T. H. White (1906 – 1964)


3111Terence Hanbury “Tim” White (29 May 1906 – 17 January 1964) was an English author best known for his Arthurian novels, The Once and Future King, first published together in 1958. One of his most memorable is the first of the series, The Sword in the Stone, published as a stand-alone book in 1938. He was born in Bombay, British India, to English parents. White went to Cheltenham College in Gloucestershire, a public school, and Queens’ College, Cambridge, and graduated in 1928 with a first-class degree in English. White then taught at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire for four years before deciding to write full-time. White moved to Ireland in 1939 as a conscientious objector to WWII, and lived out his years there. In 1946, White settled in Alderney, the third-largest Channel Island, where he lived for the rest of his life. White died of heart failure on 17 January 1964 aboard ship in Piraeus, Athens, Greece, en route to Alderney from a lecture tour in the United States.

Further reading: Once and Future by Sadie Stein The Paris Review

Darkness at Pemberly is the only mystery written by T.H. White before he gained fame as the author of The Once and Future King and other Arthurian novels. It was first published in England in 1932, at which time it received excellent reviews. Martin Edwards discusses Darkness at Pemberly at The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.

‘Darkness at Pemberley successfully combines two important story trends of the period: an intellectual puzzle (one of the more ingenious locked-room puzzles of the decade) and an action plot that any of the major mystery story writers of the day would have been proud of. What with these two themes Police Inspector Buller soon finds himself in problems far beyond his depth.

As is to be expected of Mr. White, in addition to the main story there are the countless little touches of imagination that make his work unusual. There is the setting of the first murder, in a university easily recognized as Queen’s College (rather Queens’ College), Cambridge for which the publisher forced Mr. White to insert a disclaimer about the morals (medicinal, homicidal, etc.) of dons. And there is the strange interplay at the country house of Pemberley, where the question perpetually arises, who is trapping whom, detective or criminal?’ (Source: Golden Age of Detection Wiki)

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(Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. V. G. Gollancz (UK), 1932)

Book Description: Police Inspector Buller is called upon to investigate two mysterious deaths in a Cambridge College. The Inspector is able to solve the mystery, but cannot find sufficient evidence to convict the clever murderer. The murderer and Buller are reunited when an attempt is made on the life of Inspector Buller’s host Charles Darcy at the country retreat of Pemberley. The story climaxes when it is discovered that the killer is hiding within the network of large chimneys—and he has abducted the hostess into the gloom with him. T H white described the book as a study in claustrophobia and fear. First Published in 1932. (Source: Ostara Publishing)

Darkness at Pemberly has been reviewed, among others, at Beneath the Stains of Time, Tipping My Fedora, The Invisible Event, the crime segments, My Reader’s Block, and Kate Macdonald.

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