Woodruff County’s Anita Blackmon wrote more than one thousand short stories and several novels, including mysteries in the “had I but known” school.
Born in Augusta in 1892, Blackmon published her first short stories in 1922 under her married name, Mrs. Harry Pugh Smith, but she would publish her novels using her maiden name. Blackmon’s work was published in Love Story Magazine, Cupid’s Diary and Detective Tales, as well as in serialized versions in the Arkansas Democrat and Arkansas Gazette.
Her first novel, Her Private Devil, shocked many in her hometown with its openness about sexual matters. But she made her mark writing mysteries, such as 1937’s Murder a la Richelieu, which opened with the sentence “Had I suspected the orgy of bloodshed upon which we were about to embark, I should then and there, in spite of my bulk and an arthritic knee, have taken shrieking to my heels.”
She died in on February 23rd, 1943, and is buried in Augusta’s Memorial Park Cemetery. To learn more, visit the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.