|Name||Eberhart, Mignon G.|
|Born / Died||1899–1996|
The Mignon G. Eberhart collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, and other items.
Manuscripts for novels by Eberhart in the collection (all published by Random House except where noted) include While the Patient Slept (Doubleday, 1930); The Glass Slipper (Doubleday, 1938); The Man Next Door (1943); The White Dress (1946); Another Woman’s House (1947); Hunt with the Hounds (1950); Dead Men’s Plans (1952); Another Man’s Murder (novelette version, 1957); Run Scared (1963); Call After Midnight (1964); Witness at Large (1966); Woman on the Roof (1968); Message from Hong Kong (1969); El Rancho Rio (1970); Two Little Rich Girls (1971); The Patient in Room 18 (revised edition, Popular Library, 1972); Murder in Waiting (1973); Danger Money (1975); Family Fortune (1976); Nine O’Clock Tide (1978); The Bayou Road (1979); Casa Madrone (1980); Family Affair (1981); Next of Kin (1982); The Patient in Cabin C (1984); The Alpine Condo Cross Fire (1984); A Fighting Chance (1986); and Three Days for Emeralds (1988); as well as unpublished fragments titled If Ever I Cease to Love, Valentine Party, Dead Yesterday, and others.
Manuscripts for plays by Eberhart include Eight O’Clock Tuesday, written with Robert Wallsten and first produced in New York City, 1941 (published by French, 1941); Double Jeopardy, produced in Connecticut in the early 1960s; and the unproduced plays Dearly Beloved and An Affair of Murder .
Other manuscripts by Eberhart include the teleplay The Wagstaff Pearls (1952) as well as several short stories and essays, including an essay titled: “... And Far Away: Being the Candid Observations of a Civil Engineer’s Wife.”
Correspondence in the collection primarily dates from the 1980s, with some from the 1960s. Items include a few letters to and from Eberhart’s literary agent, Carl Brandt, as well as the literary agency Brandt and Brandt; a personal note from Bennett Cerf; letters to and from her family; and letters from various magazines, editors, and publishers.
Other items in the collection include a photo album; an address / telephone book; printed versions of Eberhart’s short stories; and a file of Navy documents regarding Eberhart’s first husband, Alanson Clyde Eberhart.
A master of the mystery field who has been dubbed “America’s Agatha Christie,” Mignon G. Eberhart (1899 – 1996) created one of the first female sleuths in the genre – Nurse Sarah Keate – in 1929, and over the next six decades went on to write more than 50 additional short stories and novels, several of which were adapted to other media.
Mignon Good was born on July 6, 1899 in Lincoln, Nebraska, the daughter of William and Margaret Good. Although she had begun writing stories and novellas in her early teens, it wasn’t until after graduating from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1920 and marrying civil engineer Alanson Eberhart in 1923 that she concentrated on a literary career. After reading that the mystery genre was the most lucrative, Eberhart decided to model her work on that of Mary Roberts Rinehart. Since her husband’s job required frequent travel, she often accompanied him, spending her free time writing. The couple settled in Chicago until the early 1940s, when they moved to New Canaan, Connecticut.
Eberhart’s first published work was the novella "The Dark Corridor," appearing in Flynn’s magazine in 1925. A scant four years later, she published her first full-length novel, The Patient in Room 18 (Doubleday, 1929), which introduced the characters of Nurse Sarah Keate and private investigator Lance O’Leary and set the standard for much of her future work. The book mixed both murder and romance in a contemporary setting and centered on a determined and intelligent amateur detective. The book was a success, earning critical praise on both sides of the Atlantic, with many reviewers noting Eberhart’s exploration of the psychological and emotional motivations of her characters, and she quickly garnered a legion of fans that included Gertrude Stein and future U.S. President Harry S. Truman.
With the publication of a second novel built around Keate and O’Leary, While the Patient Slept (Doubleday, 1930), Eberhart secured her reputation as a popular and successful suspense writer. It wasn’t long before Hollywood took note and introduced Nurse Keate in a series of films. Eberhart branched out to write an original story for one entry in the series, 1939’s The Murder of Dr. Harrigan . In the 1940s, she also collaborated on a stage adaptation, Eight O’Clock Tuesday .
The Dark Garden (Doubleday, 1933) was her first novel not to feature Keate or O’Leary, and it also received critical praise and won popular support, although not so her following book, The White Cockatoo (Doubleday, 1933) which earned decidedly mixed notices. The following year, she introduced a second female sleuth – a mystery writer who solves crimes – in a series of short stories published as The Cases of Susan Dare (Doubleday, 1934).
Sometime after relocating to the east coast in the 1940s, she divorced her husband and married John P. Hazen Perry in 1946, but that union proved short-lived. Within two years, she had divorced Hazen Perry and remarried Alanson Eberhart. She and Eberhart then settled in Chicago but eventually relocated to Connecticut where he died in 1974.
Having traveled the world with Eberhart, she incorporated various exotic locales into her fiction, such as the Far East, the Caribbean, Lisbon and England. Eberhart continued to be one of the most popular mystery writers in the postwar era, turning out nearly a book a year into the 1980s, with her last, Three Days for Emeralds (Random House), appearing in 1988.
In 1971, Eberhart received the Grand Master Award bestowed by the Mystery Writers of America. Six years later, she served as the organization’s president. On October 8, 1996, Mignon G. Eberhart died at the Nathaniel Witherell Nursing Home in Greenwich, Connecticut at the age of 97.
|Library of Congress Subject Headings||Authors, American.
Detective and mystery stories.
American literature – 20th century.
Crime in listerature.