Mystery Authors of the Golden Age of Mystery Fiction
Mystery Author Index
Lesser Lights of the Golden Age
The Golden Age of mystery novels is taken here to be the period between 1913 and the start of World War II. Many authors are very well known and widely read. They may be found here. Others are less well know, but definitely deserve a reading. You will find information about them on this page. Many of the authors mentioned on this page are being republished by The British Library. Library Thing has a list of this series and conveniently links to Amazon for purchases.
- E. R. Punshon (1872 - 1956) Ernest Robertson Punshon was an English playwrite and writer of detective novels. He wrote a series of mystery novels which featured policeman Bobby Owen who rises in the ranks from constable to commander as the series progresses. His mystery novels are now being reprinted in e-book format by Dean Street Press. More information and a bibliography of his books may be found at the Golden Age of Detection web site and at the Golden Age of Mystery and Detection web site.
- J. J. Connington (1880 - 1947) The pseudonym of Alfred Walter Stewart. Stewart was a chemist who received his education at the Universities of Glasgow, Marburg, and the University College in London. He taught for many years and published several books on chemistry. He wrote his novels late at night after a full day of teaching. His first published book in 1923 was Nordenholt's Million which was a science fiction novel. He published his first two detective novels in 1926. Following these in 1927, he published the first book Murder in the Maze which featured his series detective Sir Clinton Driffield who would appear in many more books. His books are meticulously plotted and show the author's scientific background. Conninton's books have long been out of print, but they are now being reissued by The Murder Room, and may be purchased from Amazon. For more information on Connington, visit the Golden Age of Detection web site.
- Joseph Jefferson Farjeon (1883 - 1955) Farjeon was the grandson of the American actor Joseph Jefferson. Farjeon worked for 10 years for the Amalgamated Press in London before he started writing what is an impressive number of mystery novels. More information and a bibliography of his books may be found at The Golden Age of Detection web site. Farjeon had lapsed into obscurity until recently when the the British Library has included some of his books in their British Library Crime Classic series. His sister Eleanor became a very well know children's novelist.
- Mavis Doriel Hay (1894 - 1979) Mavis Doriel Hay was born in Potters Bar, Middlesex and grew up in a middle class household. She was fascinated by rural crafts, and published Rural Industries of England and Wales with co-author Helen Elizabeth Fitzrandolph. In 1929, she married her co-author's brother Archibald Menzies Fitzrandolph. She wrote only three mystery novels. In 1934, she published Murder Underground in which Miss Eugenia Pongleton was strangled with her dog's leash on the steps of a London tube station. This was followed by Death on the Cherwell and The Santa Klaus Murder. After this, she continued to write books on rural crafts. Her books have been reissued in the British Library Crime Classics series and are available from Amazon. More information may be found at Wikipedia
- Archibald Fielding - Here is a mystery for you. Archibald Fielding wrote more than two dozen mysteries in a career which spanned over twenty years, and nothing is know about him (or her). In his introduction to the The Tall House Mystery, Greg Fowlkes says that the author had "a familiarity with the classics, the arts and music, a working knowledge of French, an appreciation of the finer things of life". An American publisher stated that Fielding was "a middle-aged English woman by the name of Dorothy Feilding whose peacetime address is Sheffield Terrace, Kensington, London." Research shows that there was such a person who disappeared from records in 1937. More about this may be found at the Golden Age of Detection web site. His (her) books are literate, feature Inspector Pointer, and are worth reading. The books have been reissued by Resurrected Press and are available at Amazon.
- John Rhode (1884 - 1964) Rhode was one of the pen names of Cecil John Charles Street who also wrote under the names of Miles Burton and Cecil Waye. Under the Rhode name, he wrote books in which the detective is Dr. Lancelot Priestly who explains how impossible crimes are committed. Rhode was an officer in the British army while he seems to have written four mystery novels each year. More information may be found at the Golden Age of Detection web site. Rhode seems now to be forgotten though many of his books are now available at Amazon.
- Charles Daly King (1895 - 1963) King was born in New York, and educated at Newark Academy and Yale University. He served in the field artillery in World War I. For a short time, he worked in a cotton and wool business, but decided to continue his academic career. He received his Ph. D. in Psychology from Yale. He practiced psychology after this. His detective novels are less than praiseworthy with dull characters but good plots. He published a collection of short stories called The Curious Mr. Tarrant which Ellery Queen called "the most imaginative detective short stories of our time." King stopped writing detective stories at the start of World War II, but continued his psychology practice. A biography and bibliography may be found at the Golden Age of Detection web site.. You may also enjoy reading a review of his novel Obelists at Sea (1932) at the Tipping My Fedora web site.
- Cyril Hare (1900 - 1958) Hare is the pen name of Alfred Alexander Gordon Clark who was born in Mickleham, England. He was educated in a public school, and then went to Oxford where he received degree in history. He then studied law and practiced in a law firm in London. During World War II, he served with the ministry of economic warfare. After the war, he returned to private practice and served as county judge in Surrey. He started writing mystery novels in 1937 with the publication of Tenant for Death. His series characters were Inspector Mallett and Francis Pettigrew who appeared alone or together in five novels. A bibliography of his books may be found at the Golden Age of Detection web site.
- John Bude (1901 - 1957) Ernest Carpenter Elmore was the real name of John Bude. He was born in Kent. He wrote three fantasy novels and worked in the theater as a producer and director. He wrote thirty mystery novels, and the majority of these featured Inspector Meredith who is an extremely meticulous investigator in the best tradition of the police procedural. In 1953, he was one of the founding members of the Crime Writers Association. A bibliography of his books may be found at the Classic Crime Fiction web site. Several of his books have been reissued in the British Library Crime Classics series and are available at Amazon.
- Leo Bruce(1903 - 1979) Leo Bruce is the pseudonym of Rupert Croft-Cooke who was born in Edenbridge, England. He was educated at Tonbridge School and Wellington College. From 1923 to 1926, he attended the University of Buenos Aires. Bruce served in the British army from 1940 to 1946 and earned the British Empire medal. After serving in the army, he worked as a critic for a short time, and them turned to a career in free-lance writing. He wrote a variety of books including three books on cooking, but he is best known for his detective novels. His first mystery novel was Case of Three Detectives in which he introduced middle class Sargent Beef. Eight more mysteries featuring Sargent Beef were written until 1952, when he introduced wealthy university-educated Carolus Deene in the book At Death's Door. Several more Deene novels followed until 1974, when Bruce ceased writing mystery novels. Bruce's novels are in the style of the classic detective story, and his plots are quite clever, however, Bruce also managed to write entertaining mysteries which are parodies of the conventional detective novel. More information and a bibliography of his books may be found at the Golden Age of Detection web site. Several of his books are available at Amazon.
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From the Collins Crime Club archive, the first original novel to feature Ben the Cockney tramp, the unorthodox detective character created by J. Jefferson Farjeon, author of Mystery in White.
Strange things are happening in the untenanted houses of Jowle Street. There are unaccountable creakings and weird knockings on the door of No.29, where a homeless ex-sailor has taken up residence. But even stranger things are happening in the House Opposite, from where a beautiful woman in an evening gown brings Ben a mysterious message; and worse—the offer of a job!
Ben the ‘passing tramp’ was immortalised on film by Alfred Hitchcock in ‘Number 17’, based on a popular ’twenties stage play and novelisation by journalist-turned-author Joe Jefferson Farjeon. The House Opposite (1931) was the first full-length original novel to feature Ben, a reluctant down-at-heels Cockney sleuth, who went on to feature in six more successful detective thrillers from 1931 to 1952.
This Detective Story Club classic includes an introduction by H. R. F. Keating, author of the award-winning Inspector Ghote mysteries, which first appeared in the Crime Club’s 1985 ‘Disappearing Detectives’ series.