Dolores Hitchens
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Dolores Hitchens
Dolores Hitchens
BornJulia Clara Catherine Maria Dolores Robins
(1907-12-25)December 25, 1907
Texas, U.S.
DiedAugust 1, 1973(1973-08-01) (aged 65)
Orange County, California
Pen nameD. B. Olsen
Dolan Birkley
Noel Burke
Notable worksFool's Gold (1958)
The Watcher (1959)
Years active1938-1973
Beverley S. Olsen
(m. 1934)

Hubert A. Hitchens

Julia Clara Catherine Maria Dolores Robins Norton Birk Olsen Hitchens[1] (December 25, 1907 in [2]San Antonio, Texas - August 1, 1973 in Orange County, California),[3] better known as Dolores Hitchens, was an American mystery novelist who wrote prolifically from 1938 until her death. She also wrote as D. B. Olsen, a version of her first married name,[4] and under the pseudonyms Dolan Birkley and Noel Burke.[4]

Hitchens collaborated on five railroad mysteries--"police procedurals about a squad of railroad cops"--with her second husband, Bert Hitchens, a railroad detective.[4] She also branched out into other genres including Western fiction. Many of her mystery novels centered on a spinster character named Rachel Murdock.

Hitchens wrote Fool's Gold, the 1958 novel adapted by Jean-Luc Godard for his film Bande à part (Band of Outsiders, 1964). Her novel The Watcher was adapted for an episode of the TV series Thriller which aired November 1, 1960.


Dolores was born in Texas on Christmas Day in 1907. She was the daughter of W.H. Robbins and Myrtle Statham, who married in Caldwell County, Texas in 1901.[5] In 1910, Dolores (as Julia C. Robbins) and her apparently widowed mother were living with Dolores's paternal grandfather in San Antonio.[6]

Sometime over the next decade, Dolores's mother married a second time, to an unknown Norton, but she was divorced by the time mother and daughter showed up in the 1920 census for Kern County, California.[7]

Myrtle married a third time in 1922, to Oscar Carl Birk, aka Arthur.[8] The Birk family was living in Long Beach by 1930 and Dolores apparently assumed her stepfather's surname.[9]

Dolores married in about 1934, to Beverley S. Olsen, a radio operator on a merchant vessel, and their 1940 household included the widowed Myrtle Birk.[10]

It is not known whether Dolores divorced Olsen or was widowed, but she apparently married Hubert A. Hitchens by the early 1940s, as they had a child together in 1942.[11] Dolores died in Orange County, California on August 1, 1973,[3] and Hubert died in Riverside County in 1979.[12]


As Dolores Hitchens

Jim Sader mysteries
  1. Sleep with Strangers (Doubleday: [a]The Crime Club, 1955); U.K. edition, London: Macdonald, 1956
  2. Sleep with Slander (Doubleday CC, 1960); UK: London: T.V. Boardman & Co., 1961, American Bloodhound Mystery no. 345
Simon & Schuster issued trade paperback editions in 1989 (Sleep with Strangers, ISBN 0-671-65286-9; Sleep with Slander, ISBN 0-671-65285-0).
By Dolores and Bert Hitchens
  • F.O.B. Murder (Doubleday [a]CC, 1955); UK: 1957, American Bloodhound no. 154
  • One-Way Ticket (Doubleday CC, 1956); UK: 1958, American Bloodhound no. 193
  • End of Line (Doubleday CC, 1957); UK: 1958, American Bloodhound. no. 216
  • The Man Who Followed Women (Doubleday CC, 1959); UK: 1960, American Bloodhound no. 332
  • The Grudge (Doubleday, 1963); UK: 1964, American Bloodhound. no. 466
Standalone books
  • Stairway to an Empty Room (Doubleday [a]CC, 1951)
  • Nets to Catch the Wind (Doubleday CC, 1952) -- also Widows Won't Wait (NY: Dell Publishing, 1954)
  • Terror Lurks in Darkness (Doubleday CC, 1953)
  • Beat Back the Tide (Doubleday CC, 1954); UK: Macdonald, 1955 -- abridged as The Fatal Flirt (NY: Joseph W. Ferman, Bestseller mystery no. 184)
  • Fool's Gold (Doubleday CC, 1958); UK: 1958, American Bloodhound no. 234
  • The Watcher (Doubleday, 1959); UK: 1959, American Bloodhound. no. 279
  • Footsteps in the Night (Doubleday CC, 1961); UK: 1961, American Bloodhound no. 366
  • The Abductor (Simon & Schuster, 1962); UK: 1962, American Bloodhound no. 385
  • The Bank with the Bamboo Door (Simon & Schuster, 1965); UK: 1965, American Bloodhound no. 504
  • The Man Who Cried All the Way Home (Simon & Schuster, 1966); UK: London: Robert Hale, 1967
  • Postscript to Nightmare (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1967) ISBN 0-399-10647-2; UK title, Cabin of Fear (Michael Joseph, 1968)
  • A Collection of Strangers (Putnam, 1969) ISBN 2-7201-0046-3; UK title, Collection of Strangers (Macdonald, 1970)
  • The Baxter Letters (Putnam, 1971) ISBN 0-399-10073-3; UK: Hale, 1973
  • In a House Unknown (Doubleday CC, 1973) ISBN 0-385-03265-X; UK: Hale, 1974
  • A Cookie for Henry: one-act play for six women (NY: Samuel French, 1941), as Dolores Birk Hitchens

As D. B. Olsen

Rachel Murdock mysteries
  1. Cat Saw Murder (Doubleday, 1939)
  2. Alarm of Black Cat (Doubleday, 1942)
  3. Catspaw for Murder (Doubleday, 1943); aka Cat's Claw
  4. The Cat Wears a Noose (Doubleday, 1944)
  5. Cats Don't Smile (Doubleday, 1945)
  6. Cats Don't Need Coffins (Doubleday, 1946)
  7. Cats Have Tall Shadows (Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, 1948)
  8. The Cat Wears a Mask (Doubleday, 1949)
  9. Death Wears Cat's Eyes (Doubleday, 1950)
  10. Cat and Capricorn (Doubleday, 1951)
  11. The Cat Walk (Doubleday, 1953)
  12. Death Walks on Cat Feet (Doubleday, 1956)
Prof. A. Pennyfeather mysteries
  1. Shroud for the Bride (Doubleday, 1945); aka Bring the Bride a Shroud
  2. Gallows for the Groom (Doubleday, 1947)
  3. Devious Design (Doubleday, 1948)
  4. Something About Midnight (Doubleday, 1950)
  5. Love Me in Death (Doubleday, 1951)
  6. Enrollment Cancelled (Doubleday, 1952); aka Dead Babes in the Wood
Lt. Stephen Mayhew mysteries
  1. The Clue in the Clay (New York: Phoenix Press, 1938) - her first book published under any name; also NY: Bartholomew House, 1946, A Bart House Mystery no. 35, ASIN B000HU0N64
  2. Death Cuts a Silhouette (Doubleday, 1939)

As Dolan Birkley

  • Blue Geranium (Bartholomew House, 1944)
  • The Unloved (Doubleday, 1965)

As Noel Burke


  1. ^ a b c "Published for The Crime Club by Doubleday."


  1. ^
  2. ^ "California, Death Index, 1940-1997," database, ( accessed 12 April 2015); Dolores M. Hitchens, 25 December 1907 in Texas – 1 August 1973 in Orange County.
  3. ^ a b Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nev.), 8 August 1973, p. 31, col. 3, digital images,; "Word was received in Reno of the death of Dolores Hitchens, 65, a former Reno resident. Mrs. Hitchens died in an Orange County hospital in California Aug. 1. She was a graduate of UCLA with a teaching degree. Surviving are her daughter, Patricia Capettelli (sic) of Huntington Beach, Calif., son, Michael Hitchens, of Orange County and her mother, Myrtle Birk of Reno. A funeral and burial were held Saturday in Orange County."
  4. ^ a b c "Ziff-Davis Fingerprint Mysteries", or "A Complete Set of Fingerprints". Bill Pronzini, Victor Berch & Steve Lewis. March 8 (2006?). MYSTERY*FILE: The Crime Fiction Research Journal ( Copyright 2003-2006. With March 11 footnote to section D. B. Olsen.[1] Retrieved 2014-04-08.
  5. ^ "Texas, Marriages, 1837-1973," database, FamilySearch ( accessed 4 April 2014); Caldwell County, 15 November 1901, W.H. Robbins and Myrtle Statham.
  6. ^ 1910 U.S. census, Bexar County, Texas, population schedule, San Antonio, enumeration district (ED) 0017, sheet 11B, p. 264B, dwelling 206, family 228, Myrtle Robbins, age 27, and Julia C. Robbins, age 2, in the household of J.G. Statham; digital images,, citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1531.
  7. ^ 1920 U.S. census, Kern County, California, population schedule, McKittrick, enumeration district (ED) 108, sheet 4A, p. 91 (stamped), dwelling 95, family 96, Julia Norton, 12, in household of Myrtle Norton, 36, divorced; digital images,, citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 100.
  8. ^ "California, County Marriages, 1850-1952," digital images, FamilySearch; 5 August 1922, Orange County. Oscar Carl Birk, age 36, born Kansas, single, Oil Worker; father, William Birk, born [illegible]; mother, Mary House or Hanse, born Mo. Myrtle Robbins Norton, age 36, born in Texas, divorced; maiden name, Myrtle Statham; father, John Statham, born in Florida; mother, Annie Starr, born in Miss.
  9. ^ 1930 U.S. census, Los Angeles County, California, population schedule, Long Beach, enumeration district (ED) 1131, sheet 9A, p. 29 (stamped), dwelling 218, family 280, J. Delores Birk, 22, in the household of Arthur and Myrtle Birk; digital images,, citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 130.
  10. ^ 1940 U.S. census, Los Angeles County, population schedule, Long Beach, enumeration district (ED) 59-137, sheet 11B, p. 1014B, visited no. 316, Myrtle Birk, Mother-in-law, in the household of Beverley S. and Dolores B. Olsen; digital images,, citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 370. In this census, Dolores was identified as a writer who worked from home.
  11. ^ "California Birth Index, 1905-1995," database,; father's name Hitchens, mother's name Birk. No further information is provided here as it is not known whether this child is still living.
  12. ^ "California, Death Index, 1940-1997," database,; Hubert Allen Hitchens, born on 21 June 1897 in Virginia and died on 3 April 1979 in Riverside County.

External links

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