Ames, Delano

Born: May 29, 1906
Died: January, 1987

Ohio connection: Birth

Mount Vernon

Delano L. Ames was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, on May 29, 1906.  He was the son of Benjamin and Isabel Cooper (nee Kirk) Ames. Delano’s father was a prominent businessman in Knox County, but moved the family to New Mexico in 1917.  As a young man, Ames attended schools in the eastern United States, including Columbia University. In 1929 Ames married novelist Maysie Coucher Grieg; they divorced in 1937. Ames left the United States in 1937 for England, where he met his second wife, Kathleen “Kit” Woodard; they married in 1942. Ames spent most of the rest of his life in Europe.

A prolific writer, Ames had over 25 books published, including several nonfiction compositions and translations. In 1932 his first book, They Journey by Night was published; it was followed by No Traveller Returns (1934) and A Double Bed on Olympus(1936).  Ames also wrote a Sexton Blake (a fictional detective that appeared in British comic strips) thriller titled The Cornish Coast Conspiracy (1942).  However, he is best known for his Jane and Dagobert Brown mysteries featuring the British detective couple, and the Juan Llora mysteries, about a sergeant in the Spanish Civil Guard who solves mysteries. The first book in the Jane and Dagobert Brown series was She Shall Have Murder (1948), followed by Murder Begins at Home (1949).  Other books in the series include Corpse Diplomatique (1950), Murder Maestro, Please (1952), and For Old Crime’s Sake (1959).  The Juan Llora mysteries include The Man in the Tricorn Hat (1960), The Man with Three Jaguars (1961), The Man with Three Chins (1965), andThe Man with Three Passports (1967).  Most of Ames’ books were published first in England and then in the United States in the same year, or shortly thereafter—sometimes under a different title, as with Lucky Jane (1959) published the same year in America as For Old Crime’s Sake.

Ames’ final novel was The Man with Three Passports (1967) and his last published work was a translation from French to English of Larousse Science of Life: A Study of Biology, Sex, Genetics, Heredity, and Evolution (1971).  Ames died at age 80 in Madrid, Spain, in January 1987