Keith Waters, via the New York Times
Consider this copy of By Myself that is signed by its author, the actress Lauren Bacall. The inscription is on the flyleaf and reads, "For Georgann--Much love in 'health'--Betty, St. Pete's Beach." Who was Betty? Who was Georgann? Why did Betty reference Georgann's health? Is St. Pete's Beach a clue?
To the uninformed, it is not even clear that this is an authorial inscription. Many authors sign books on the title page and cross through their typed names to indicate a signed copy. The flyleaf, by contrast, is typically a location in which one might find a third party gift inscription by someone unrelated to production of the book. To conclude this copy might be signed by Bacall, one is required to know that her familiar name was "Betty." [See "Elizabeth and Her Court."]
The next step was to determine the meaning of the inscription and the identity of the recipient. This required less than ten minutes. Georgann is an uncommon name, particularly that spelling variation. An Internet search of "Lauren Bacall" and "Georgann" revealed that there is an actress named Georgann Johnson. Johnson was one of the players in the Robert Altman ensemble film HealtH in which Bacall starred. The movie was made in 1979, the same year By Myself was released. Moreover, it was filmed entirely on location at the Don CeSar Hotel, located in St. Petersburg Beach, the same city Bacall references in her inscription.
Bacall's words then became clear. The word "health" in quotations is obviously a reference to the movie they were filming together, HealtH.
Mystery solved. Next case, please.