15 July 2010

Forgotten Books: THE HYDE PARK MURDER, Elliott Roosevelt

This week's contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books

Published in 1985, and recorded in my little green book in 1989, this was #2 in Elliott Roosevelt's series of 20 books that starred his mother, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, as the detective.

By the time the first in the series MURDER AND THE FIRST LADY was published in 1984, she was deceased (1962), so she wasn't around to protest if Elliott, her fourth son, got it wrong.

For the second week in a row, I haven't been able to find a description of the plot, but perhaps someone who reads this blog may be able to help out.
Perhaps you even have a copy of this title on your shelves or can find one at your local library. If so, tell us about it in a comment.

I wonder too what you think about Elliott Roosevelt capitalising on his mother's famous name?

Obviously, with 20 titles in the series, the books found a market niche. From the titles it appears that most of the titles were set in the White House.
To me it smacks a little of the coat-tails syndrome that I have remarked on before in this blog.  


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - I've found this about the book:

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt embarks on an undercover investigation into the White House murder of a crooked New Jersey congressman's son after her young British secretary becomes the prime suspect.

And here is another description:
It's 1939 and a young White House staffer, congressman's son Philip Garber, has been found dead in the apartment of Pamela Rush-Hodgeborne, one of the First Lady's secretaries. The obvious suspect: English-born Pamela, who mixed lover Philip a fatal old-fashioned. (Cyanide in the bitters.) But Eleanor is sure that Pamela is innocent - despite suggestions that Pamela and Philip pulled off a diamond heist together back in England. So, along with a D.C. cop and a visiting Scotland Yard-er, the First Lady spends an implausible amount of time in talky sleuthing: she chats with Philip's gambling creditors, his other girlfriend (a Southern belle); she visits a strip-joint in disguise; she trades polite put-downs with J. Edgar Hoover, who tries to hog the spotlight.

I'm honestly not sure how I feel about Elliott Roosevelt's use of his mother's name. Perhaps "coat-tails" is a good word to describe it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, No! I just realized I found a blurb for the wrong book! Whoops! How stupid of me. I searched and searched for The Hyde Park Murder, but all I could find was that it has to do with murder in the upper class. Not much of a summary, I'm afraid. Sorry.

Kerrie said...

You were my big hope Margot! Never mind. Thanks for searching

Mason Canyon said...

This sound interesting. I'll check today when I go by the library to see if they have anything on these books. I'd like to think maybe he and his Mother discussed the books before she died and she was fine with it.

Thoughts in Progress

Anonymous said...

I have read this one, but just can't quite remember what the storyline was. When I read Margot's comment, I thought, "that's not the right one, it's the first one". Then I realized that she had a second comment.

OK, what I remember about these mysteries is that often there were famous people that played bit parts. For example, I enjoyed one in this series that was set on the high seas. Eleanor is coming back to the US from England on a ship. Among the passengers are a young JFK (college age), Josephine Baker, Jack Benny and his wife, Mary, and others.

I had a discussion with another blogger once about Elliott Roosevelt writing these mysteries (and there is some question as to whether he actually wrote them or not), but I chose to not worry about it. I found them fun and like a behind the scenes look at FDR and Eleanor. They were fairly human in them and not so lofty and presidential.

Has anyone read any of the books by Margaret Truman? Or they were supposed to be by Margaret Truman. I liked some of those too.

Anon E. said...

That's wonderful, I wonder what she would have thought about it...or the American people at the time.

Deb said...

I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but Elliott Roosevelt no more wrote the mysteries published under his name than Margaret Truman wrote the mysteries published under hers. It was all just a marketing ploy.

There was a famous incident toward the end of her life where Margaret Truman (on a book tour) was asked about a plot point in the book she was supposedly there to promote and it was obvious from her response that she hadn't a clue what the book was about.

As my husband says whenever a celebrity publishes a book: I suspect the only writing they did was when they signed the contract to publish the book under their name.

Richard R. said...

Sure they were ghost-written, though I've read that Roosevelt did contribute anecdotal information and had some proofing rights. I read the first one and thought, at the time, that it was "okay, not great". I bought the second but have not read it. No idea what the plot of this one might be.


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