Stuart Palmer was born as Charles Stuart Hunter Palmer in Baraboo, Wisconsin, on June 21, 1905, the son of Jay Sherman Palmer and Nellie Secker Palmer. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago from 1922 to 1924 and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from 1924 to 1926. Palmer began writing as a child; his first short story was completed when he was six, and at twenty he had his first publication in a college literary magazine. Before turning to writing as a career, Palmer held a variety of jobs that provided background for some of his books. Among these were sailor, apple picker, Ringling Brothers clown, iceman, cabdriver, publicist, reporter, copywriter, editor, poet, and ghostwriter.
In 1928, Palmer married the first of five wives, Melina Racioppi, from whom he was divorced in 1937, and in 1931 he wrote his first mystery, Ace of Jades. This novel was followed in the same year by the first of the Hildegarde Withers books, The Penguin Pool Murder, which was an immediate success. After the success of the Miss Withers character, especially of the 1932 film version of the first Withers book, Palmer went to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter while continuing to produce novels and short stories featuring Miss Withers.
In 1939 Palmer was married to his second wife, Margaret Greppin (they were divorced in 1945), and in 1942 he enlisted in the United States Army. As an army major, he served first as a training-film instructor in...
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