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[BIO] Rae Foley Biography
#1
Born Elinore Denniston Sept. 20 1900. Died May 24, 1978.

Used pseudonyms Rae Foley, Elinore Dunniston, Dennis Allan and Helen K. Maxwell.

As Rae Foley, she wrote mysteries and romantic/gothic suspense. Her stories are fairly simple and straightforward. Many times, the reader has more access to the clues and can solve the mystery before the hero/heroine does. This is how she builds up suspense. Although the reader may know who the villain is, he/she cannot know how the story unfolds. Ms. Foley does not waste words describing settings or people, so her stories are fast-paced. Dialogues are crisp, although after reading several of her stories, you hear similar phrases repeated.

She did not seem partial to lawyers, as several of her murderers were lawyers. Nor did she like idle people. She liked to use the quote, "He toils not, neither does he spin."

Although her heroes tend to be strong masculine characters, her heroines varied. Some of them were intelligent, others quite naive, some downright stupid. Most were beautiful but some were quite plain. Some were bold and others were wallflowers, or "negative" as she describes them. Almost all of them are heiresses at some point in the story.

She created several amateur sleuths but her most famous was Mr. Hiram Potter, who some would compare to Margery Allingham's Albert Campion or Dorothy Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey. He was a young man from an upper class family who was "shocked out of his lethargic existence through violence" when a corpse was discovered in his garden. He manages to clear himself of accusations of murder and goes from being a "negative" character to a "catalytic agent". From that first exposure to murder, he develops a curiosity about other people's characters, so when someone comes to ask for help, he cannot help himself getting involved. Because of his background, the cases he is involved in usually revolve around the upper class society.

In the earlier Potter mysteries, he is helped by a model, Opal Reed, and her boyfriend, Sam. Many times, the theatre is involved and his link there is Graham Collinge, a playwright. His foe, initially, and later his friend is Captain O'Toole of the Homicide division, who allows him great freedom in his investigations. In the first mystery, Potter discovers his girlfriend is a psychotic mass murderer and commits her to a mental asylum. He remains loyal to her for years, until he meets Janet Grant. Potter is not above breaking the law when he is obligated to do so in order to solve his mysteries, as evidenced in Mary Bostwick.
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#2
Thank you, GothAdmin. But it sounds like she wrote mainly mysteries rather than Gothic romances.
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#3
I've read several of Foley's books and loved them. Some might classify her as a mystery writer but as we stated before, Gothics contain an element of mystery and suspense. Although she had a series of Mr. Potter mysteries, Mr. Potter was an amateur sleuth and most of the people he helped were friends and acquaintances. Usually the plot consisted of his investigation on one side and the heroine's adventure on the other. Most of her books did not contain Mr. Potter, but the Potter series are probably what she is best known for. The others can be described as romantic suspense, which for that period would be Gothic.
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