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Johnson, Sam. Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was a canonical English author, compiler of the first significant dictionary of the English language, and subject of the most famous biography yet written. “Lillian de la Torre,” the pseudonym of Lillian McCue, made Johnson a detective in twenty-nine stories in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and four novels and short story collections between 1943 and 1990, beginning with “The Great Seal of England” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Nov. 1943).

In a richly-detailed 18th century London Johnson’s friend Boswell and Johnson solve various murders, beginning in 1784 when the Great Seal of England is stolen. Johnson takes the lead, becoming what Boswell calls “my friend Dr. Sam: Johnson, detector of crime and chicane,” and Boswell (who Johnson calls “Bozzy”) becomes Johnson’s Watson. Johnson uses logic, deduction, and occasionally intuition to solve the crimes.

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