...

(The entire section is 410 words.)