Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Elizabeth Linington - Queen of the Procedurals

Author Elizabeth Linington

Author Elizabeth Linington
One of the first women to write police procedurals, long a male-dominated genre of police story writing, author Elizabeth Linington (1921-1988) would eventually be regarded as the "Queen" of the Police Procedurals!
A 'police procedural' is a subgenre of detective fiction, depicting the activities of a police force as they investigate crimes.
Most of Elizabeth Linington's crime stories involved the LAPD and took place in and around Los Angeles, California.

Elizabeth Linington was a very Prolific Writer

She wrote books under her own name, as well as several Pen Names:

  • Dell Shannon
  • Leslie Egan
  • Anne Blaisdell
  • Egan O'Neill

Elizabeth and her Pseudonyms...

Crime Scene Do Not Cross Tape
Crime Scene Do Not Cross Tape (Source)
Many authors write a series of books around a central, continuing character. Linington wrote Four separate crime series, each with their own main character. The following is a brief review of her characters and the books you will find them in.

Born Barbara "Elizabeth" Linington in 1921, she became a prolific American novelist, writing different series under her own name and one of several pseudonyms. Her crime fiction 'Police Procedurals' were written under Elizabeth Linington, Dell Shannon and Leslie Egan.

 as 'Elizabeth Linington'


Greenmask book cover



Main Character: Ivor Maddox, Police Sergeant, Hollywood

Ivor Maddox is portrayed as a police sergeant working in the Wilcox Street precinct in Hollywood, California. From the first book "Greenmask," written in 1964, through the 13th book in the series "Strange Felony" (1986), we follow the policemen and women of this precinct - (including Maddox's wife Sue - a fellow policewoman he meets and marries) as they investigate... and eventually solve... crimes occurring in their area.

"Greenmask" was the very first book in the Ivor Maddox series. It's available from other sellers through Amazon.

Chalk outline of body
Source: Pixabay

List of Ivor Maddox Books

  1. Greenmask! (1964)
  2. No Evil Angel (1964)
  3. Date with Death (1966)
  4. Something Wrong (1967)
  5. Policeman's Lot (1968)
  6. Practice to Deceive (1971)
  7. Crime by Chance (1973)
  8. Perchance of Death (1977)
  9. No Villain Need Be (1979)
  10. Consequences of Crime (1980)
  11. Skeletons in the Closet (1982)
  12. Felony Report (1984)
  13. Strange Felony (1986)

as "Leslie Egan"

Two Different Series!


The Vic Varallo Series...
by Leslie Egan

Egan wrote 13 books in the Vic Varallo series between 1962 and 1984. Vic Varallo is a small-town cop who moves to Glendale, California and joins the Glendale Police Department. Working with his boss (and friend) Charles O'Connor as a homicide detective, they are later joined by Detective Delia Riordan, who acquits herself splendidly on her first case, proving to the 'men' that 'women' are just as competent in the Police Department. As with all Linington's series, we meet and get to know the families of the Glendale detectives.

Egan's first book in the Vic Varallo series is "The Borrowed Alibi" (1962), available on Amazon, and the series concludes with the 1985 book "The Wine of Life".

Crime Scene image
Image Source: Pixabay

A List of the 13 Books in the 'Vic Varallo' Series... - by Leslie Egan 
  1. The Borrowed Alibi (1962)
  2. Run to Evil (1963)
  3. Detective's Due (1965)
  4. The Nameless Ones (1967)
  5. The Wine of Violence (1969)/b>
  6. Malicious Mischief (1971)
  7. Scenes of Crime (1976)
  8. A Dream Apart (1978)
  9. The Hunter and the Hunted (1979)
  10. A Choice of Crimes (1979)
  11. Random Death (1982)
  12. Crime for Christmas (1984)
  13. The Wine of Life (1985)
A Case For Appeal Book Cover
Available on eBay

The Jesse Falkenstein Series
by Leslie Egan

Jesse Falkenstein, the second series by Elizabeth Linington writing as Leslie Egan, features a lawyer in Los Angeles, California. If you wonder what a lawyer has to do with the genre 'police procedurals', Jesse is not your average lawyer and these are not true 'lawyer' type stories. In the first book in the series - "A Case for Appeal" - Jesse is a poor struggling lawyer just starting out in private practice whose secretary is murdered and he becomes involved in the investigation. As the series continues, he tends to do more 'investigative' work than 'lawyering', helping out his best friend, LAPD detective Sergeant Clock (who soon marries Jesse's sister), and aided by an amazing (and extremely wealthy) 'older' gentleman who is 'bored' in his retirement and wants to feel useful. Jesse .... and all the characters in the series, including his beautiful and charming wife he once defended in a murder case -- will entrance and charm you.

A List of the 13 Books in the Jesse Falkenstein Series

  1. A Case for Appeal (1961)
  2. Against the Evidence (1962)
  3. My Name is Death (1964)
  4. Some Avenger, Rise! (1966)
  5. A Serious Investigation (1968)
  6. In the Death of a Man (1970)
  7. Paper Chase (1972)
  8. The Blind Search (1977)
  9. Look Back on Death (1978)
  10. Motive in Shadow (1980)
  11. The Miser (1981)
  12. Little Boy Lost (1983)
  13. Chain of Violence (1985)

as Dell Shannon

Luis Mendoza, a Police Lieutenant with the LAPD in Los Angeles, California - by Dell Shannon

Case Pending Book Cover
Now Available on eBay

Luis Mendoza - Dell Shannon's Most Famous Character

Dell Shannon introduced her most famous character to us in her first book "Case Pending" written in 1960. Mendoza, a police lieutenant in homicide with the LAPD was originally planned to be a minor, one-time character. But when Lieutenant Luis Rodolfo Vicente Mendoza arrived upon author Shannon's pages, she found she was now in possession of an egotistical, sharply defined, inescapable Character who was clamoring insistently to occupy another book. 

Shannon was somewhat shook by this, as she was used to building characters in deliberate and leisurely development. But, as she wrote in a foreword to "First Four by Shannon", Mendoza suddenly "was, he existed, and he refused to be ignored." By the end of the second 'Mendoza' book, Shannon had settled down to a kind of temporary truce with Mendoza and by the end of the 4th book featuring him, she was stuck with Mendoza and his emerging cohorts, and there was "...nothing in this world I could do about it."

Linington, writing as Dell Shannon, wrote 38 Luis Mendoza books between 1960 and 1987. Throughout the series, the men and women of the LAPD homicide division are faced with a multitude of crimes similar to those faced every day by big city police departments. Mendoza, a poker wizard and cat lover who quite inadvertently found himself a millionaire after being a police detective too many years to want to do anything else, solves crimes with the help of his two trusty Sergeants and a collection of other detectives. In addition, as the series continues, we become acquainted with the personal lives of these detectives as they meet and marry their spouses, become parents and acquire a delightful collection of dogs & cats. By the end of the series you are wishing Shannon was still around to write more as Mendoza and his team have become personal 'friends'.

The list of Luis Mendoza books is too long to include here, but a complete list can be found on Cozy Mystery List and also on Stop, You're Killing Me (A website to Die For... If You Love Mysteries!)

First Four by Shannon - The Beginning of the Luis Mendoza Series!


This volume called First Four by Shannon introduces Dell Shannon's most well-known character, Luis Mendoza. 


(Dell Shannon is the most famous pseudonym of Elizabeth Linington)

The Anglophile

Besides police procedurals, Elizabeth Linington wrote this 'spy' story about a British spy in Dublin who is in the middle of falling in love while maintaining his cover and ridding himself of a very inquisitive policeman..

Copies available through new and used book sellers through eBay.

Personal Notes on Author Elizabeth Linington


Home Library of Elizabeth Linington Books
My Collection of Elizabeth Linington Books

I've been a fan of author Elizabeth Linington since the 1970s. Pictured is part of my collection of Elizabeth Linington-Dell Shannon-Leslie Egan books, which fill two whole book shelves in my bookcase. Of the 79 books Linington wrote between 1960 and 1987, I own all but five. Most of her books are now out-of-print, but can still be found in used book stores and online at places like Amazon and eBay.  A few have recently been made available as Kindle editions.

In the late 1970s, I was living on the Central Coast of California. While checking out the newest Dell Shannon book at the library one day, the librarian said "did you know that Elizabeth Linington now lives in Arroyo Grande (just 25 miles away) and is listed in our (San Luis Obispo) phone book?"  She suggested I call her and tell her what a fan I was. Well, regretfully, I never got up the nerve to call (thinking she wouldn't want to be 'bothered') before Linington died in Arroyo Grande in 1988 at the age of 67. She wrote her last book in 1987, so she wrote right up to the end. I wish now that I had called, because I'm STILL a fan and re-read her delightful books frequently. 

She truly was the "Queen of the (Police) Procedural".

This article was originally written on another site in © 2012 Wednesday-Elf

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. I do like the odd murder mystery books, but I dont think I've ever gotten into the police side of things. I will look into some of these books, thanks for the write up...

    1. Police procedurals are my favorite style of mystery stories. This author captured my attention years ago because her characters are so entertaining. Thanks for the visit, Olivia.

  2. Wow! She really was a ground-breaking female writer!!! And using multiple pseudonyms too. That is really cool. In the past, I have not particularly cared for the mystery or police series, but thanks to your recommendations and a few others, I have ventured into those genres and found I actually do enjoy reading them. I am guessing I would need to start with "Case Pending" since it is available on Kindle.

    1. Mouse, 'Case Pending' would be a very good place to start and it will give you an idea as to whether or not you like her writing.

  3. These definitely sound interesting to me. They are going on my list of books I want to read. Thank you for reviewing them.

    1. Barbara, you most likely will enjoy reading Elizabeth Linington's books, as they all take place in California. If you do, come back and let me know. :)

  4. You have me intrigued. I do enjoy police procedural TV shows and love reading mysteries. I'll have to try one of these! They sound fantastic! thanks for all the work on the lists & the look into her life & career.

    1. Thanks, Sylvia. Since I'm such a big fan of this author, it was fun for me to create the lists of her many books. She fascinated me writing all these different series and it was really such fun to read them in order as they 'continue' with the same characters.

  5. I have never heard of Elizabeth Linington, but first woman author I think of when I think of police procedural fiction is Ruth Rendall. Her book A Murder of Crows was the first book in this genre I read as a teen and I love it - will put Elizabeth Linington on my must read list.

    1. Ruth Rendal is a good author too, Louanne. Let me know what you think of Elizabeth Linington.