Ernest Carpenter Elmore (1901-1957) aka John Bude

Ernest Carpenter Elmore (1901–1957) was an English theatre producer and director, and writer of crime and fantasy novels. He wrote his crime novels under the pseudonym John Bude. Elmore was born in Maidstone, Kent in 1901. He attended Mill Hill School until 1919 as a boarder, and then studied at a secretarial college in Cheltenham, before becoming a games master at St Christopher School, Letchworth. While there he also assisted with the school’s dramatic activities. His interest in dramatics led him to join the Lena Ashwell Players as stage manager, touring the country with the company. Much of Elmore’s early writing took place in dressing rooms during his spare time. In 1931 he is known to have been living in the village of Loose, Kent, before returning to Maidstone, where he produced plays for the local dramatic society. There he also met his future wife Betty. They married in Maidstone in 1933 and moved to Beckley, Sussex, where he became a full-time writer. Together Elmore and his wife had a daughter, Jennifer, and a son, Richard.

Elmore writing as John Bude published thirty detective novels between 1935 and his death, with Inspector William Meredith appearing in most of them. Six of his books have since been reprinted by the British Library. Despite the success of the Bude reprints, his other books are still very hard to find. On Guy  Fawkes Night in 1953, Elmore was among the handful of writers who joined John Creasey to found the Crime Writers’ Association at a meeting held in the National Liberal Club.

Elmore died prematurely in Hastings, Sussex on 8 November 1957. In December 2015, Elmore’s photo appeared in The Times of London, along with a lengthy article detailing the success of reprints of his books.

Bibliography: The Cornish Coast Murder (1935); The Lake District Murder (1935); The Sussex Downs Murder (1936); The Cheltenham Square Murder (1937); Loss of a Head (1938); Hand on Alibi (1939); Death of a Cad (1940); Death on Paper (1940); Slow Vengeance (1941); Death Knows No Calendar (1942); Death Deals a Double (1943); Death in White Pyjamas (1944); Death in Ambush (1945); Trouble A-Brewing (1946); Death Makes a Prophet (1947); Dangerous Sunlight (1948); Murder in Montparnasse (1949); A Glut of Red Herrings (1949); Death Steals the Show (1950); The Constable and the Lady (1951); When the Case was Opened (1952); Death on the Riviera (1952); Twice Dead (1953); So Much in the Dark (1954); Two Ends to the Town (1955); A Shift of Guilt (1956); A Telegram from Le Touquet (1956); Another Man’s Shadow (1957); A Twist of the Rope (1958); The Night the Fog Came Down (1958)


(Facsimile Dust Jacket, The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude, Skeffington & Son, Ltd. (UK), 1935)

Never, even in his most optimistic moments, had he visualised a scene of this nature—himself in one arm-chair, a police officer in another, and between them . . . a mystery.” So thinks the Reverend Dodd—vicar of the quiet Cornish village of Boscawen and a reader of detective novels—when an actual mystery unexpectedly lands on his doorstep in The Cornish Coast Murder. Julius Tregarthan, a secretive and ill-tempered magistrate, is found at his house in Boscawen, shot through the head—and the local police investigator is baffled by the complete absence of clues. Fortunately for the inspector, the Reverend Dodd is at hand, ready to put his lifetime of vicarious detecting experience to the test.

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