Author Doris Miles Disney placed her creation, postal inspector David Madden at the center of three novels: Unappointed Rounds, 1956, which has Madden investigate the murder of a Connecticut letter carrier; Black Mail, 1958, features a young woman tormented by a series of obscene letters; and Mrs. Meeker’s Mail. Author Kendell Foster Crossen, writing under the pseudonym Clay Richards, also penned a trio of postal inspector mysteries, The Marble Jungle, 1961; Death of an Angel, 1963, which features an inspector investigating a mail bombing; and Who Steals My Name, 1965, pits Inspector Blake Morgan against a forger. Anne Wingate wrote about a postal inspector investigating murders in Texas Darling Corey’s Dead, 1984, using her Martha G. Webb pseudonym.
One of the most complex postal inspector mystery novels has to be Nature of Midnight, written by Robert Rice in 2003. Rice blends the tale of three undelivered letters from 1918 and the murder of a Montana postal worker in 2000 into a compelling mystery. Along with Rice, the novels by authors Carter Elliott (Riding a Blue Horse, 2003) and Jonathan Lowe (Postmarked for Death, 2011) demonstrate that postal inspectors continue to make riveting characters in mystery novels in the 21st century.
Postal inspectors were a natural subject for the gritty mid-20th century crime films. One of these, Appointment with Danger from 1951 told the tale of a postal inspector played by Alan Ladd hunting down his partner’s killer. The only person who can help him is, of course, a beautiful nun. An interesting side note for film buffs are two of the film’s wicked villains are played by none other than those future stoic cops Jack Webb and Harry Morgan of Dragnet fame. The Showtime network featured The Inspectors in 1998. In this film, Louis Gossett Jr. and Jonathan Silverman starred as postal inspectors working a case based on real events. The original crime involved a 1991 mail bombing that killed a suburban couple in Alaska. Two years later the pair returned for The Inspectors 2: A Shred of Evidence. This time the inspectors tracked down a con man who steals credit card offers from mailboxes and goes on buying sprees with the ill-gotten cash.
These are just some of the places you can find postal inspectors in novels and film. Do you know of some other novels or films that feature postal inspectors? Let us know!