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By Jeffrey Marks

Delphi Books, 2001
ISBN: 0-966-33971-1

Reviewed by Karen Meek

WHO WAS THAT LADY? is a slim biography of author Craig Rice who wrote screwball hardboiled mysteries, predominantly during the 1940s.

The volume is slim as most of the documentation surrounding Rice's life has been lost or destroyed. From what's left, this biography pieces her life together from her formative years, through her many relationships, jobs and abodes, concluding with her early death at the age of forty-nine. Puzzles such as where did her masculine name arise from and just how many times did she get married are answered within. Rice's life was eventful and exciting but also tragic and short.

Though I found Rice's life story interesting, I didn't find it a particularly easy read. It's simply written but fairly dry, possibly due to the lack of available material

On the other hand, I did enjoy the mini reviews of her novels and short stories and even though they are all out of print I feel inspired to seek one out, or maybe to rent a video of one of the films loosely based on her work.

This book will appeal to people intrigued by Craig Rice and also to those interested in the development of crime fiction during her era as it touches on her contemporaries such as Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.

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