Also published as The Indigo Necklace Murders
“Appealing background, pleasingly described; some family skeletons;
bitter-sweet romance, and customarily deft Abbott sleuthing.”—The Saturday Review
Lieutenant Pat Abbott and his lovable but
slightly rattle-brained wife, Jean, have become about the most popular couple
in murder fiction today. In The Indigo Necklace, Frances Crane takes them to
New Orleans, where a huge wartime population has overflowed into the famous
French quarter, steeped in tradition and old-world ceremony. When murder is
done amidst these incongruous elements, it takes ingenious sleuthing indeed to
unravel the crime!
Pat Abbott and his Jean are paying guests
of a proud old Creole family, luxuriating in the charm of their surroundings,
when Jean discovers a body at her very doorstep. Before the Lieutenant unmasks
the murderer, the Abbotts meet a fascinating array of aristocrats and
scoundrels, including a police chief, drawn from life, who will become a
permanent member of the Abbott troupe—if Mrs. Crane's publishers and audience
have anything to say.
“The plot of The Indigo
Necklace is good, and the writing is considerably above the average.”—The Montreal Gazette
“One of the year’s best.”—The Boston
Included floor plans have been redrawn for improved legibility.
The Man in Gray was published in the United
Kingdom as The Gray Stranger
“ ‘Now, what’s an enologist?’ I asked the
dog. In reply he began to bark furiously and rushed at the front door. He
yowled as if in panic.”
An enologist is one who studies wine.
Daniel Vincent Willoz was one who studied wine until someone put a murderous
end to his enological practices. As is often the case, Willoz spent too much
time on enology and too little on toxicology. The good news is that Jean and
Pat Abbott are present to solve this fiendishly complex murder puzzle set in
As they drive away in low gear, Pat attempts to negotiate the treacherous hill from the ranch to the Rio Grande. The gorge below seems like a gruesome black gash. Then, without warning, their car plummets madly toward the river’s brink, crashing to a dizzy, roaring halt.
Jack Ivers, an urban sophisticate with a particular fondness for wealthy women, lies peacefully in his bed, dead. This scenario is greatly convenient for the woman who finds him, as she was on the scene to kill him herself. More curious, the thirteen red tulips she noticed entering Ivers’ home had been replaced by thirteen white tulips before she made her exit.
A number of people had good reason to want Jack Ivers dead, and naturally it falls to Jean and Pat Abbott to solve the confounding case.
“Amusing and sophisticated.”—The [London] Star
“Fashion hints all over place. Smooth.”—The Saturday Review
“…has an authentic-seeming San Francisco background for the activities of its two happily married young sleuths and their dachshund, and is strong on personal relations, colour, dress and dialogue, and very nearly as strong on clues.”—The Sphere
“Brightly-told excitement, with good dressing and good food as you go along.”—Lady
In exotic Tangier, the well-known husband
and wife team of Pat and Jean Abbott discover that international drug
trafficking, plus greed and intrigue, invariably spell catastrophe for those
And very bad luck for a number of
free-loading beachcombers and expatriates who’d just about convinced themselves
that they never had it so good.
From the Jacket: San Francisco is the locale of this fast-paced mystery by the author of The Indigo Necklace and The Man in Gray—San Francisco of the fabulously steep hills, the fog drifting in over the bay, the excellent restaurants and the exotic dives. On one of its hills, in a muffling fog, Pat and Jean Abbott, Mrs. Crane’s delightful sleuthing couple, see a car crash into a hydrant, and it's no surprise to anyone when a murdered man is found slumped behind the wheel. The dead man, however, is the estranged husband of a very good friend of the Abbotts, Nancy Leland. Because Nancy is suspected of the murder, the Abbotts are from then on involved in two more murders, mayhem and a few other slightly illegal activities. A grim chain of apparently unrelated clues leads them to the murderer, and to a solution of more than passing interest to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.”
“The Hollywood-cum-Santa Fe artists, both screwy and sensible, in
the desert are all neatly caught in the lively style given to Mrs. Pat to
narrate. Grade: A”—The Saturday Review
“Plenty of excitement.”—Kirkus
From the jacket: “Time was,” said the sheriff of Santa Maria, “when
murder was murder in this country. ... But now we got artists and writers and
therefore psychology. It's enough to ruin the country.”
It was lucky for Sheriff Trask that Pat Abbott and his lively wife,
Jeanie, were vacationing in the little New Mexican artists’ colony the day a psychotic
war veteran and a gangster's widow arrived on the Plaza. By an unlikely
coincidence they were the former spouses of friends of the Abbotts who had just
announced their engagement. Gilbert Mason, a Hollywood writer with a penchant
for seeing the worst, pointed out to Jeanie that it looked as if there would be
no marriage, for the widow packed a gun.
The first day of tension exploded into murder and kidnapping, both
crimes committed almost simultaneously, as if they had been masterminded to
confuse pursuit. Immediately everyone began to act out of character. Competent
Vanessa Wells, a writer who had lived alone and liked it for years, turned
nervous and absent-minded. Gilbert Mason, a confirmed gossip, acted as if he
knew more than he told. The gangster's widow and her apelike retainer became
good Samaritans. And the handsome war veteran, who'd always looked after
himself, began to plot his own downfall.
Through the exciting adventure Mrs. Crane conveys the many aspects
of the New Mexican landscape, using the charm of Spanish-Indian culture, the
backbiting of bohemia, and the terrifying, cruel loneliness of the desert to
enhance the suspense.