Tuesday, March 28, 2017


There was a character named Robin Daniels in the second "Aurora Teagarden" movie, "Real Murders", based on the first book in the series.  Daniels was a mystery novelist who was just moving in to Laurenceton, and I think he was a Canadian ex-patriate, so he really wasn't moving too far from the home country if he was now in Washington state.

He didn't last long in the movie franchise as a love interest for Aurora - by the next TV movie she had moved on to a man named Martin (who may or may not be related to a Canadian police detective in turn of the century Toronto.)

Robin Daniels was the author of the following books:

In the earlier post today, I pointed out that his book "Temagami Death" could be a clue that the newcomer to Laurenceton was probably originally from Canada himself.

But I think these book titles also give us further clues into Robin Daniels' career as an author.

I  think he was chosen by either the estates or the authors themselves to continue their own murder mystery franchises.


Dame Margot Woodhouse wrote a series of books using "Death" in her titles in such a way that either it was the personification of the state of being dead or it was the nickname for a sleuth perhaps, following in the tradition of the Saint, the Falcon, the Fat Man, or the Continental Op.  

Or it could be a bastardization of the last name of De'Ath.  If so, Dame Margot might have been inspired by Clan De'Ath of "Castle De'ath" (as seen in that episode of 'The Avengers'.)  And in turn I think that brings in the theory of relateeveety connection to Lord Peter Wimsey.

Dame Margot Woodhouse was an old woman by the early 1990s, but in the spring of her youth she may have met Lord Pete Death Bredon Wimsey.  it could be this this amateur sleuth inspired the admiring lass to create a fictional detective based on him and use Wimsey's middle name of "De'Ath" as the name for her protagonist.  

The last book in the series that we know of by Dame Margot Woodhouse was "Death Rinses Out A Few Things", a title by which it had become evident to her editor at Whitestone Press that she was losing her acumen in crafting murder mysteries.

After her death, I'm thinking it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble that the Woodhouse estate was looking for a way to infuse new blood into the franchise, to keep her legacy on the best seller lists.  So to that end, several authors were hired to write books continuing the "Death" series, but in her style.  (Much the same situation happened in the real world with book series for Ian Fleming and Robert Ludlum among others.)

Eventually Robin Daniels was commissioned to write such a pastiche/homage and "Death Leaves Me Cold" was the end result.  This is conjecture of course, but even so we're not likely to ever see any more book titles from that franchise.


Based on the success of that book, Robin Daniels may have caught the notice of another mystery writer, Jessica B. Fletcher from Cabot Cove, Maine.  She wrote at least four books in a series using "Corpse" in the title:
  • "The Corpse Danced At Midnight"
  • "The Corpse Swam By Moonlight"
  • "The Corpse At Vespers"
  • "The Corpse That Wasn't There"
i'm not sure if there was a specific theme in using "Corpse" in those titles.  Perhaps her publishers decided it was best to keep the common thread going so that people related it to Jessica Fletcher, similar to "The Thin Man" or "The Pink Panther" in the movies when those terms were specific to the first movies only.

I'd like to think "Corpse" could be a nickname for J.B. Fletcher's main character in those books, perhaps a corruption for the character's last name?  Looking through an online database of surnames, I like the simplicity of "Corpus", especially with a first name of "Chris".  But I also like "Korpics" which I think would be pronounced "Korpish".  Either one I could see being devolved into "Corpse" by the detective's friends.  It all would depend on what J.B. Fletcher might do, though.  What would a first-time author choose as a name for her protagonist, especially if she was following the mantra of "Write what you know"?

(I would not be surprised if she followed in the footsteps of Conan Doyle and Christie and creating a main character who was quite distinctive.  She may have modeled her detective either in loving memory of her late husband Frank Fletcher or patterned him after the only law enforcement officer she knew - Sheriff Amos Tupper.

I can see a nickname of "Corpse" being attached to a guy like the Sheriff, especially it was boiled down from "Corpulent".

Jessica Fletcher is still alive, but apparently no longer writing books.  (At least we haven't seen any evidence that she has any new titles seen or mentioned in other TV shows.)  I think she may have decided to have her line of "Corpse" books continue with a new writer.  Being a very fair person, Mrs. Fletcher would not have felt right engaging Robin Daniels to be the ghost writer using her name.  And so it's his name on the dust jacket for "The Corpse Went Missing".
As for the other books?  

"Temagami Death" - Most likely a true crime novel based on a murder case near where Robin Daniels grew up in the Ontario area.

"Cobalt Blue Murder" - Another true crime book, examining the death of a counter-culture 60s hippie who called herself Cobalt-Blue after she got involved in a spy case with Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott.  ('I Spy' - "Tag, You're It!")

"Dark Angel At The Lake" - Who knows?  Maybe there's more to Robin Daniels than we could ever know.  Perhaps he got caught up in an adventure with the Time Lord known as The Doctor and had a close encounter with one of those lonely assassins known as the Weeping Angels.  This book could have been a fictionalized account of what really happened to him.....

Just a theory, all in all.......


No comments: