Fiction’s Fleeting Fame

We recently watched The Woman Accused (1933), a mystery starring a very young Cary Grant and a very lovely Nancy Carroll. The screenplay, written by Bayard Veiller, was adapted from a serialized novella in Liberty magazine in which each segment was written by one of ten popular authors: Rupert Hughes, Vicki Baum, Viña Delmar, Irvin S. Cobb, Gertrude Atherton, J.P. McEvoy, Zane Grey, Ursula Parrott, Polan Banks, and Sophie Kerr.

The question that arose for us as these authors were seen during the opening credits in a series of brief, silent cameos was, why don’t we know more of these names? The movie’s credits describe them “ten of the world’s greatest authors,” for Pete’s sake. How can we not have an inkling who most of them are?

Perhaps it reveals us as shallow and poorly read, but the only name we recognized was western novelist Grey; the rest were unknown to us (though as we researched their careers a bit, we found there were several names we should have recognized).

So, before you read on, stop and think: How many can of these ten authors of yesteryear are you familiar with? We’ve admittedly set the bar pretty low, to our shame, so surely you’ll recognize more of the names than we did. Once you’ve come up with a total, then click on the images below to learn more about each writer.