MISS DRUGGET TAKES THE TRAIN, or The Artless Heiress [The Innocents at Large Mysteries by Clarence Budington Kelland

Hers wasn't a background that equipped a young woman to manage a motel worth a million dollars, or cope with rude guests, jewel thieves, an unscrupulous competitor—or even the attentions of a brassy but oddly attractive lawyer...

"On the way to claim her inheritance Columbine Drugget picks up a man's suitcase instead of her own. Its contents—a gun, a bag of jewels and other ominous articles—prove a magnet for murder. The author's inimitable characters and deftly plotted stories have made him almost an American tradition." —The Vancouver Province

"Everything falls apart when geeky miss claims inheritance of lush Arizona motel. She's up against theft, sabotage and certain unprincipled characters before she's through, and it's all thoroughly light-hearted and pleasing. Fine for long cozy evening." —The Boston Globe

Columbine Pepper Drugget had spent her life so far as an assistant to her aunt, Miss Egeria Cordwainer, at Miss Cordwainer’s School for Girls from Five to Ten. What she knew about the world was limited to the novels of Jane Austen and such bits of knowledge as the pupils possessed. None of this prepared her to assume the proprietorship of a multimillion-dollar luxury motor court in Phoenix, Arizona, left to her by her estranged father—or, indeed, for what ensued when she set off alone to claim it.

Her adventures began on the train, where she met a strange trio of passengers who, unbeknownst to Miss Drugget, would soon become more intimately involved in her life. They included a suspicious-looking clergyman known only as Martinus, Professor Artemus Thumb (who was fanatic about his thesis, “The Place of Primitive Magic in the Development of Pastoral Peoples”), and Mrs. Roxy Thistlebun, a rich Texas oil widow. As it happens, that was also the night one of her suitcases became switched with one containing thousands of dollars in stolen jewels.

Miss Drugget’s life became even more complicated when she arrived in Phoenix to assume her new duties as the owner-operator of The Grove of Daphne Motor Court. In addition to discovering the jewels—and a very businesslike gun—in her suitcase, she needed to discover which of her employees was stealing the motel blind. She also needed to head off an attempt by a local real estate magnate, Lucius Quentin, to acquire ownership of her motel. Then there was the junior partner in her late father’s law firm, Sam Green, whom she found herself relying upon for assistance far more often than she liked—due to his disturbing effect on her. What perturbed Miss Drugget most, however, was that somehow she seemed to have become a magnet for murder…

Here is a true-to-form, zany Kelland tale featuring a strong and brilliant (if thoroughly unprepared) heroine, fast-paced adventure, humor and homicide—and even a touch of romance.

“Outrageous, entertaining, a good deal of fun—especially the attractive notion of a professional jewel thief who is an adept in Black Magic.” —The New York Times

“Columbine Pepper Drugget inherited a luxury motel in Arizona—along with some sinister characters she never learned about in Miss Cordwainer’s School for Girls. An exciting story by master storyteller Clarence Budington Kelland!” —The Minneapolis Star

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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.