Anthony Wynne (1882 – 1963)


OIPCaptain Robert McNair Wilson MB, ChB (22 May 1882 Maryhill, Glasgow – 29 November 1963 New Forest, Hampshire), was a British surgeon, writer and journalist and Liberal Party politician. Wilson was the son of William Wilson and Helen Turner. He was educated at Glasgow Academy and Glasgow University. On 7th December 1905 in Alnwick, Northumberland he married Winifred Paynter. They had three sons. He then married Doris May Fischel. They had two sons. Wilson was House Surgeon Glasgow Western Infirmary. He was Medical Correspondent of the Times from 1914–1942. He also wrote detective fiction under the pseudonym of Anthony Wynne and a novel under the pseudonym Harry Colindale. (Source: Wikipedia)

Under the pseudonym Anthony Wynne, he wrote a series of twenty-seven detective novels between the years 1925 and 1950.  . . . . Anthony Wynne’s detective novels have been out of print for sixty years, but some retain interest today. Along with John Dickson Carr, Wynne was one of the most prominent Golden Age practitioners of the locked room mystery. Unfortunately, his novels often tend to be overly melodramatic, thinly characterized and humorless, no doubt in part explaining their obscurity today. One of the best Anthony Wynne detective novels, Murder of a Lady (The Silver Scale Mystery in the United States), deserves reprinting, however. Set in Scotland, where Wynne himself grew into adulthood, Murder of a Lady benefits from strong atmosphere (with supernatural overtones), some compelling characters and emotional entanglements, a baffling and suspenseful problem and a plausible enough solution. Keep reading here.

Bibliography: The Mystery of the Evil Eye aka The Sign of Evil (1925); The Double-Thirteen Mystery aka The Double Thirteen (1926); The Horseman of Death (1927); The Mystery of the Ashes (1927); Sinners Go Secretly (short stories) (1927); The Dagger (1928); Red Scar (1928); The Fourth Finger (1929); The Room with the Iron Shutters (1929); The Blue Vesuvius (1930); The Yellow Crystal (1930); Murder of a Lady aka The Silver Scale Mystery (1931); The Silver Arrow aka The White Arrow (1931); The Case of the Green Knife aka The Green Knife (1932); The Case of the Red-Haired Girl aka The Cotswold Case (1932); Murder in Thin Air (1932); The Case of the Gold Coins (1933); The Loving Cup aka Death Out of the Night (1933); Death of a Banker (1934);The Holbein Mystery aka The Red Lady (1935); The Toll-House Murder (1935); Death of a Golfer aka Murder in the Morning (1937); Death of a King aka Murder Calls Dr Hailey (1938); Door Nails Never Die (1939); The House on the Hard (1940); Emergency Exit (1941); Murder in a Church (1942); and Death of a Shadow (1950).

Anthony Wynne’s detective novels have been out of print for sixty years, but some retain interest today. (Curtis Evans). However Murder of a Lady aka The Silver Scale Mystery (1931) has been recently rescued from oblivion by The British Library (2016) and Martin Edwards.

Further reading: Now Before You: The Dagger (1928), by Anthony Wynne, Death of a Banker (1934), by Anthony Wynne, with links to other reviews, and gadetection.

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(Facsimile Dust Jacket, Hutchinson (UK), 1931)

Duchlan Castle is a gloomy, forbidding place in the Scottish Highlands. Late one night the body of Mary Gregor, sister of the laird of Duchlan, is found in the castle. She has been stabbed to death in her bedroom – but the room is locked from within and the windows are barred. The only tiny clue to the culprit is a silver fish’s scale, left on the floor next to Mary’s body. Inspector Dundas is dispatched to Duchlan to investigate the case. The Gregor family and their servants are quick – perhaps too quick – to explain that Mary was a kind and charitable woman. Dundas uncovers a more complex truth, and the cruel character of the dead woman continues to pervade the house after her death. Soon further deaths, equally impossible, occur, and the atmosphere grows ever darker. Superstitious locals believe that fish creatures from the nearby waters are responsible; but luckily for Inspector Dundas, the gifted amateur sleuth Eustace Hailey is on the scene, and unravels a more logical solution to this most fiendish of plots. Anthony Wynne wrote some of the best locked-room mysteries from the golden age of British crime fiction. This cunningly plotted novel – one of Wynne’s finest – has never been reprinted since 1931, and is long overdue for rediscovery. (The British Library Crime Classics).

Murder of a Lady has been reviewed, among others, at Mystery*File, Beneath the Stains of Time, ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’, CrossExamingCrime, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, His Futile Preoccupations …, Northern Reader, The Invisible Event and Vintage Pop Fictions.

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