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Evelyn E. Smith (1922–2000)

Author of Miss Melville Regrets

48+ Works 614 Members 8 Reviews

About the Author


Works by Evelyn E. Smith

Miss Melville Regrets (1986) 136 copies
Miss Melville Returns (1987) 102 copies
Miss Melville's Revenge (1989) 81 copies
Miss Melville Rides a Tiger (1991) 80 copies
Unpopular Planet (1975) 35 copies
The Perfect Planet (1962) 29 copies
The Blue Tower (1958) 9 copies
The Vilbar Party (1955) 8 copies
The Copy Shop (1985) 8 copies
House of Four Widows (1965) 8 copies
Collector's Item (1954) 8 copies
The Doorway (1955) 7 copies
Once a Greech (1957) 6 copies

Associated Works

Fifty Short Science Fiction Tales (1963) — Contributor — 459 copies
100 Great Fantasy Short, Short Stories (1984) — Contributor — 247 copies
Christmas Stalkings (1991) — Contributor — 197 copies
17 X Infinity (1900) — Contributor — 161 copies
Beyond Belief (1966) — Contributor — 114 copies
The Third Galaxy Reader (1958) — Contributor — 114 copies
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: 19th Series (1971) — Contributor — 106 copies
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: 11th Series (1962) — Contributor — 89 copies
Best SF Four (1961) — Contributor — 65 copies
100 Twisted Little Tales of Torment (1998) — Contributor — 64 copies
Laughing Space: An Anthology of Science Fiction Humour (1982) — Contributor — 55 copies
Young Witches and Warlocks (1987) — Contributor — 32 copies
Sociology Through Science Fiction (1974) — Contributor — 21 copies
Streets of Blood: Vampire Stories from New York City (1998) — Contributor — 12 copies
Galaxy Science Fiction 1953 May, Vol. 6, No. 2 (1953) — Contributor — 10 copies
Galaxy Science Fiction 1957 June, Vol. 14, No. 2 (1957) — Contributor — 9 copies
Galaxy Science Fiction 1957 April, Vol. 13, No. 6 (1957) — Contributor — 7 copies
Beyond Fantasy Fiction 1954 July (1954) — Contributor — 5 copies
Super-Science Fiction : 1957-02 : Vol 1 No 2 (1957) — Contributor — 4 copies
Saturn, May 1957 (Vol. 1 ∙ No. 2) (1957) — Contributor — 2 copies
Voyageurs de l'éternité et couloirs du temps (1977) — Contributor — 1 copy


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Common Knowledge

Other names
Lyons, Delphine C.
Date of death
New York, New York, USA
Place of death
New York, New York, USA
Places of residence
New York, New York, USA
science fiction writer
mystery novelist
crossword puzzle constructor
short story writer
Short biography
Evelyn E. Smith was born in New York City. During the 1950s, an era when women rarely appeared in science fiction magazines, she regularly published short stories and novelettes in Galaxy Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, among others. She also wrote science fiction novels, beginning with The Perfect Planet (1962), often focused on gender identity. However, she is probably best known today for her series of mystery novels about Miss Melville, a middle-aged socialite-turned-assassin, who made her debut in Miss Melville Regrets (1986). Under the pseudonym Delphine C. Lyons, she also published at least five gothic romance novels such as Flower of Evil (1965) and the nonfiction work Everyday Witchcraft (1972). Her short story "At Last I've Found You" was adapted into an opera by Seymour Barab in 1984. Two volumes of her collected stories were published posthumously as Evelyn E. Smith Resurrected: Selected Stories of Evelyn E Smith (2010) and The Best of Evelyn E. Smith: The Two Suns of Morcali and Other Stories (2012). Her work appears in numerous anthologies.



This is another new-to-me author in my tour of Golden Age science fiction. It's a collection of short stories first published in the 1950s with maybe a few from the early 1960s. The prose was readable, without the stiltedness I'd been half-expecting from work of that age. There were a few typos, but nothing terribly distracting.

For many of the stories, the author brings a sense of gentle humour into an unusual situation: most commonly some kind of culture clash with misunderstandings and misinterpretations between various parties (whether deliberate or inadvertent). The speculative elements are kept light, with the emphasis on how people (whether human or not) deal with issues rather than the nitty-gritty of how they got there. I enjoyed this approach, although by the halfway point it was starting to feel a bit repetitive. I guess that's a hazard of reading a compilation since they wouldn't all have been published at the same time.… (more)
MHThaung | Sep 5, 2021 |
hoyd | Dec 13, 2020 |
I remember enjoying some Miss Melville books years ago. This one was disappointing.
Susan Melville, who is now rich and still an assassin, is asked to be on the board of directors of a home for wayward girls supported by the family of an old school friend. The home now seems to be a place for prostitutes to stay while pregnant and the organization seems to be involved in illicit activities. The head of a crime family wants Susan to be on the board and to date her; his manner of speaking is picturesque. The sister of Susan's school friend has an easily guessed secret. There is a new young ruler of an imaginary Moslem nation who wants to do good but there is a problem, which Miss Melville fixes by the end of the book.
Susan's travels around New York are interesting; I must admit that I've never been in Bloomingdale's in the city.
… (more)
raizel | May 25, 2016 |
Susan Melville grew up the privileged, wealthy daughter of New York blue-bloods, assured of her comfortable place in Society. But it's the 1980s, and the city has changed since Wharton's era. The Melville money is gone and Susan's rent-controlled apartment is being sold out from under her to form condos. In despair, she sneaks into a party with the object of committing suicide. But as she pulls her father's gun from her purse, she questions why she should die and the unscrupulous businessman who bought her building should live. Filled with righteous indignation, she shoots him.

To her surprise, she is hustled out of the room by a young man before anyone even realizes a murder has occurred. He badgers her to tell him who hired her; she is amazed to discover that he is an assassin, and he assumes she is as well. And thus begins Miss Melville's career as a hired killer. No one notices a middle-aged woman in slightly shabby clothes, and years of recreational shooting have given her fantastic aim. Her self-assurred poise and wealthy connections give her just the edge she needs. And to her pleasure, her experiences as an assassin make the many little indignities and annoyances of her former life laughably managable.

But then she starts to wonder if perhaps, she has gotten just a little trigger happy. And besides, she wants to be an artist, not a killer...

Miss Melville is sensible, pragmatic, and extremely snobby in a ladylike sort of way. Her supporting characters are uniquely dotty (if not particularly believable). And 1908s New York is presented with flair and not a little bit of artistic license. A fast, fun read.
… (more)
wealhtheowwylfing | 1 other review | Feb 29, 2016 |

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½ 3.5

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