Lillian de la Torre

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Lillian de la Torre Bueno McCue
Born 1902
Manhattan, New York
Died September 13, 1993
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Pen name Lillian de la Torre
Language English
Nationality American
Alma mater New Rochelle College, Columbia, Harvard-Radcliffe
Genre Historical detective
Spouse George McCue (d. 1984)

Lillian de la Torre (1902–1993) was an American novelist and a prolific writer of historical mysteries. Her full name was Lillian de la Torre Bueno McCue.

Born in Manhattan in 1902, de la Torre received master's degrees from Columbia University and Harvard. Her first novel was Elizabeth Is Missing, or Truth Triumphant, published by Knopf in 1945. Her most popular works were the Dr. Sam: Johnson, Detector series of 33 detective stories that cast 18th century literary figures Samuel Johnson and James Boswell into Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson roles. This series, which de la Torre began in 1943 with The Great Seal of England, is one of the earliest examples of the historical mystery, a literary genre which combines historical fiction and the whodunit/detective story. She also wrote numerous books, short stories for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, reviews for The New York Times Book Review, poetry and plays. Her play Goodbye, Miss Lizzie Borden was adapted as the episode "The Older Sister" for Alfred Hitchcock Presents. She was a President of the Mystery Writers of America and was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime for The Truth about Belle Gunness (1955).[1][2][3]

She died in 1993 at the age of 91. She was predeceased by her husband George McCue.[1]



  • 'Elizabeth is Missing', Or, Truth Triumphant: An Eighteenth Century Mystery (1945)
  • The Heir of Douglas (1953)
  • The Truth about Belle Gunness (1955)
  • The Actress (1957)

Short story collections[edit]

  • Dr. Sam: Johnson, Detector (1948)
  • The Detections of Dr. Sam: Johnson (1960)
  • The Return of Dr. Sam: Johnson, Detector (1985)
  • The Exploits of Dr. Sam: Johnson, Detector (1987)


  • Goodbye, Miss Lizzie Borden


  1. ^ a b Lambert, Bruce (September 19, 1993). "Obituary: Lillian de la Torre, 91, an Author of Mysteries From British History". [Internet Archive]. The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Lillian de la Torre Biography (Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction, Revised Edition)". Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  3. ^ Donsbach, Margaret. "The Bride of Newgate by John Dickson Carr". Retrieved November 13, 2013. 

External links[edit]

  • Finding aid author: Brian D. Reeves (2013). "Lillian de la Torre papers". Prepared for the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Provo, UT. Retrieved May 16, 2016.