ALIAS JANE SMITH [The Women of WWII Mysteries] by Clarence Budington Kelland

“Fast-paced, rich in humor, excitement and romance.” —The Williamsburg Tribune

Only a few months earlier, the young woman now known as Jane Smith had lived a life of luxury and privilege as the ruler of a small Balkan kingdom. She lived a life of glittering balls, the finest furnishings, the most handsome men, the most exquisite of foods. Her only friends were four bearded old men who served as her cabinet, and worshiped the ground she walked on.

Then the Germans had marched in, and she and her four councilors barely escaped with their lives. The elderly men had no idea how to survive in the dangerous, terror-stricken new world of wartime Europe. Jane Smith’s brains and strength of will won them through peril and certain death across war-torn battlefields, over perilous borders, famine-filled countries and criminal rings—to the continent’s edge and across the sea to freedom and safety in the US.

When at last Jane Smith shepherded her elderly charges down the gangplank and into Manhattan, they had only a few hundred dollars left and, used to every luxury, found themselves living in a shabby old brownstone. Jane had solved many problems and survived many dangers to reach the land of liberty. But her troubles were only beginning. Now that they were here—how would they survive?

An unprecedented new challenge faced her. They were safe…but how would they earn their way in this bustling new land, five insignificant figures among teeming millions? And if they did find a way, Jane knew she would have to take charge, remaking herself and her companions. For the qualities that had made her friends with the leading statesmen in Europe in no way qualified them for jobs in New York’s melting pot.

What was she to do and how would she do it? And most importantly, who was she in the absence of royal power and prestige? How would she house and feed herself, let alone the four whose lives and welfare were in her hands? She needed to find work she could do, earn their living and prove herself as worthy a citizen as any other American. But nothing in her previous life or training had prepared her for such a challenge.

Suddenly Jane Smith had an inspiration. There was one thing the five of them knew intimately: luxurious furnishings and sumptuous decorations. What she didn’t know was where, in an unknown new land, to begin—or that she would face competition, racketeers, and the previously unknown problem of publicity. But she had not quailed among falling shells, starvation, and deadly peril, and she would not quail now.

Then, the woman who had been raised for a royal match found the one thing she never imagined in all her visions of a new life—a man she could love. But he was only a common soldier…

Suspenseful, humorous, heartwarming mystery filled with Kelland's signature oddball characters, including:

  • Jason Tickle of Lard Can, OK: he struck oil and built a palace for a princess, but where would he find a princess to sleep in it?
  • Rapunzel Tickle: a large, awkward young woman, her father built her a palace, but she didn't want to be a princess; she wanted the simple life.
  • Mrs. Jim Slemp: a leading NY socialite, comfortable with her adipose, many times widowed, fabulously wealthy, her voice of brass hid a heart of gold.
  • Sledge Mantor, gangster-about-town: Jane Smith was in his way to a fortune—he liked to play rough, but Jane could play rougher.
  • Canopus Jones: NY's most popular gossip columnist, Canopus stumbled on the two biggest stories of his life and couldn't print either one. Though he fancied himself a cynic, he had infinite faith in Rapunzel’s flapjacks.
  • Major Lincoln Bowie of the US Marines: what was so secret about his past that even Canopus Jones would not reveal it?

“A grownup fairy tale in usual urbane Kelland style.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An amazing book. I love the party scene at the end. It makes me cry every time I read it." —Goodreads

"In the best Kelland style." —Clarksville Chronicle

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About the Author

Clarence Budington Kelland is a legendary Golden Age author of mystery and romantic suspense. Kelland penned some 100 novels, and selling them as serials to the biggest and highest-paying magazines of the time—like The Saturday Evening Post and The American Magazine. Many were immortalized on film, of which the romantic suspense comedy and Oscar winner, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, is undoubtedly the most famous. Kelland appeared alongside Agatha Christie, Rex Stout and Erle Stanley Gardner in the same magazines, but was the most popular of the four. His trademark dialogue and deftly plotted stories “made him an American tradition and won him more loyal, devoted readers than almost any other living author.” Kelland described himself as “the best second-rate writer in the world.” His legions of fans would likely disagree. There is nothing second-rate about his work.