In the 1980s, they sailed on the Pacific Princess in order to do research on their next book, "Murder On The High Seas". The basic plot was to be about the murder of a cruise ship's captain and the Smiths promised that it would be particularly grisly.
What the Trueniverse audience didn't learn when they met the Smiths was that their nom de plume was in itself a mask. Having learned the identities of the authors, most would have had their curiousity satisfied and left it at that.
But "Teddy and Lillian Smith" were not their real names either.....
I mean, really! Smith?
Teddy and Lillian were actually the famous multiversals Nick and Nora Charles. They exist in the five largest fictional universes - BookWorld, the Cineverse, Toobworld, the Audioverse, and WorldStage. There may be a few more besides, including a sub-dimension of Toobworld (a "Movie of the Week" world). The two versions from WorldStage share the same dimension of that universe, but with one run-through of their lives, they must have been visited by the stagebound version of Sweet the Demon. None of these couples can be transferred to a different universe; save for WorldStage, they are unique to their own world in looks and setting.
But we're focused on the Mr. and Mrs. Charles (and their little dog Asta too!) of Earth Prime-Time, who were living in Greenwich Village during the 1950's. As with his counterparts in BookWorld and the Cineverse, Nick Charles was still a private eye who probably preferred living off his wife's inheritance rather than solving mysteries. When he did work a case, it was probably against his will; only because somebody he or Nora knew was in trouble.
Eventually, Nick tired of the game but he knew Nora's inheritance wasn't going to last forever.....
It was Nora who came up with the idea that they should write up Nick's case histories, but that they should fictionalize them to avoid potential lawsuits. Nick came up with his own idea for their joint project which would pay off decades later - they would create an alias to use instead of their real names. That way they would have some lead time in case anybody came gunning for them about what they wrote.
Nora took the concept a step further: why not create fictional personae for the two of them and have those names hiding behind the alias of "Evelyn Bosworth" instead of their own names? And so Teddy and Lillian Smith were born.
The first few books enjoyed moderate sales. But as Nick and Nora became more proficient at the writing game - in between martinis - the sales began to rocket. Until they were overshadowed by Jessica Fletcher, the "Smiths" rivalled the sales of Glynis Granville and Daphne Wallace combined.
Suddenly their popularity on the best-seller lists threatened the cozy if dissipated lifestyle they had enjoyed for so many years.
Time to celebrate!
(With Nick, it's always time to celebrate.....)
Nick and Nora's foresight proved fortuitous, although the double ruse of their nom de plumes turned out to be better protection against their fanatical followers than against the inspirations for the characters they created.
So we know of two books that were written by Evelyn Bosworth aka Teddy and Lillian Smith aka Nick and Nora Charles - "Murder In Eden" and "Murder On The High Seas".
"Teddy and Lillian Smith" were sailing to Mexico on the Sun Princess Cruise Ship to celebrate the publication of the novel which was published just before "Murder In Eden". It was during that trip when they stumbled across a real murder mystery - that of the cruise ship's lounge singer Jessica Wells. The couple didn't get involved, but observed from a distance as another passenger, a Los Angeles homicide lieutenant named Columbo, solved the murder.
The experience gave them the idea for a new novel, but unfortunately the cruise was cut short because of the crime. Before they could do any real first-hand research about cruise ships, Nick and Nora - that is, Teddy and Lillian - were forced to fly home to New York at the expense of the cruise line.
"Murder In Eden" was already in the pipeline, so they finished that up before they began their research for their cruise ship crime novel.
"Murder In Eden" was loosely based on a murder case solved by Nick at the Paradise Village Resort on the Kona coast of Hawaii. It all had to do with a rumor that would not die - about buried treasure on the grounds of the resort. (A few years later two other treasure-seekers named Dave and Stan would cause havoc in their search. They may have been inspired by the mystery novel.)
All those years of imbibing finally caught up to Nick Charles and he finally succumbed to its effects in the mid-1980s. Nora on the other hand lived to a ripe old age and only just passed away last year. After Nick died, she carried on with the Evelyn Bosworth mysteries, staying loyal to her publisher, Whitestone Press, right to her last book.
Some of you may have noticed that I employed a recastaway to make this Missing Link - Phyllis Kirk played Nora Charles and Dana Wynter was Lillian Smith. However it can be easily splained away with the oldest of excuses for recastaways - plastic surgery. As for the difference in their heights in comparison with Nick/Teddy? (Don't let this picture fool High heels or lifts....
- 'The Thin Man'
- 'The Love Boat' - "Murder On The High Seas"
- 'The Love Boat' - "The Pride Of The Pacific/The Viking's Son"
- 'Columbo' - "Troubled Waters"
- 'Aloha Paradise' - "Treasure Hunt"
- 'Fantasy Island' - "The Last Whodunnit"
- 'Murder, She Wrote'
- 'Magnum, P.I.' - "Double Jeopardy"(The photo of Dana Wynter in Hawaii is from this episode.)