Lord Gorell (1884 – 1963)

descarga (1)Ronald Gorell Barnes, 3rd Baron Gorell, was a British peer, Liberal politician and newspaper editor. Gorell was the second son of John Gorell Barnes, 1st Baron Gorell, a Judge of the High Court of Justice. He succeeded as third Baron Gorell in 1917 after his elder brother was killed in the First World War and took his seat on the Liberal benches in the House of Lords. In July 1921 he was appointed Under-Secretary of State for Air in the coalition government of David Lloyd George, an office he held until the government fell in October 1922. He was later Editor of the Cornhill Magazine from 1933 to 1939. He was co-President of the Detection Club with Agatha Christie from 1956 to 1963. It is said that he provided a model for Lord Peter Wimsey in the books by Dorothy L. Sayers, who referred to him as ‘Lord Sheep’. His series characters were Superintendent Hebden and Joe Dust, an American PI operating in Britain. Lord Gorell married Maud Elizabeth Furse Radcliffe (1886 – 1954), eldest daughter of Alexander Nelson Radcliffe and Isabel Grace Henderson, in 1922. He died in May 1963, aged 79, and was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son Timothy John Radcliffe Barnes. (Source: Gold Age of Detection Wiki, from Wikipedia).

Bibliography: In the Night (1917), DEQ (1922), Venturers All (1927), The Devouring Fire (1928), He Who Fights (1928), Devil’s Drum (1929), Red Lilac (1935), Wild Thyme and other stories (1941), Murder at Mavering (1943), Luck and other new stories (1948), Let Not Thy Left Hand (1949), Earl’s End (1951), Where There’s a Head (1952), and Murder at Manor House (1954)

1e318254-cc45-4ca4-be17-d6f2b602db39Martin Edwards in The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (2017) tells us, regarding Lord Gorell’s In the Night (1917), that, “oddly neglected by many historian of the genre, is an early example of fair.play detective fiction. Lord Gorell sets out his manifesto in the foreword: “Every essential fact is related as it is discovered and readers are, as far as possible, given the eyes of the investigators and equal opportunities with them of arriving at the truth.”’ To conclude by saying: ‘In the Night remains, however, his most significant contribution to the genre.’

JMaxfield, an Amazon reviewer here, includes the following words from the first edition foreword: ‘This tale of mystery must be regarded as a diversion from war, a word which does not occur in its pages. It was planned in a base-hospital in France, and written during recovery at home; if it serves to interest for an hour or two those similarly place and those still in the trenches, its existence is amply justified.
It tries, at any rate, to deal fairly with its readers, who are not called upon to admire cleverness of deduction they are prevented from performing for themselves. Nothing is more irritating, and more common, in tales of the investigation of crime, than to find such sentences as “the great detective rose from his knees and put away his magnifying-glass with a self-satisfied air,” and not be told what he saw to make him self-satisfied. In the following pages, therefore, every essential fact is related as it is discovered and readers are, as far as possible, given the eyes of the investigators and equal opportunities with them of arriving at the truth.’

In the Night has been reviewed, among others, at ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’

To be honest, I’m not very keen in this book unless I can find it at a decent price, something that doesn’t seem likely at present. But, paraphrasing Curtis Evans, I’ll be all up for its reprinting.

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