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The Vanishing of Carolyn Wells

March 5 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

A decade before Agatha Christie entered the scene, another female writer was already queen of the country house murder. Churning out multiple thrillers a year from her Upper West Side apartment home, Carolyn Wells was dubbed “about the biggest thing in mystery novels in the U.S.” in the 1920s.

Wells’ output was a seemingly endless stream — she wielded her pen in just about every literary genre, from popular children’s books and young adult novels to beloved anthologies and countless pieces for magazines such as Thrilling Detective, Life, The Saturday Evening Post, Harper’s, and The New Yorker. Some of her over 180 books were adapted into silent films, and some became bestsellers.

Yet a hundred years later, Carolyn Wells has been all but erased from literary history. Why? How?

Author Rebecca Barry is on the case. Her investigation into the vanishing of Carolyn Wells takes us on an exciting journey of discovery from Wells’ birthplace of Rahway, New Jersey to the Upper West Side, where she spent her final twenty-five years, and includes stops at public and private collections that yield plenty of enticing clues.

In a sleuthing narrative worthy of its subject, Barry recovers the life and work of a brilliant writer who was considered one of the funniest, most talented women of her time.


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