Frances Crane (1890-1981) was an American author of mystery novels. Her series is the Pat & Jean Abbott series. Frances graduated from the University of Illinois and did her graduate studies at the University of Chicago. She was an outspoken liberal, who spent time in Nazi Germany, and would mock Hitler’s speeches, and try convincing restaurant staff she was Jewish. Unsurprisingly, she was later expelled from Germany. She returned home as a divorcée, and in need of money, began writing detective fiction.

Frances Crane made her debut as a novelist in 1941 with the novel The Turquoise Shop, beginning her Pat & Jean Abbott series. She wrote 26 in the series, plus four standalone novels. Below is a list of Frances Crane’s books in order of when they were originally released:

Publication Order of Pat and Jean Abbott Mystery Books

The Turquoise Shop (1941)Description / Buy at
The Golden Box (1942)Description / Buy at
The Yellow Violet (1942)Description / Buy at
The Applegreen Cat (1943)Description / Buy at
The Pink Umbrella / The Pink Umbrella Murder (1943)Description / Buy at
The Amethyst Spectacles (1944)Description / Buy at
The Indigo Necklace / The Indigo Necklace Murders (1944)Description / Buy at
The Cinnamon Murder (1946)Description / Buy at
The Shocking Pink Hat (1946)Description / Buy at
Murder on the Purple Water (1947)Description / Buy at
Black Cypress (1948)Description / Buy at
The Flying Red Horse (1949)Description / Buy at
The Daffodil Blonde (1950)Description / Buy at
Murder in Blue Street / Death in the Blue Hour (1951)Description / Buy at
The Polkadot Murder (1951)Description / Buy at
13 White Tulips (1953)Description / Buy at
Murder in Bright Red (1953)Description / Buy at
The Coral Princess Murders (1954)Description / Buy at
Death in Lilac Time (1955)Description / Buy at
Horror on the Ruby X (1956)Description / Buy at
The Ultra-Violet Widow (1956)Description / Buy at
The Buttercup Case (1958)Description / Buy at
The Man in Gray / The Grey Stranger (1958)Description / Buy at
Death-Wish Green (1960)Description / Buy at
The Amber Eyes (1962)Description / Buy at
Body Beneath a Mandarin Tree (1965)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Reluctant Sleuth (1961)Description / Buy at
Three Days in Hong Kong (1965)Description / Buy at
A Very Quiet Murder (1966)Description / Buy at
Worse Than a Crime (1968)Description / Buy at

If You Like Frances Crane Books, You’ll Love…

Frances Crane Synopses: The Turquoise Shop is the first Pat & Jean Abbott Mystery by Frances Crane. The arrival of a wealthy stranger from the East is enough to spark conversation in a small, artistic town in New Mexico. Even though Mona Brandon moved to Santa Maria a few years ago, there are still rumors about her money, her influence, and — when a corpse that may or may not be her husband is found in the nearby desert — her secret and suspicious past.

Jean Holly has a front-row seat to all of this gossip from the counter of her local jewelry and art shop after her relationship with Pat Abbott, the detective who is looking into the alleged murder, turns romantic. They have everything they need to solve the mystery thanks to his deductive reasoning and her local knowledge. But will they be able to put the pieces together and figure out what happened before the killer comes back?

The third installment in the Pat and Jean Abbott series is The Yellow Violet by Frances Crane. It takes place in the early weeks of World War II, when women wore girdles and everyone smoked. When a fellow private detective is murdered in his office, the only clue is a yellow violet, private detective Pat is back home in San Francisco, just hours from marrying Jean Holly. It just so happens that a gorgeous Spanish entertainer who fled the Spanish Civil War and is known for her signature yellow violet is on tour in town with her mother, her manager, and a dachshund named Pancho. When you add in a few Italian fascists (Pat says, “They don’t fight very well, but they know how to spy”), you have enough trouble to stop any wedding.

The Pink Umbrella by Frances Crane is the fifth book in the Pat and Jean Abbott series. Pat Abbott has put his career as a private detective on hold to serve his country in World War II as a marine. Currently, however, he is sneaking in a brief honeymoon in New York with his adored brand-new wife, Jean. However, as a result of the war, many of his old friends are reluctantly returning from Paris, and one of them is currently under suspicion of murder.

Although neither Pat nor Jean is particularly fond of the expatriate community as a whole—Jean has a particular dislike for a divorcée whom Pat appears to admire—Pat believes the accused to be a decent individual and plans to contribute to the investigation into the real perpetrator.

Order of Books » Authors » Order of Frances Crane Books

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