Category Archives: Hay, James

James Hay, Jr. The Winning Clue. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1919.

Asheville is called Furmville in this novel, but readers will recognize the Asheville of the early twentieth century.  The city is a haven for tuberculosis patient from all along the eastern seaboard.  One of these patients, Miss Fulton, has been accompanied by her older sister, Mrs. Withers, a beautiful and fairly well-to-do woman.  As the novel opens, the younger woman finds her older sister dead in the living room of the bungalow they share. Mrs. Withers has been strangled and her jewels have been stolen.  Has she been murdered by a stranger or someone in her circle?  Police chief Greenleaf is aided in his investigations by an Atlanta detective who is recuperating in Furmville.  Their conversations move the investigation forward; those conversations also reveal the racial and social attitudes of the period.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1910-1919, 1919, Buncombe, Hay, James, Mountains, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places

James Hay, Jr. The Bellamy Case. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1925.

Stokes Jackson is a slick political operative who comes down to Asheville from New York to run Wayne Gilmore’s state senate campaign. It’s the early 1920s and women have just gotten the right to vote, so a key part of Jackson’s strategy is to persuade women to vote for his candidate.  However, Gilmore’s opponent is a woman, Joan Bellamy.  Jackson’s first thought is to throw mud on Bellamy, but before he can do that he is murdered.  The whole Bellamy family comes under suspicion.  Only with the help of a detective is Joan able to prove her innocence, and as the novel ends her personal and professional futures look quite bright.

Because there were two factual errors early in the book (Asheville is not in Orange County and Marshall, not Madison, is the county seat of Madison County), I was ready to dismiss this novel, assuming that the author hadn’t spent much time in the state. In fact, James Hay Jr. spent over a decade in Asheville, working some of that time at the Asheville Citizen.  And, in 1920, a woman, Lillian Exum Clement, was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly from Buncombe County.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1920-1929, 1925, Buncombe, Hay, James, Madison, Mountains, Mystery