|Cover Images Spanning Eight Decades|
|Title Index||Publisher Index|
|PDF Listing by Title - PDF Listing by Date||Sources and Acknowledgements|
Elizabeth Daly was a very highly regarded American mystery writer, creator of the fictional Henry Gamadge: bibliophile, specialist in antiquarian books and papers for the type of literary mystery that involves the analysis of old inks and papers, and occasionally (at least 16 times) drawn by circumstances to become involved in the investigation of a more traditional mystery. The mysteries are usually a murder (or two, or three), and take place from shortly before World War II to the end of the forties. Gamadge, and many of the other characters, are representatives of the old New York upper classes, of the sort that live in brownstones in the city and also often have properties in the country. Sometimes those families are not as well off as they once were - they certainly have family branches that are, if not positively destitute, compelled to work for a living - and money is often a motive for malfeasance.
Daly was born in 1878 and died in 1967, at the age of 88. There is a lovely and informative obituary in the New York Times for September 3, 1967. She was over 60 when she first published a detective novel (or any book, for that matter) She kept writing for a bit more than a decade, publishing one or two books a year, and ending with her 16th mystery in 1951.
All of Daly's books were first published by Farrar & Rinehart (or Rinehart as they became in 1945). I have not seen any evidence of multiple printings. Some of the books appeared in digest form, which had some popularity at the time - Bestseller Mystery, Jonathan Press, Lawrence Spivak, and so on. One book appeared in a 1944 Penguin USA edition, and there were early Bantam's with very nice covers. Six titles appeared in the Detective Book Club 3-in-1 volumes, and at least one appeared in a newspaper supplement. And one was printed in an Armed Services Edition, for distribution to the troops; it was in the D-series from 1944, one of several series reserved for the troops who were being amassed for the invasion of Europe.
In England Daly's first was published by Victor Gollancz. One title was with Eyre & Spottiswood, and the rest were Hammond, Hammond & Co. Penguin printed three paperback editions in England, and Hammond, Hammond reissued several titles in new hard-bound (and cheaper) editions in the fifties; that is the sum total of her British publications. In the eighties (see below) when Bantam reprinted a series of Daly's books they had a blurb at the top of each proclaiming Daly as "Agatha Christie's favorite writer". Other sources are a bit more specific, qualifying it as favorite American mystery writer. Regardless, that does not seem to have cut much ice in England.
After Daly's final book was published in 1951 nothing else happened in the USA through to the end of the decade. Bowker's Paperbound Books In Print Fall-Winter 1957 has no listings for any Daly titles. In 1960 Rinehart published a Mystery Omnibus containing three of the novels. Then, beginning in 1962, most of the Gamadge books were reprinted by Berkley, with very preppy-looking covers. And Dangerous to Know and The House Without the Door were omitted.
There was another burst of activity in the eighties: four titles in Dell's Murder Ink. series, and nine reprinted by Bantam. In the nineties two titles where reprinted in Otto Penzler's imprint,
Currently we are fortunate that all of the Gamadge books are currently in print from Felony & Mayhem Press in New York. They are well produced trade paperbacks, with interesting period photos on the cover, and priced around $15.00 (there are e-books available for less, but let's ignore those). Any good local bookstore would be glad to order any of those not already stocked. The earliest date I found for their reprints is 2005, and as of 2020 they are all still listed.
email Please click on the link to send comments, corrections, suggestions etc.