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Sweet and Low_An Emma Lathen Best Seller

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Sweet and Low_An Emma Lathen Best Seller

  Sweet and Low

  15th of 37 Emma Lathen Mysteries


  “Probably the best living American writer of detective stories.”

  C. P. Snow.

  “Emma Lathen writes permanent classics in the detective field. No superlatives are adequate.”

  The New York Times

  “The writing is really first class—a continual delight.”

  The Times Literary Supplement

  “Mystery writing at its very finest.”

  St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  “First-rate mystery, ably plotted and beautifully written.”

  Los Angeles Times

  “Unusual style and ingenuity. The best of its kind.”

  The New Yorker

  “The financial involutions of an unusual trust are clearly and absorbingly presented and the murder puzzle is sound and well-clued. A find.”

  The New York Times Book Review

  “Emma Lathen—what more need one say to assure a best of the year in detecting?”


  “She is peerless in style, wit, inventively credible plotting, and character bits.”

  Los Angeles Times

  “Emma Lathen uses her good wit to make banks, and accounting companies an exciting background for big-business deviltry, and become the best successful female writer in this field.”

  Chicago Tribune

  Murder also happens to the rich and mighty, just ask Emma Lathen!

  The New York Times Book Review calls her “urbane, witty, faultless, delightful.” She provides suspense with fascinating insights into businesses and the lives of the rich and powerful. From International to local businesses, where danger and intelligence go hand-in-hand.

  Simply Media Inc.

  POB 481

  Lincoln, MA 01773-0481

  simplymedia® is a trademark of Simply Media Inc.

  Copyright© 2016 by Deaver Brown

  This is a work of fiction with all characters and incidents fictional.

  24 John Putnam Thatcher

  Emma Lathen Mysteries

  1. Banking on Death 1961. Manufacturing basics.

  2. A Place for Murder 1963. Old Rich v Towns People.

  3. Accounting for Murder 1964. Accounting.

  4. Murder Makes the Wheels Go Round 1966. Cars.

  5. Death Shall Overcome 1966. Integration.

  6. Murder Against the Grain 1967. Options Trading.

  7. A Stitch in Time 1968. Health Care.

  8. Come to Dust 1968. Fund Raising.

  9. When in Greece 1969. International Business.

  10. Murder to Go 1969. Fast Food.

  11. Pick Up Sticks 1970. Second Home Developments.

  12. Ashes to Ashes 1971. Real Estate Development.

  13. The Longer the Thread 1971. Cut & Sew Off Shore

  14. Murder Without Icing 1972. Professional Sports.

  15. Sweet and Low 1974. Candy Bars & Consumer.

  16. By Hook or by Crook 1975. Antique Rugs.

  17. Double, Double, Oil and Trouble 1978. Oil.

  18. Going for the Gold 1981. Olympics/Amateur Sport.

  19. Green Grow the Dollars 1982. Mail Order/Nursery.

  20. Something in the Air 1988. Discount Airlines.

  21. East is East 1991. International, Robotics & Finance.

  22. Right on the Money 1993. Mergers & Acquisitions.

  23. Brewing Up a Storm 1996. Beer.

  24. A Shark Out of Water 1997. Government Projects.

  6 Elizabeth & John Putnam Thatcher

  Emma Lathen Mysteries

  John Putnam Thatcher reorganizes the Sloan, becomes Chairman, Charlie Trinkam President, Ken Nicholls SVP, Elizabeth Thatcher Head of IT & Venture Capital, Walter Bowman VP of Yes, Everett Gabbler VP of No & Maria Corsa, Miss Corse’s niece, a direct report to Elizabeth Thatcher. George Lancer, former Chairman, Brad Withers, former President & Miss Corsa are retired but curious.

  The Sloan has automated its branches, moved Corporate HQ to Ireland, set up IT in India, established the VC division in Ireland & Austin, and sold off the Sloan HQ building in New York. The Sloan has gone private with the above active individuals being the major shareholders and become the largest Bank in the World by Capital value.

  25. Political Murder 1999. Death of a Senator.

  26. Dot Com Murder 2001. Death of a Dot Com Leader.

  27. Biking Murder 2005. Death of a Bike Lane Advocate.

  28. Nonprofit Murder 2008. Death of a Nonprofit CEO.

  29. Union Murder 2010. Death of a Union Leader.

  30. Gig Murder. 2016. Death of a Gig Litigant.

  Sweet and Low


  01. The Dreyer Trust & Taxi Collision

  02. Trustee Meeting & Troublesome Undercurrents

  03. Murder in Chocolate City

  04. Detective at the Cocoa Exchange

  05. Commodities & Jobbers

  06. Old Glory

  07. The Exchange & cinéma vérité

  08. Two Dreyer Elk Collide

  09. The Ideal Candy Store

  10. Market Waits for Amory Shaw

  11. Shaw’s Last Walk

  12. The Second Murder Aftermath

  13. The Recap in the Bar

  14. Everyone Suing

  15. Gilligan to the Rescue

  16. Leo Gilligan Starts for Dreyer

  17. Brokers Take

  18. The Etruscan Vase

  19. Cinema Verite

  20. President Gets Arrested

  21. John Putnam Thatcher Figures It Out

  22. The Police Get Their Man

  23. The Arrest


  Henissart and Latsis attended Harvard graduate school back in the day. They discovered they were running out of traditional mysteries to read such as Agatha Christie and Rex Stout. They also learned that most mystery buffs had similar experiences leading to the eternal question: What’s next?

  At first they were friends and then roommates. Latsis worked in the CIA and spent two years in Rome employed by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization before returning to Wellesley College to teach Economics. Henissart went to New York to practice law.

  In 1960 Henissart took a corporate legal job at Raytheon in Boston and stayed with Latsis during her house hunt. She asked what good mysteries were around and was told there weren’t any left.

  They then said, “Let’s write one.” With that they were off and running in their lifetime entrepreneurial writing venture. This reminded me of my old friend Alex Goodwin, now Levitch, the only man I know who has ever changed his last name not to his wife’s, bringing me the Umbroller type stroller as a business project and I said, “Let’s do it.” We did. We were Choate roommates and had gone our separate ways until we had our first taste of organization life for me at General Foods and Alex in law at the US Justice Dept. in DC.

  Latsis and Henissart had an unusual relationship for writers but not for entrepreneurial partners. They began each work by first agreeing on the basic structure and major characters; then they wrote alternating chapters. Latsis then composed the first complete draft on yellow pads and produced this edition for Henissart to review. Henissart then typed out the final draft.

  They would then get together for a final joint rewrite, eliminating inconsistencies, and synthesizing the work into a coherent whole. Unlike the tradition of a Hemingway and Fitzgerald with an editor like Max Perkins, they jointly did their own editor work as equal partners in their enterprise.

  Most mystery buffs have had that moment of running out of acceptable books to read. Each of us can remember v
ividly the wonderful moment when we found another series to read. This can be your moment with the Emma Lathen series!

  I can remember the moment I learned about Sue Grafton, Thomas Perry, Dick Francis, and Emma Lathen herself. Some tap out and get off track like Patricia Cornwell, but they are often terrific while on track.

  Being practical as well as talented people, Henissart and Latsis took up the challenge and wrote 31 books together before Latsis died in 1997.

  24 were Emma Lathen John Thatcher books and 7 Ben Stafford political works written under the name R. G. Dominic. As good entrepreneurs, they let the Stafford series go when the John Thatcher series outsold it by a substantial amount.

  The series has been extended to six more featuring Thatcher’s daughter, Elizabeth, and most of the rest of the cast, this time moving Thatcher up to Chairman, Trinkam President, Nicholls SVP, Elizabeth Head of IT & VC, Bowman VP of Yes, Gabbler VP of No, and Miss Corse’s niece on board working for Elizabeth. Lancer, Withers, and Rose Corsa have retired but remain shareholders and are curious as well.

  There will be more as The Sloan adapts to the modern world by having moved their HQ to Ireland in a tax inversion, automating its branches to be more mobile and less subject to regulation, centering IT in India, venture capital in Austin, going private, and becoming the largest bank in the world measured by capital value.

  Henissart studied law at Harvard after graduating in physics from Mt. Holyoke. Latsis studied economics at Wellesley and Harvard so setting their books in the business world suited both of them. Their seemingly infallible instincts helped them recognize that business people were big mystery readers and could afford to buy a series, exactly what my Aunt Dorothy did.

  Martha Henissart chucked when telling me their best book store was on Wall Street itself.

  They created the name Emma Lathen out of a combination of letters in their own names, something they had great fun doing. M of Mary and Ma of Martha, and Lat of Latsis and Hen of Henissart. This was reinforced by Emma from Jane Austen. And viola--Emma Lathen was born!

  No one troubled to find out who Emma Lathen was for years. The authors kept it quiet to protect Henissart’s clients from possible embarrassment.

  They created an ensemble of characters to enrich their stories and carry people’s knowledge about the Thatcher group from book to book, much like Agatha did to a more limited extent with Hastings and Jap joining Poirot in many books. Emma Lathen anticipated TV series such as Mary Tyler Moore and later Friends that created a cast of characters so we knew them from the beginning of a story and didn’t have to labor to learn a new group.

  Pure whipped cream without the calories.


  Emma Lathen used Wall Street, banking, and business as the backdrop for her inspiration for a series of entertaining mysteries. The New York Times said, “John Putnam Thatcher is Nero Wolfe with portfolio.” In fact many readers turn to Lathen when they have finished the Nero Wolfe stories. Another New York Times reviewer said, “Emma Lathen is the American Agatha Christie.”

  An LA review from the Daily News said, “The Agatha Christie of Wall Street.”

  With those accolades she surely deserves our respect. More personally, she is worthy of reading, especially after you have run out of Wolfe and Christie mysteries.

  What is most charming about this 24 book series is that her entourage is in all the books, much like successful TV series such as Friends. Rex Stout had a similar group but they didn’t appear in every mystery. Agatha Christie had Captain Hastings, Miss Lemon, and Japp who appeared together occasionally; the TV series got them into more episodes to the delight of Agatha fans.

  I was personally introduced to Lathen by my Aunt Dorothy who was a business woman back in the day building houses in Minneapolis and then in World War II moving on to Seattle with her husband to do so. Interestingly, this is the only author my Aunt ever recommended. I have been forever grateful to her for doing so. Much like a Lathen character, my Aunt knew what money was good for and what it wasn’t. Uncle Chester and she built houses in the warm six months in Minneapolis and later Seattle, and then took off the other six to enjoy worldwide cruises for the rest of the year.

  Her postcards let me follow her from country to country, place to place, as they had a grand old time of it. She was introduced to Lathen in a ship’s library with the books bound in lovely yellow sturdy boards produced by Lathen’s English publisher. It all seemed to fit; English like Christie; on ship; with business people who could relate to Lathen and her cast of characters.

  Emma Lathen was the pseudonym for Martha Henissart and Mary Jane Latsis who wrote 24 adeptly structured detective stories featuring a banker, John Putnam Thatcher, and crack amateur sleuth much like Jane Marple. Thatcher is every bit as endearing and interesting as Poirot and Marple, Nero Wolfe and Archie, and Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, Henry, and company.

  Each story starts out with a business/banking motif, points to motives other than money, and winds up with money not emotions being the clue to the solution. Thatcher’s clear headed knowledge of money, banking, business, and human foibles is as only bankers can know, leads to his eureka moments, which are always fabulously turned out.

  Thatcher’s purpose is curiosity coupled with a desire to get his loans and the bank’s investments repaid which leads to his delivering killers to the police, signed, sealed, and delivered.

  Why was banking as a back drop for these mysteries? Henissart and Latsis put it best, “There is nothing on Lord’s earth a banker can’t get into.” Voila, and much like their rapier like insights and wits of these charming tough minded authors.

  Thatcher was the first fictional detective to come out of the world of business and finance. He became an instant hit on Wall Street and beyond in business and financial circles. This makes him perfect for today’s millennial and Z generations so enthusiastic about entrepreneurial life in education, nonprofits, and commercial life, all of which are represented in the work of Emma Lathen.



  John Putnam Thatcher, SVP of the Sloan, the Third Largest Bank in the World.

  Charlie Trinkam, Thatcher’s Second in Command in the Trust Department.

  Everett Gabbler, the informal VP of No, who identifies the weaknesses in every situation.

  Walter Bowman, the informal VP of Yes, who advocates new investment opportunities as the Head of the Sloan Research Department.

  Ken Nicolls, the budding young banker who operates as an assistant for Thatcher, Trinkam, or Gabler, depending on the circumstance.

  Miss Rose Corsa, Thatcher’s secretary, efficient, and generally unflappable.

  Tom Robichaux, Investment Banker/promoter, much married, a bon vivant, with conservative proper Quaker Devane as his partner, in the Robichaux & Devane multigeneration boutique investment bank. Thatcher’s Harvard College Roommate back in the day.

  Hugh Waymark, Waymark-Sims Brokerage Principal.

  Bartlett Sims, Waymark-Sims Brokerage Principal.

  George Charles Lancer, Stately Chairman of the Sloan Board of Directors.

  Lucy Lancer, the perceptive witty wife of George.

  Brad Withers, World Traveler, Sloan President, outside Ambassador, and the nominal boss of John Putnam Thatcher. Husband of Carrie Withers, perceptive upright Yankee lady.

  Stanton Carruthers, staid trust and estates lawyer, wise in the way of the world and the financial business in particular.

  Elizabeth (“Becky”) Thatcher, John Putnam Thatcher’s second daughter, stunning, smart, and much like his abolitionist grandmother. VP of IT & VC investments.

  Occasional Characters

  Professor Cardwell (“Cardy”) Carlson, the father-in-law of Laura, Thatcher’s oldest daughter. An erudite impractical professor.

  Mrs. Agnes Carlson, Laura’s mother-in-law who keeps Ben in line and up to form.

  Dr. Ben Carlson, Thatcher’s son-in-law and Laura’s husband. Stays quietly in the background.
r />   Laura Thatcher Carlson, Thatcher’s first daughter & family organizer.

  Jack Thatcher, youngest of the Thatcher children and much like Tom Robichaux and hence now the junior partner in the firm of Robichaux, Devane & Thatcher.

  Sam, Sloan Chauffer known for prompt service, comforting wit, and a warming temperament.

  Sheldon, Office boy known for moving equipment, getting Bromo Seltzer for hung over trust officers, and doing other small nefarious chores.

  Billings, the sardonic respectful elevator operator known for succinct observations about the day’s goings on.

  Don Trotman, the Devonshire Doorman and Jack of all Trades onsite.

  Albert Nelson, John Putnam Thatcher’s man servant and general helper.

  Arnie Berman, Waymark-Sims seasoned cigar chomping investment pro.

  Claire Todd, Ken Nicolls secretary.

  Burton Claster, the almost retired head of the Sloan Investment Division known as a “knucklehead” throughout the organization, who keeps getting the Sloan into bad investments including National Calculating Corporation.

  Characters only in Sweet & Low

  Howard Vandevanter, President of Dreyer Chocolate.

  Curtis Yeoman, Director of Dreyer, Former Pennsylvania Governor, and from a first family of Philadelphia.

  Amory Shaw, Head Chocolate Buyer for Dreyer working in New York City.

  Dick Frohlich, Chocolate Buyer working for Dreyer in their New York office.

  Captain Huggins, Detective in Dreyer handling the case..

  Detective Dennis Udall, New York Office; always interested in new things.

  Gene Orcutt, assistant to Shaw, trying to get his place.

  Mrs. Shirley Macomber, Shaw’s long time secretary.

  Russ Martini, principal in Martini & Mears, commodity brokers.

  Jim Mears, principal in Martini & Mears, commodity brokers.

  Jeanne Jesilko, Martini & Mears Secretary and Mrs. Macomber’s lunch mate and friend.

  Eleanor and Rodger Corwin, Sister and Brother-in-law of Dick Frohlich.

  Leo Gilligan, Sloan Client, handled by Charlie Trinkam, Financial Buccaneer, Commodities Speculator, now focused on cocoa.

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