Roger Scarlett was the pen name of the Americans Evelyn Page (1902 – 1976) and Dorothy Blair (1903 – 1975).
Nothing is known about Blair, but Page seems to have written her own novel (The Chestnut Tree) and even made it to associate professor at several faculties at Connecticut College. Page & Blair’s debut work as Roger Scarlett was The Beacon Hill Murders (1930), followed by The Back Bay Murders (1930), Cat’s Paw (1931), Murder Among the Angells (1932) and finally In the First Degree (1933).
So in only a couple of years, this duo wrote five books. But they stopped for some reason after that and the name Roger Scarlett seems to be totally forgotten nowadays. (Source: Goodreads)
I came across Roger Scarlett’s name today thanks to a post by Pietro De Palma at Death Can Read. And I look forward to read Cat’s Paw expected to go on sale next 12 April 2022.
When a wealthy bachelor is murdered in his baroque Boston mansion, a bizarre clue holds the key to whodunnit
Martin Greenough’s walled-off mansion is the last remaining holdout in the Boston parkland known as the Fenway—and the fact that it eluded condemnation by the city is a testament to the elderly bachelor’s great wealth. Childless and nearing the end of his life, he surrounds himself with only his cat, his servants, and a friend, Mrs. Warden—to say nothing of the circle of extended family members whose lives he both subsidizes and rules from afar, the nieces and nephews who all seem to be more fond of Uncle Mart’s money than they are of his character.
On the eve of his birthday, Greenough requests the presence of his heirs at his home, insisting that he has something important to discuss. Before that discussion can take place, though, the man is murdered in his study. In one way or another nearly everyone there would benefit by his death, and none gathered seem terribly upset by it, so finding the culprit is no easy task for Inspector Kane of the Boston PD. But as he untangles the threads and unburies dark family secrets, the discovery of a bizarre clue might hold the key to solving the crime.
A classical “closed circle” mystery featuring a colorful cast of characters, Cat’s Paw exemplifies the puzzling, house-bound tales for which Roger Scarlett is remembered today. It is sure to delight any fan of pure, Golden Age detective stories—especially those with a love of architecturally-focused plots. (Source: Amazon / American Mystery Classics)
Cat’s Paw has been reviewed, among others, by Curtis Evans at The Passing Tramp, TomCat at Beneath the Stains of Time, Jim Noy at The Invisible Event
The Murder Mansions of Mr. Scarlett: The Classic Golden Age Detective Novels of Roger Scarlett (Dorothy Blair and Evelyn Page) by Curtis Evans at The Passing Tramp