Murder With Southern Hospitality:
An Exhibition of Mississippi Mysteries

Exhibit Home » Mid-Twentieth Century Mysteries » Cid Ricketts Sumner & Leslie H. Whitten

Mid-Twentieth Century Mysteries

Cid Ricketts Sumner
& Leslie H. Whitten

Cid Ricketts Sumner was born in Brookhaven, Mississippi in 1890, and grew up in Jackson. She graduated from Millsaps College, received her master’s degree from Columbia University, and attended Cornell University’s Medical School for one year, where she met and married a future Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry. Sumner started writing after her children were old enough to attend school. Hollywood adapted Quality, her 1946 novel about a black woman passing as white, into the controversial film “Pinky.” Her “Tammy” novels inspired three popular movies starring first Debbie Reynolds and later Sandra Dee, as well a television series. In 1964, Sumner wrote her only mystery, Withdraw Thy Foot, in which a New England spinster schoolteacher investigates a brutal murder during her summer vacation on the Massachusetts coast. Sumner herself died at the hands of a grandson in 1970. Beneath the American edition is an inscribed 1966 British edition.

The Doubleday Crime Club published Moon of the Wolf by Leslie H. Whitten in 1967. The shockingly savaged body of a student nurse leads the citizens of “Stanley,” Mississippi to speculate that the young woman had fallen prey to wolves – or werewolves. A 1977 made-for-TV movie changed the setting to the Louisiana bayous.

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