Ursula Curtiss went on to publish a total of 22 crime novels, becoming one of the best known mid-century American authors in the mystery subgenre then known as "psychological suspense"; yet in the case of Mary McMullen 23 years elapsed before she published her second crime novel, The Doom Campaign, in 1974.
In the dozen years between 1974 and her death in 1986, McMullen published 18 crime or suspense novels, almost catching her sister in terms of quantity. (Neither sister, both of whom passed away in their sixties, lived to catch her mother, who wrote nearly three dozen mysteries.)
Helen Reilly herself was rather a popular American crime novelist for some four decades. Frequently her novels were Doubleday, Doran Crime Club Selections and they were reprinted in paperback from the 1940s into the 1970s, years after the author's death in 1962. No doubt Reilly's personal example and her prestigious name smoothed the publishing path for her daughters, who were themselves quite talented, however.
I thought readers of this blog might be interested in reading this, so here it is, in full:
Growing up under the fond if preoccupied eye of a detective-story writer is calculated to turn even the gentlest of daughters into a hardened character. While other little girls were prattling of their dollies, my three sisters and I were arguing ferociously about the relative merits of strychnine, strangulation or scythe. In addition, we were looked upon as curiosities all through school, for it was common knowledge that, while the other children's mothers were out decently playing bridge, ours was home plotting a crime.
In general, the emotional atmosphere of the house is up and down like the stock market; high when the book is running smoothly, low when it has struck a snag. Solely unaffected are the nine cats; they come and go just as though the motive hasn't been invalidated by an unexpected footnote concerning ballistics on page 793 of Hans Gross, the world-renowned author on firearms.
Reading, a sensitive subject in a writer's household, is Mother's chief diversion, and, ranging widely, returns to Trollope, Jane Austen, Maugham, plays by everybody, and very, very occasionally, when the spirit takes her and her nerves are equal to it, a detective story by SOMEBODY ELSE.