Connie Blair    

The Connie Blair Mystery Stories

"Do you ever think of people in terms of color?" Connie asked her hostess suddenly.  "I mean—certain colors just  fit certain people, the way lavender fits you."

                                                                  —page 75, The Puzzle in Purple

Betty CavannaThe Connie Blair series was written by author Betty Cavanna under the pen name of Betsy Allen.  Cavanna wrote volumes 1 through 11, and an acquaintance of hers wrote volume 12.  One of Betty Cavanna's friends wrote volume 12.

Connie Blair is a teenage girl who wins a position modeling clothes at an exclusive department store in Philadelphia.  She soon trades her modeling job for a secretarial position at an advertising firm and in time works her way up to a more important position.  Connie's job provides the backdrop for the mysteries that Connie solves, often in exotic locations.

Titles in the Connie Blair Series:

  1. The Clue in Blue, 1948
  2. The Riddle in Red, 1948
  3. Puzzle in Purple, 1948
  4. The Secret of Black Cat Gulch, 1948
  5. The Green Island Mystery, 1949
  6. The Ghost Wore White, 1950
  7. The Yellow Warning, 1951
  8. The Gray Menace, 1953
  9. The Brown Satchel Mystery, 1954
10. Peril in Pink, 1955
11. The Silver Secret, 1956
12. The Mystery of the Ruby Queens, 1958

The Connie Blair series was marketed by Grosset and Dunlap as easily identifiable because a color is featured in the title of each book.  The series was published in dust jacket from 1948 to 1958.  The first four titles were published in the picture cover format in the early 1960s.  All twelve books were reissued in mass market paperback editions during the 1960s.  In 1978, three titles were reissued in paperback with new cover art.

Shown below is an early advertisement for the Connie Blair series that appeared on the dust jackets from other Grosset and Dunlap series books.

Dust Jacket Gallery

Foreign Editions

Library Editions

Tempo Paperback Editions

Each plot synopsis on this page is taken from the preface of the Tempo paperback edition.  The synopsis for #9 has been modified from its original form.

  #1 The Clue in Blue
When Connie Blair takes a temporary job modeling glamorous clothes at Campion's in Philadelphia she becomes involved in a baffling mystery taking place behind the scenes of the great department store.

It all starts with a missing fur beret.  Connie's dashing young aunt, stylist for Campion's, is deeply concerned.  The hat, a Paris original, is fabulously expensive.  But what really worries Aunt Bet is that it is not the first article in her care to vanish mysteriously, only to reappear later even more mysteriously.

Connie is faced with one unanswerable question after another.  Who was the man in the woman's hat, that Sunday afternoon in the deserted store?  Why was Grace, the little stock girl, sobbing in terror in the models' dressing room?  Most important of all, what unknown enemy is trying to cast the shadow of suspicion on Aunt Bet?
The Clue in Blue
Determined to find the culprit, Connie enlists the aid of Larry Stewart, the young display man, and finally comes face to face with a far more ruthless enemy than she had ever imagined in her wildest speculations.
  #2 The Riddle in Red
The reception desk of a high-powered advertising agency is a wonderful spot to see everything that goes on, as Connie Blair soon discovers.  Nor is she at Reid and Renshaw's long before she senses big doings afoot.

"Cosmetics by Cleo," Reid and Renshaw's biggest account, is about to bring out a new revolutionary product made from a closely guarded secret formula.  Everyone at the agency is keyed to high pitch as the huge advertising campaign finally gets under way.

From the day the glamorous Cleo herself sweeps into the reception room, Connie is caught up in the general excitement.  But soon mysterious developments threaten not only the success of the campaign but Cleo Marville herself.  The climax comes when Cleo – and the secret formula – suddenly disappear.
The Riddle in Red
How Connie's lively intelligence and ingenuity rise to the challenge of one unanswerable question after another will keep the reader spellbound to the very last page of this gripping mystery story.
  #3 Puzzle in Purple
When Connie Blair goes to art school she enters an exciting new world in which glamour and mystery mingle.  Connie expects to meet unusual and colorful personalities, and she is not disappointed.  But she hasn't bargained for a skeleton named Adam who turns up in a purple cloak at the midwinter fancy dress ball and leaves his signature scrawled across the ceiling!

From that moment on, tension mounts in the stately old Philadelphia mansion that houses the art school.  Who is back of the debacle of the masked ball?  Eric Payson, the shy, sensitive young painter whose mural was the only one not defaced?  Roby Woodward, irresistible young dilettante who despises Eric for his ability?  Fritz Bachman, sharp faced and sardonic, and determined to win the Fairchild Prize by fair means or foul?
Puzzle in Purple
Sensing the impending catastrophe that later dwarfs the episode of the ball, Connie tries feverishly to fit into place the scattered pieces of the puzzle.  How she accomplishes this, and what she sees when the picture finally becomes clear is told in a thrilling mystery story set against the fascinating background of art school.
  #4 The Secret of Black Cat Gulch
Accompany Georgia Cameron to Taos, New Mexico.  Leaving Monday evening.  You will assist her with research for textile campaign on canyon colors.
                                                                Reid and Renshaw

For Connie Blair adventure rings in every syllable of this wire which she receives from the advertising agency while on vacation in Meadowbrook.  Indians, adobe, sagebrush – everything Connie has ever heard about New Mexico whirls in her delighted brain.

On the trip down Connie and Georgia make friends with Jeff Chandler.  Jeff, an enthusiastic young archaeologist, is on the track of a mysterious little man with a limp and a missing finger – who may hold the key to untold historical treasure.
The Secret of Black Cat Gulch
Connie throws herself wholeheartedly into Jeff's quest, and in doing so uncovers a modern mystery in ancient Taos.  Why does Dolly Morgan, the ugly but fascinating innkeeper, behave so strangely?  Who is trying to keep Connie and Jeff away from the abandoned mine – and why?  How Connie solves Jeff's mystery as well as her own is told in a thrilling story of mystery and romance in colorful New Mexico.
  #5 The Green Island Mystery
Mystery was the furthest thing from Connie's mind as she waved good-bye to her family and realized again that she was on her way to Bermuda – on business, with all expenses paid by her employer, Reid and Renshaw!

But Connie, running true to form, finds herself knee-deep in mystery long before the Queen of Bermuda docks.  While on board, Connie meets David Scott and learns about a missing half of a manuscript that was left to him after his aunt's sudden death.  Later, on the island paradise, Connie finds herself deluged with clues, clues, and more clues . . . until the whole mystery is jumbled like a jigsaw puzzle.

With danger and suspicion dogging her every step, Connie rearranges the clues, until, suddenly, like a jigsaw, the picture becomes clear, and the culprit is exposed.
The Green Island Mystery
  #6 The Ghost Wore White
Connie is willing to believe almost anything about the eerie old mansion on top of Eagle Rock – but a violin-playing ghost is too much for even her vivid imagination.

On vacation in aristocratic Newport, Rhode Island, Connie and her twin sister Kit are invited for a moonlight sail with their cousins Tom and Randy.  Passing the long-deserted mansion, Connie and Randy are sure they see a strange light in a window, and Connie is determined to search the imposing old house the first chance she gets.

Her chance comes all too soon, and almost spells disaster for our intrepid sleuth.  Only her quick wits and daring resourcefulness save her and her friends from something more dangerous than a musical ghost.
The Ghost Wore White
  #7 The Yellow Warning
Connie's suggestion of taking photographs of fur coats modeled in front of their living and breathing counterparts at the Philadelphia Zoo sounded, to the executives of Reid and Renshaw, like a very good idea.  But who could have foreseen an escaped gorilla . . . and the theft of an expensive mink coat?

Connie certainly didn't . . . but since the coat at the time of its loss was in her care she feels responsible, and is determined either to find the coat or make good the loss.  But when innocent Henry Colt, last seen holding the coat, is jailed as a suspect, Connie wastes no time in setting a trap for the real thief – a trap that backfires, placing her in mortal danger!  How Connie's deductions and expert sleuthing solve the mystery of the missing mink is sure to keep all of her readers gasping.
The Yellow Warning
  #8 The Gray Menace
It's contest time at Atlantic City! – and Connie is there to cover the cooking contest for a Reid and Renshaw appliance account.

Everything seems to be running fairly smoothly when Connie checks into the resort hotel, and she looks forward to an interesting stay.  But later, when Connie finds a small purse and attempts to return it to its owner, she finds herself walking into a roomful of trouble.  Attacked from behind, Connie has no idea who her mysterious assailant could be – but she has a hotel full of people to pick from.  Everyone is under suspicion, from aged, aristocratic Miss Whitney; to Paul, the bellhop and part-time dog walker; to the chambermaid . . . and, for good measure, any one of a hundred other employees or guests whom she doesn't know!
The Gray Menace
And, later, when a golden falcon brooch is missing, Connie herself is accused of stealing the piece.  Determined to clear herself and, at the same time, find her mysterious attacker, Connie digs deeper into the case and comes up with something quite unexpected . . . a cache of stolen jewelry.
  #9 The Brown Satchel Mystery
One moment Connie Blair is a pretty girl playing happily on vacation.  The next moment, Connie lies unconscious in a crumpled heap, collapsed upon a shell pile after being hit by an unknown assailant, and her mind is swirling downward into a black and bottomless pit from which there seems to be no return.

After Connie awakens, she is left with the unanswered question of who did this to her – and why?  Did Connie almost stumble across a secret which she was not supposed to discover?  What was the relation between the New York bank robbery, Mr. Sterling Witherspoon or possibly some other unsuspected guest at the club, the itinerant musicians, and her own strange attack in the cove?  Connie had to find out, before something even more terrible happened!
The Brown Satchel Mystery
 #10 Peril in Pink
Connie Blair shivered in anticipation as she boarded the plane that would take her to the Caribbean, never guessing that soon she would shiver in fright.  But once again what began as a business trip was to become surrounded with danger and intrigue.

When Mike Ingersoll first showed her the map, Connie was caught up in the excitement of a search for sunken treasure.  It seemed little more than an inconvenience when her traveling bag and Mike's were switched – until she discovered that she had the map, and someone else knew it!

How Connie pits all her mystery-solving skills against a sinister modern-day pirate makes a fast-paced tale of suspense and excitement.
Peril in Pink
 #11 The Silver Secret
Connie felt increasing alarm.  Where was Kit?  Had she been kidnapped or –.

Connie's mind stopped short of envisioning any other possibility, but for the first time since she had become involved in this mystery she was frightened – not just plain scared as she had been in the cemetery, but sick and cold with fear.  It was quite clear that Kit had disappeared because she had been mistaken for Connie.  Kit, who knew little or nothing about the silver theft.  Kit, who only wanted to have a little fun on her vacation, and who loathed anything even vaguely mysterious, who, in spite of her resemblance to Connie, was as different from her twin as day is from night.  With Kit in terrible danger, the Silver Secret became more than a puzzling mystery.  Solving it now was a matter of life or death!
The Silver Secret
 #12 The Mystery of the Ruby Queens
In the darkness beyond, Connie thought she could detect movements, imagined she could hear running footsteps, but she couldn't be sure.  With every muscle taut, she listened intently.  Yes, she did hear something, heavy breathing, just below her.  But it seemed to come – suddenly rough hands gripped her ankles and her feet were torn from their teetering perch.  Her hands felt for a hold she couldn't find, a crevice to cling to, a momentary block against the impending disaster that made her throat constrict and her heart pump wildly.  In one last moment of consciousness she thought frantically, "I may be killed!"

When Connie Blair is sent on a research assignment to an old mansion in the heart of historical Philadelphia, she is catapulted into one of the most baffling mysteries she has ever encountered.
The Mystery of the Ruby Queens
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