Dol Bonner

Created by Rex Stout
(1886-1975)

One of the first female eyes to make it to a novel. Before he struck it rich with Nero Wolfe, Rex Stout experimented with a few other private eyes, including no-nonsense THEOLINDA “DOL” BONNER, a young socialite whose family’s fortune was wiped out in the Depression. Not overly fond of men, it seems, although she does have a soft spot for her spoiled kid brother. She runs Bonner and Raffray, Inc., a detective agency in pre-war New York City. And Dol’s not shy about gunplay.

Although her only solo adventure was 1937’s The Hand in the Glove, Stout must have been fond of her, because she showed up now and then in the Wolfe books to lend a hand (evidently, she’s one of the few women Wolfe can tolerate), as well as teaming up with another Stout eye, Tecumseh Fox, in 1940’s Bad For Business. Throughout her career, she goes through several partners and assistants, starting with Sylvia Raffray, the naive Amy Duncan in Bad For Business and eventually, in the Wolfe books, Sally Colt (aka Corbett).

In 1992, looking for a vehicle for Crystal Bernard (of the sitcom Wings), NBC dusted off the rights to The Hand In The Glove and made a TV flick, moving the setting up a few years to World War II, and relocating the whole she-bang to Los Angeles. According to People Magazine, it was an “uninvolving and ludicrously unconvincing…turkey.” Sigh…

NOVELS

  • The Hand in the Glove (1937; aka “Crime On Her Hands”)

TELEVISION

  • LADY AGAINST THE ODDS
    (1992, NBC)
    First aired April 20, 1992)
    Based (loosely) on The Hand in the Glove by Rex Stout
    Starring Crystal Bernard as DOL BONNER
    Also starring Annabeth Gish, Dan Castellaneta, Polly Bergen
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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