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Emma Lathen Books In Order

Publication Order of John Putnam Thatcher Books

Banking on Death (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Place For Murder (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Accounting for Murder (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder Makes the Wheels Go Round (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death Shall Overcome (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder Against the Grain (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Stitch in Time (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Come to Dust (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
When in Greece (1969) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder to Go (1969) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pick Up Sticks (1970) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ashes to Ashes (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Longer the Thread (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder Without Icing (1972) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sweet and Low (1974) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
By Hook or By Crook (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Double, Double, Oil and Trouble (1978) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Going For the Gold (1981) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Green Grow the Dollars (1982) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Something in the Air (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
East is East (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Right on the Money (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Brewing Up a Storm (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Shark Out Of Water (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Emma Lathen is the pseudonym that was used by a couple of American authors named Martha Henissart and Mary Jane Latsis for writing mystery and thriller novels. The two were also businesswomen in their professional lives, one working as an economist analyst while the other as an attorney. Mary was born on July 12, 1927 and died on October 29, 1997; while Martha was born in the year 1929. She had received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the Mount Holyoke College in the year 1950, with the subject of physics. The two authors met each other at Harvard as graduate students. Under the pen name of Lathen, they have written a number of mystery books starring the main character of Putnam Thatcher. They have described him as a banker on Wall Street. The pseudonym is developed by using parts of their names, ‘M’ and ‘Lat’ from Mary’s name and ‘Ma’ and ‘Hen’ from Martha’s name. They have also written several books under the pen name R.B. Dominic. All of their stories under this pen name feature a Congressman named Benton Safford, who works as a sleuth in the novels. Both the authors have a unique talent for writing about the complicated financial issues entertainingly and clearly.

They combine the business matters around them with the current affairs quite well and create well plotted mysteries which eventually produce civilized and fascinating novels. Each of the books written by Martha and Mary feature the events from a specific industry or activities in which Benton and Putnam get involved during the course of their sleuthing and banking works respectively. Almost all the novels featuring these two characters refer to certain public events in their plots. For example, one of the books is set in Greece during the time of the Colonel’s Revolution and one other novel is set during the Winter Olympics of 1980 in Lake Placid. A majority of other novels written by the two authors relates to several social and other general trends, including the Civil Rights Movement. The recurring characters developed by Lathen appear to quite engaging. John Putnam Thatcher is depicted as being the senior vice president of a bank named Sloan Guaranty Trust. This bank is listed among the largest banks of the world and is placed on the number three position. His character appears to be quite young even though he is aged around 60 and goes on to appear further unaging in the novels that followed in the series.

Putnam Thatcher seems to have quite an unsentimental view about the world and this helps him to use his banker’s knowledge for solving the criminal activities that take place around him. He has a nominal superior in the form of the president of the Sloan Guaranty Trust bank, named Bradford Withers. This character is described as a dunderhead and socialite. One more character that features alongside Putnam Thatcher is George Lancer, who is depicted as the Chairman. George seems to have a lot of depth in his character, but he does not have much amusing scenes in the series and appears to serve more often as a foil for his wife named Lucy. Putnam Thatcher has a secretary in the form of Rose Theresa Corsa, who is introduced by the authors as quite a redoubtable lady. Rose generally keeps fending off the interruptions by the officers in the bank reporting to Putnam Thatcher. She also manages the working hours of Putnam Thatcher as well as much of his life activity. When Putnam discusses about getting involved in detective work, Rose straight away disapproves it. The subordinates of Thatcher include Everett Gabler, Charlie Trinkham, as well as Walter Bowman. One of more character who makes recurring appearances in the series alongside Putnam Thatcher is known as Kenneth Nicolls. He is introduced in the series as a junior trust officer. The first book in the series shows how he met his wife named Jane, while the later books give the details about how he purchases his first house, his first business trip overseas, and the birth of his daughter and son.

The John Putnam Thather series written by Emma Lathen consists of 24 books in total which were published between the years 1961 and 1997. One of the earlier books in the series is titled as ‘Accounting for Murder’. It was released by the Scribner Book publication in the year 1964. The plot continues with the depiction of Putnam Thatcher as the main character, just like the previous books in the series. As the novel begins, it is shown that something fishy is happening in the National Calculating Company. It does not appear just a case of inefficiency, but a fraud. The irate stockholders of the company appoint an accountant from outside the company in order to investigate and find out why all the divisions except one, are losing huge amounts of money. But, under unfortunate events, the accountant is discovered dead. He was strangled by the cord of the adding machine. Then enters John p. Thatcher in the form of a silver haired and elegant detective and banker. Initially, he does not wish to poke his nose into the affair. However, his utmost curiosity forces him to go on and investigate about who was actually responsible for the murder of the outside accountant.

One of the other books initially published in the series is titled as ‘A Stitch in Time’. It was published by the Penguin publishers in the year 1968. At the beginning of the book, it is shown that a number of patients are dying in the hospitals. One of the patients to have died recently is Pemberton Freebody. But, a surgeon from the Long Island hospital says testifies that he had died due to the wounds that he had inflicted on his own. Due to this, the insurance company got a reason of not paying $100,000 as per the policy to Freebody’s family. But, Putnam Thatcher and his bank seemed rather unsatisfied with the proceedings in the case and therefore, they order to carry out the autopsy on their own. But, they do not find any success in it. When one more unnatural death happens in the hospital, it becomes clear that someone was playing a deadly game with the life of the patients. When a few more deaths take place in the hospital in unusual manners, Putnam Thatcher decides to plan out some other ways to hunt down the murder who was hiding behind for a long time.

Book Series In Order ┬╗ Authors ┬╗ Emma Lathen