David Dodge

David Francis Dodge (August 18, 1910 – August 1974) was an author of mystery/thriller novels and humorous travel books. His first book was published in 1941. His fiction is characterized by tight plotting, brisk dialogue, memorable and well-defined characters, and (often) exotic locations. His travel writing documented the (mis)adventures of the Dodge family (David, his wife Elva, and daughter Kendal) as they roamed around the world. Practical advice and information for the traveler on a budget are sprinkled liberally throughout the books.David Dodge was born in Berkeley, California, the youngest child of George Andrew Dodge, a San Francisco architect, and Maude Ellingwood Bennett Dodge. Following George's death in an automobile accident, Maude "Monnie" Dodge moved the family (David and his three older sisters, Kathryn, Frances, and Marian) to Southern California, where David attended Lincoln High School in Los Angeles but did not graduate.After leaving school, he worked as a bank messenger, a marine fireman, a stevedore, and a night watchman. In 1934, he went to work for the San Francisco accounting firm of McLaren, Goode & Company, becoming a Certified Public Accountant in 1937. On July 17, 1936, he was married to Elva Keith, a former Macmillan Company editorial representative, and their only daughter, Kendal, was born in 1940. After the attack on Pearl Harbor he joined the U.S. Naval Reserve, emerging three years later with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.David Dodge's first experience as a writer came through his involvement with the Macondray Lane Players, a group of amateur playwrights, producers, and actors whose goal was to create a theater purely for pleasure. The group was founded by George Henry Burkhardt (Dodge's brother-in-law) and performed exclusively at Macondria, a little theater located in the basement of Burkhardt's house at 56 Macondray Lane on San Francisco's Russian Hill. His publishing career began in 1936 when he won First Prize in the Northern California Drama Association's Third Annual One Act Play Tournament. The prize-winning play, "A Certain Man Had Two Sons," was subsequently published by the Banner Play Bureau, of San Francisco. Another Dodge play, "Christmas Eve at the Mermaid," co-written by Loyall McLaren (his boss at McLaren, Goode & Co.), was performed as the Bohemian Club's Christmas play of 1940, and again in 1959. In 1961, the Grabhorn Press published the play in a volume entitled Shakespeare in Bohemia.His career as a writer really began, however, when he made a bet with his wife that he could write a better mystery novel than the ones they were reading during a rainy family vacation. He drew on his professional experience as a CPA and wrote his first novel, Death and Taxes, featuring San Francisco tax expert and reluctant detective James "Whit" Whitney. It was published by Macmillan in 1941 and he won five dollars from Elva. Three more Whitney novels soon followed: Shear the Black Sheep (Macmillan, 1942), Bullets for the Bridegroom (Macmillan, 1944) and It Ain't Hay (Simon & Schuster, 1946), in which Whit tangles with marijuana smugglers. With its subject matter and extremely evocative cover art on both the first edition dust jacket and the paperback reprint, this book remains one of Dodge's most collectible titles.Upon his release from active duty by the Navy in 1945, Dodge left San Francisco and set out for Guatemala by car with his wife and daughter, beginning his second career as a travel writer. The Dodge family's misadventures on the road through Mexico are hilariously documented in How Green Was My Father (Simon & Schuster, 1947). His Latin American experiences also produced a second series character, expatriate private investigator and tough-guy adventurer Al Colby, who first appears in The Long Escape (Random House, 1948).Two more well-received Colby books appeared in 1949 and 1950, but with the publication of To Catch a Thief in 1952, Dodge abandoned series ch


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