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Dartmouth Mysteries

This exhibition examines mysteries set at Dartmouth, mysteries by Dartmouth alumni, and other notable mysteries.

The exhibition was curated by Barbara Krieger and Patti Houghton and was on display in the Class of 1965 Galleries from August 1, 2005 to September 9, 2005. You can download a handlist of materials included in this exhibiton: Mysteries.

Materials Included in the Exhibition

Case 1. Mysteries Set at Dartmouth

  1. Giant Killer by Vernon Tom Hyman, Class of 1958. DC History PS3558.Y49 G5
    1. In Giant Killer, Jay Thompson, an editor in a New York City publishing house, discovers one his authors, former CIA director Allen Roland, hanging in his Georgetown study. Within hours, copies of the manuscript of Rolland’s memoirs begin to disappear, and Thompson turns to Thomas Owen Kirkpatrick Smith, professor of English at Dartmouth College, to help him solve the mystery.
      1. Thursday afternoon, October 25
      2. The common room on the third floor of Sanborn House was got up to resemble somebody's idea of Elizabethan England. There were wide-board floors, leaded glass windows, a big fireplace, a low-beamed ceiling, and a large solid plank table in the middle, stacked with what looked to Thompson like the same copies of Antaeus, Sewanee Review, and Poetry magazine that he had pored over with such reverence when he was a student here fifteen years ago. The ambience was a little pretentious, Thompson supposed, but he had always loved the place.
      3. He knocked on the heavy door at the far end of the room and waited. After a short pause it opened and the compact form of Thomas Owen Kirkpatrick Smith stood before him, dressed in baggy brown corduroys and a gray sweater pulled over  white tennis shirt, his smooth tan face framed in a halo of fluffy white hair.
  2. The Dartmouth Murders by Clifford Orr, Class of 1922. DC Hist PZ3 .O749 and Alumni O75d
    1. Late in November, in the early morning hours after  Dartmouth senior Kenneth Harris finds his friend and roommate, Byron Coates, dead, in his pajamas, hanging from a rope outside their room in North Mass.  Before the next day is out, another Dartmouth student, Sam Anderson,  will die, falling from the choir loft of the chapel as the College president presents his eulogy for Coates. Sam had been about to tell Ken what he knew about the night of Byron’s death.
      1. Perhaps it wasn’t suicide after all…
      2. It was faintly dawn and could see and feel that the clear cold night had given way to a damp, foggy, chilly morning. I lay, for some reason, wide awake, cursing the unusual luck that stopped my sleep so early on a Sunday. And the Dartmouth Hall bell clock struck a cold, damp six.
      3. Thump!
      4. It came again, muffled as before, but clearly something rapping at the window….there, against the dawn, swaying that so even as I watched they came against the window with a dull impact, were two bare feet!
  3. Uncatalogued by Julie Kaewert, Class of 1986. Alumni K115unc
    1. Uncatalogued’s protagonist Alex Plumtree, publisher and expert on Samuel Pepys, returns to Dartmouth College with his new wife Sarah for their 15th reunion.  They are given a personal tour of Rauner Library by Special Collections Librarian, Phil Cronenwett, and become involved in mysterious, and dangerous, events surrounding the discovery of Pepys manuscripts.
      1. "No doubt you've seen moveable shelving like this….watch." Phil pressed a switch: an entire  twenty-foot length of shelving slid along a track in the floor to allow access to the one behind it. "This allows us to store vast quantities." I stepped into the aisle he'd just created, noting with interest more archival boxes carrying the college crest like the ones in the realia room.
      2. "By the way, you want to be careful in these shelves. Because it's only staff down here and there are so few of us, we didn't have the emergency shut-off feature installed. You see, if this part of the library were open to the public, someone might wander into harm's way - these shelves are like walls of rock once they get moving. Public shelves have a kickplate at the bottom…Ours on the other hand, will keep going whether someone's in the way or not."
  4. Red Leaves by Paullina Simons. DC Hist PS3569.I48763 R43 1996 c.2
    1. The nude body of Dartmouth student Kristina Kim is found frozen in a snow bank, where it had been buried for days without any of her college friends reporting her missing. Hanover Detective Spencer O’Malley, attracted to Kristina when they met the day before her death,  becomes obsessed with the case, giving years of his life to solving it.
      1. It was time to go downstairs for poker, but she didn’t care. Unlocking the door and letting it shut behind her, she made her way quickly down the stairs…down Tuck Mall in the white dark and then to Main Street.  She headed to Murphy’s Tavern. There was no liquor store in Hanover. Stinson’s grocery store sold champagne and beer, but who the hell wanted champagne and beer? One of the bartenders at Murphy’s, a real nice guy, would sometime let her buy a bottle of  Southern Comfort, if there were no cops around and she asked nicely.
      2. Murphy’s was closed.
  5. The Blackbird Papers by Ian Smith, Dartmouth Medical School. Alumni S6501b 
    1. Dartmouth College Professor Wilson Bledsoe, is heading home on the night of the award celebration, and stops to help two men having car trouble. The professor's brutally murdered body is found the next day. The local police are inclined to view the murder as a hate crime, especially when two suspects are arrested who belong to a local militia group, the White Liberation Army. The College is anxious to put the bad press behind them as soon as possible and move on, welcoming the quick solution. But when Professor Bledsoe's brother Sterling, an FBI agent, arrives in Hanover to investigate, new and more sinister motives begin coming to light.
      1. The car careened along River Road, the longest in the Upper Valley, stretching along the embankment of the Connecticut River and snaking its way into the wooded mountainside. This road was always a challenge, one that the students drove for the sheer pleasure of its difficult terrain and unexpected turns. Bledsoe had narrowly missed several deer since moving out here and tonight's darkness, rain, and wet leaves made a perfect combination for disaster.

Case 2. Mysteries by Dartmouth Alumni

  1. Coffins for Three by Frederick Clyde Davis, Class of 1928. Alumni D292c
    1. This is Davis' first novel featuring Cy Hatch, Professor of Criminology at a leading New York university and son of New York’s police commissioner. Here he is forced to take sides against his father while delving into the murder of a disreputable lawyer.
  2. Murder on Wheels by Valerie Frankel, Class of 1987. Alumni F855m
    1. In one of Frankel’s Wanda Mallory mysteries, Mallory, proprietress of the Do It Right Detective Agency in Times Square, takes Strom Bismarck, leader of a New York biker gang, as a client.
  3. A Private Party by William Ard, Class of 1944. Alumni A676pr 
    1. When members of the homicide squad are suspects in the murder of notorious waterfront hoodlum, Al Stanzyck, recently released from jail after the death of two key witnesses, private detective Timothy Dane is called in.
  4. D as in Dead by Lawrence Treat, Class of 1924. Alumni T71da 
    1. Psychology professor Carl Wayard, first drawn into mysterious adventures in Treat's B as in Banshee, now finds himself the target of suspicion and danger in New Orleans after a mysterious lady dies in his arms.
  5. Where There's Smoke by Stewart Sterling, Class of 1916 (pseudonym for Prentice Winchell). Alumni W721w 
    1. Set in new York City, Where There's Smoke sets Fire Marshall Ben Pedley on the trail of a murdering arsonist, and into the world of radio personalities.
  6. A Matter of Accent By David Keith, Class of 1927 (pseudonym of Francis Steegmuller). Alumni S813mc 
    1. Set during World War II, A Matter of Accent, is a Keith's second novel to feature Ted Weaver, a mild New York City art gallery owner.  In the days before the attack on Pearl harbor, he is approached by a friend to broadcast to war-torn France, but later suspects she may have something to do with the theft of modern French paintings from his galley.
  7. The Body That Wasn't Uncle by George Wentworth Yates, Class of 1924. Alumni Y27bo 
    1. Rushing to catch a train from New Jersey to her office on Madison Avenue, literary agent Katheren Meynard stumbles upon a body buried in the snow. In the ensuing mystery, Meynard joins forces once again with Hazlitt Woar, former member of Scotland Yard, her companion in sleuthing in Yate's The Body that Came By Mail.

Case 3. Other Notable Mysteries

  1. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe. Presses A425po 
    1. Edgar Allen Poe is credited with being the father of the mystery novel. His story The Murders in the Rue Morgue was published in 1841, introducing Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin who was to appear in other Poe stories.  These stories, probably based on accounts by the French Police, were the foundation of the mystery novel as we know it. Shown here is a 1958 limited printing by the Allen Press, Antibes, France. Gift in memory of Donald G. Mix, Class of 1921.
  2. The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katherine Green. 1st edition, G.P. Putnam's, 1878. Val 816 R636 S81
    1. Anna Katherine Green graduated from Ripley Female College in Poultney, Vermont, in 1866.  She was the first American woman to write a detective novel, The Leavenworth Case, published in 1878. The detective is Ebenezer Gryce of the New York City Police Department.  Her later novels featured two women detectives, Violet Strange and Amelia Butterworth. Gift of Robert K. Black.
  3. The Maltese Falcon by Dashell Hammett. Presses A712ham
    1. Considered by many to be the first great American detective novel, Hammett's Maltese Falcon was published by Knopf in 1930, after the first portion appeared serialized in 1929. The novel is the foundation of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction and introduces Sam Spade, one of the greatest character creations in American mystery fiction. This is Arion Presses' 1983 printing, with an introduction by private investigator and Hammett authority David Fechheimer,and illustrated with photographs of Sam Spade's San Francisco of the 1920's.
    2. The Maltese Falcon had already been made into a film twice before the classic 1941 version, starring Humphrey Bogart….and who better to play Sam Spade? From Rauner's Thalberg Scripts collection is the shooting script for John Huston's masterpiece of detective film. Scripts 1268
  4. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Presses A712do
    1. Sherlock Holmes arrived on the scene in Doyle's A Study in Scarlett  in 1887,  bringing with him his formidable intelligence, his style and flair for deduction, and a loyal side-kick, Dr. Watson. Since Doyle had killed off Holmes in "The Final Problem, " published in 1893, The Hound the Baskervilles, appearing in 1902,  presented a early case of the dead detective where the murder weapon is an animal. This is the Arion Press edition from 1985, illustrated with photographs taken on Dartmoor. 
  5. "The Mousetrap" by Agatha Christie. The Samuel French edition, 1954, from the Williams/Watson Theatre Collection. Williams/Watson PL7795 
    1. "The Mousetrap” (originally titled “Three Blind Mice”) was written by Christie in 1947 as a 30-minute radio play to celebrate the 80th birthday of Queen Mary, who was a fan of Christie. It is the classic tale of characters trapped in a mansion by a snow storm, as members of their company start getting murdered. Part mystery, part suspense, part farce, it has endured on London Stage for over 50 years.
  6. Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Presses L629colw
    1. Contemporary and friend of Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins wrote two of the early, significant detective novels, The Woman in White in 1860, and The Moonstone in 1868.  In The Woman in White,Collins imitates the presentation of testimony from a number of witnesses in a court case in telling the story of the evil Sir Percival Glyde's plot to steal his wife's inheritance with the help of a sinister Italian, Count Fosco.