Edgar Jepson (1863 – 1938)


OIPEdgar Alfred Jepson (28 November 1863 – 12 April 1938) was an English author. He largely wrote mainstream adventure and detective fiction, but also supernatural and fantasy stories. He sometimes used the pseudonym R. Edison Page. Edgar Jepson was born on 28 November 1863 at Kenilworth, Warwickshire, as the second of five sons and three daughters raised by Alfred and Margaret Jepson. Jepson’s father, a dentist, originally hailed from Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, while his mother was a native of London. Edgar Jepson attended Leamington College for Boys (today North Leamington School and graduated from Balliol College, Oxford. After completing his education, Jepson spent some years living in Barbados, before taking up residence in the King’s Bench Walk area of London, where he began his literary career.

As an author, Jepson used a pseudonym, R. Edison Page, for some of his short stories. In other works he collaborated with such authors as John Gawsworth, Arthur Machen and Hugh Clevely. Jepson was also a translator, notably of the Arsène Lupin stories of Maurice Leblanc. He was a member of the Square Club (from 1908) of established Edwardian authors, and one of the more senior members of the New Bohemians drinking club. He was a good friend of the author Ford Madox Ford. Edgar Jepson died on 12 April 1938 at his home in Hampstead. (Source. Wikipedia)

I repeat here what I said  on my blog entry regarding Robert Eustace (1871–1943). “The Tea Leaf”, Eustace’s late (1925) collaboration with Edgar Jepson, finds him pursuing many of the same themes, some 20 years after his collaboration with Meade ended. There is the same interest in freezing, the same impossible crimes explained through chemistry, the same interest in the geometry of rooms and buildings, the same obsessive characters, and the same brilliant female scientists: here one serves as the detective. The plot of this story has been re-used and summarized so many times it has passed into the folklore of the detective story, so this tale has lost some of the punch it must have originally had. But it is still a very well done story. (Mike Grost  on Robert Eustace).

“The Tea Leaf” by Robert Eustace and Edgar Jepson can be found in several short stories collections, to my knowledge in The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries, Vintage Crime, 2014 edited by Otto Penzler and in Capital Crimes: London Mysteries (British Library Publishing Crime Classics, 2015) edited by Martin Edwards.

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