Mabel Dana Lyon and Josephine Hughston. The Bathtub Murder (1933) 206 pp.
On the campus of “Western University,” south of San Francisco, in a house dubbed the “honeymoon cottage” on Faculty Row, a young woman named Claire Linden is found dead in her bathtub by her husband, Paul Linden. The police quickly rule it a murder and arrest Paul for the crime. Only two people are convinced of Paul’s innocence, his brother (a local doctor) and Wynne “Breezy” West, gal-reporter for the San Francisco Star. Breezy believes in Paul because she has known him for years and they have recently renewed their friendship—a friendship that has advanced to romance, albeit still a platonic one. When their relationship is uncovered by a rival newspaper reporter and splashed across the headlines, it makes it look even more like Paul is guilty. But Breezy continues to investigate, hoping to uncover the real killer before a jury passes a guilty verdict of murder in the first degree. Although the authors proclaim that “all of the characters in this book are fictitious,” the novel is a thinly disguised account of the case of David Lamson, an editor at the Stanford University Press, who was accused of murdering his wife Allene on Memorial Day, 1933. Numerous aspects of the real-life case are present in the novel, from the date of the murder to the circumstances of the discovery of the body, from the pregnant housemaid to the “other woman” to the outcome of the trial. Stanford Magazine recounted the case in great detail in the Jan.-Feb. 2000 issue.
Setting: Stanford University (“Western University”)
Baird & Greenwood 1585