Anthony Gilbert (Lucy Beatrice Malleson) [1899 – 1973]

squareAnthony Gilbert was one of four pseudonyms adopted by Lucy Beatrice Malleson, born in Upper Norwood, a suburb of London, on February 15, 1899. Her father was a stockbroker, and she was educated at St. Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith. During World War I, Malleson’s father lost his position, and although her mother urged her to train as a teacher, Malleson learned typing and shorthand so that she could earn an immediate income for the family. From the age of seventeen onward, she wrote verse and short pieces for Punch and various literary weeklies. During her early years as a secretary, she began to produce novels. In 1922, after attending a performance of John Willard’s theatrical hit The Cat and the Canary, she tried her hand at detective fiction but had no success until her first Anthony Gilbert book, The Tragedy at Freyne (1927), was published.

During her long career, Malleson wrote approximately seventy detective novels under the pen name of Anthony Gilbert; those books after 1936 center on the unconventional lawyer-detective Arthur Crook. In 1934, however, Malleson began, under the pseudonym Anne Meredith, a series of inverted detective stories, in which the identity of the murderer is known from the outset. In 1940, she published her only nonfictional work, an autobiography entitled Three-a-Penny, under the Meredith name. She valued her privacy and for many years successfully concealed her identity as the writer of the Gilbert novels. She continued to write radio plays for the British Broadcasting Corporation and published two nondetective books under the additional pseudonyms of Lucy Egerton and J. Kilmeny Keith.

During World War II, Malleson employed her secretarial skills in posts with the Red Cross, the Ministry of Food, and the Coal Association. She never married, and she listed her recreations as reading, theatergoing, and travel. Until the end of her life, she remained a resident of London, extending her familiarity with those small details of metropolitan life that contribute to the liveliness and immediacy of her novels. She died in London on December 9, 1973.

Source: “Lucy Beatrice Malleson – Biography” Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition Ed. Carl Rollyson., Inc. 2008 21 Feb, 2020

Furthermore Curtis Evans has written in his blog The Passing Tramp:  

“Lucy Beatrice Malleson is, by any objective historical standard I believe, one of the most noteworthy English crime novelists who began writing during the Golden Age of detective fiction (c. 1920 to 1939), yet she receives very little notice in genre studies and has been out-of-print for some time. … In the nearly half-century from 1925 to 1973, the year of Malleson’s death, over seventy detective and crime novels by Malleson were published, most of these under what was her by far most famous pseudonym, Anthony Gilbert (she also published two mysteries under the the abortive pseudonym J. Kilmeny Keith and a few important early psychological crime novels –very hard to find– under the name Anne Meredith, the best known of which is Portrait of a Murderer). Although Malleson was not, as is sometimes erroneously stated, a founding member of the Detection Club, she was a very early initiate, joining this august institution in 1933, along with Gladys Mitchell and E. R. Punshon (Margery Allingham would join the next year, John Dickson Carr in 1936). … The sleuth in the Gilbert books from 1936 onward, the earthy, pugnacious, Cockney lawyer Arthur Crook, was considered an original contribution to the great phalanx of fictional detectives.” [A Life of Crime 3: Anthony Gilbert (Lucy Beatrice Malleson) (1899-1973)].

And in his book, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (British Library Publishing, 2017), Martin Edwards wrote:

“Anne Meredith was a pseudonym of Lucy Beatrice Malleson, who had previously published detective fiction as J. Kilmeny Keith, a number of whose books featured a politician-detective called Scott Egerton, and also under the name Anthony Gilbert. Having abandoned an attempt at a thriller, she resolved to venture upmarket and adopt a fresh literary identity for a novel influenced as much by Dostoevsky as by Francis Iles. Yet despite the praise accorded to Portrait of a Murderer, she recognised that ‘the effects of the slump were unlikely to be permanently offset by books modelled, be it ever so faintly, on the works of Russian genius’. She continued to use the Meredith name, not least for her memoir, Three-a-Penny (1940), but ultimately achieve more success as Anthony Gilbert.”

Bibliography (in bold letters the novels that are either in my Kindle or on my wish list)

Scott Egerton detective novels
The Tragedy at Freyne
(1927); The Murder of Mrs Davenport (1928); The Mystery of the Open Window (1930); Death at Four Corners (1929); The Night of the Fog (1930); The Body on the Beam (1932); The Long Shadow (1932); The Musical Comedy Crime (1933); An Old Lady Dies (1934); and The Man Who Was Too Clever (1935).

M. Dupuy detective novels:
The Man in Button Boots
(1934); and Courtier To Death (1936) aka The Dover Train Mystery.

Arthur Crook detective novels: Murder by Experts (1936); The Man Who Wasn’t There (1937); Murder Has No Tongue (1937); Treason in My Breast (1938); The Clock in the Hatbox (1939); The Bell of Death (1939); Dear Dead Woman (1940) aka Death Takes a Redhead; The Vanishing Corpse (1941) aka She Vanished in the Dawn; The Woman in Red (1941) aka The Mystery of the Woman in Red; Something Nasty in the Woodshed (1942) aka Mystery in the Woodshed; The Case of the Tea-Cosy’s Aunt (1942) aka Death in the Blackout; The Mouse Who Wouldn’t Play Ball (1943) aka Thirty Days to Live; He Came by Night (1944) aka Death at the Door; The Scarlet Button (1944) aka Murder Is Cheap; A Spy for Mr Crook (1944); The Black Stage (1945) aka Murder Cheats the Bride; Don’t Open the Door (1945) aka Death Lifts the Latch; The Spinster’s Secret (1946) aka By Hook or by Crook; Death in the Wrong Room (1947); Die in the Dark (1947)  aka The Missing Widow; Lift Up the Lid (1948) aka The Innocent Bottle; Death Knocks Three Times (1949); Murder Comes Home (1950); A Nice Cup of Tea (1950)  aka The Wrong Body; Lady-Killer (1951); Miss Pinnegar Disappears (1952) aka A Case for Mr Crook; Footsteps Behind Me (1953) aka Black Death; Snake in the Grass (1954) aka Death Won’t Wait; Is She Dead Too? (1955) aka A Question of Murder; And Death Came Too (1956); Riddle of a Lady (1956); Give Death a Name (1957); Death Against the Clock (1958); Death Takes a Wife (1959) aka Death Casts a Long Shadow; Third Crime Lucky (1959) aka Prelude to Murder; Out for the Kill (1960); She Shall Die (1961) aka After the Verdict; Uncertain Death (1961); No Dust in the Attic (1962); Ring for a Noose (1963); The Fingerprint (1964); Knock, Knock! Who’s There? (1964) aka The Voice; Passenger to Nowhere (1965); The Looking Glass Murder (1966); The Visitor (1967); Night Encounter (1968) aka Murder Anonymous; Missing from Her Home (1969); Death Wears a Mask (1970) aka Mr.Crook Lifts the Mask; Tenant for the Tomb (1971); Murder is a Waiting Game (1972); A Nice Little Killing (1974).

Non Series books:
The Case Against Andrew Fane
(1931); and Death in the Fancy Dress (1934).

With the Detection Club:
Crime on the Coast and No Flowers by Request

As Anne Meredith:
Portrait of a Murderer
(1933); The Coward (1934); The Gambler (1937); The Showman (1938); The Stranger (1939); The Adventurer (1940); There’s Always Tomorrow (1941) aka Home Is the Heart; The Family Man (1942); Curtain, Mr Greatheart (1943); The Beautiful Miss Burroughes (1945); The Rich Woman (1947); The Sisters (1948); The Draper of Edgecumbe (1950); A Fig for Virtue (1951); Call Back Yesterday (1952); The Innocent Bride (1954); The Day of the Miracle (1955); Impetuous Heart (1956); Christine (1957); A Man in the Family (1959); The Wise Child (1960); and Up Goes the Donkey (1962).

As J Kilmeny Keith: The Man Who Was London (1925); and The Sword of Harlequin (1927)

Read more at Wikipedia

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