Monday, March 11, 2019

Pat Root

Pat Root (b. Hailey, Idaho, 16 July 1917; d. Sandy Hook, Connecticut, 1965)

Pat Root published only two books, the first of which, from 1952, gives in a biographical note on the dust-wrapper most of what is known about her.  It reads:
Pat Root was born in Hailey, Idaho, but she didn't stay there long. Her father was a government employee and the family moved around a good bit. One of their longest stays was in the West Indies, for three years, before Miss Root came to New York where she studied art instead of going to college. Back in the islands for a year's visit, she tells us: "I wrote some children's stories which were too old for children, and painted some pictures which were not."  She is married and now makes her home in Connecticut. 
She was born Doris Patricia Root, the only child of Carl L. Root (1881-1956), who was born Charles Levi Rosengren in Minnesota, and his wife Mildred Eleanor Campling, née Hill (1893-1984), who was from England.  They were married in South Dakota on 10 April 1915.  Carl Root worked  for the Federal Government as an appraiser, and as a collector of customs in the Virgin Islands for twenty years, before he retired to Miami in 1952. 

Pat Root's husband was Charles Sherman Robinson (1911-1967).  It was his second marriage; he had a son and a daughter from his first marriage, which lasted from 1932 until he was divorced in 1939. He had studied at Yale, M.I.T., and the University of Berlin, but spent most of adult his life in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.  At the time of his death he was working for the U.S. Navy on a research project at Yale.  He and his second wife lived in Sandy Hook. They had no children.

Her two books, both mysteries with gothic overtones published as part of the "Inner Sanctum Mystery" series, appeared under her maiden name, though she was married before the first one came out. Evil Became Them (New York:  Simon and Schuster, [February] 1952) also achieved a British edition (1953), a US paperback edition (Dell, 1954), and a translation into Spanish (Argentina, 1958).   It tells of the charming Vail siblings, a sister and two brothers, on Santa Gorda Island, who seek to inherit a fortune from their stepmother, who is wary enough of their plotting to warn a mysterious guest before she perishes. 

Her second book was less successful, The Devil of the Stairs (New York:  Simon and Schuster, [February] 1956). It concerns a beautiful opera singer who is quintessentially evil.

Pat Root died in 1965 (information from her gravestone; no obituaries have been found).

Pat Root's gravestone gets her birthyear incorrect (as 1918)
Both of her books were reprinted as mass market paperbacks in 1966 in the short-lived series of  Lancer Gilt-Edge Gothics, which also included two novels by Phyllis Paul. 

1 comment:

  1. Evil Became Them is really superb. Thank you for this information about this brilliant and mysterious writer.
    Like the work of the genius Phyllis Paul it’s criminal that these books are out of print. Luckily Pat’s books are somewhat easier to locate - albeit from the US.