The Vanishing of Carolyn Wells

The Vanishing of Carolyn Wells with Author Rebecca Rego Barry

Thursday, April 11 at 11 AM


Monday, May 13 at 11 AM

Carolyn Wells (1862–1942) excelled at writing country house and locked-room mysteries for a decade before Agatha Christie entered the scene. In the 1920s, when she was churning out three or more books annually, she was dubbed “about the biggest thing in mystery novels in the US.”

On top of that, Wells wielded her pen in just about every literary genre, producing several immensely popular children’s books and young adult novels; beloved anthologies; and countless stories, prose, and poetry for magazines such as Thrilling Detective, Life, The Saturday Evening Post, Harper’s, and The New Yorker. All told, Wells wrote over 180 books. Some were adapted into silent films, and some became bestsellers. Yet a hundred years later, she has been all but erased from literary history. Why? How?

Part biography and part sleuthing narrative, The Vanishing of Carolyn Wells recovers the life and work of a brilliant writer who was considered one of the funniest, most talented women of her time.

Join author Rebecca Rego Barry and North Hill Resident Phyllis Gibson to learn more about this prolific writer and her mysterious discipline.  Ms. Gibson, a former Wellesley resident for 40 years is a great, great, niece of Carolyn Wells and will interview the author about the book.


About Rebecca Rego Barry

Rebecca Rego Barry is the author of “The Vanishing of Carolyn Wells” (2024) and “Rare Books Uncovered” (2015). She is an award-winning editor, formerly at Fine Books & Collections magazine, and her writing about books and history has appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian, Atlas Obscura, Lit Hub, CrimeReads, Slate, and The Guardian. She lives with her husband and two daughters in New York’s Catskill Mountains, in a home bursting with books.