Contribution

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

With the creation of their husband-and-wife team, Pam and Jerry North, Richard Lockridge and Frances Lockridge added to the small number of mystery novels featuring couples as amateur detectives. The novels featuring the Norths were immensely popular and were developed into a radio and television series, a play, and a motion picture. The Mystery Writers Association awarded the Lockridges the first Edgar Allan Poe Award for the best radio mystery program in 1946.

Both journalists, the Lockridges produced novels at a steady rate, drawing on their own experiences. Even the series about law-enforcement detectives emphasizes the characters’ personal lives and their relationships with their spouses or lovers, creating a comfortable air of stability and family strength. Although the novels feature a variety of detective figures, the Lockridge novels as a whole create a miniature world of their own, in that characters sometimes overlap series. Lockridge readers are thus provided with the pleasure of entry into a familiar world in most of the novels.

Although the Lockridges’ plotting was seldom intricate, they created a series of personable characters and picked interesting subjects as backgrounds. Simply and clearly written, their novels have been admired for the civilized tone, the gentle humor, and the glimpses they afford of American life.