Over the years the Evening News published short stories by a
variety of different authors. Although there were many writers who wrote only a few short
stories for the newspaper, a substantial group of authors contributed their work on a
regular basis. Among this latter group were the likes of Eric Allen, Rearden Conner, C. T.
Stoneham, Philip Neville, Colin Howard and Paul Feakes, each of whom had their work
published in the newspaper over a period of several decades. The regular contributors to
the Evening News were made up of various writers who came from all walks of life.
Some of these were noted professional authors whose names will be familiar to many readers
today (such as Ursula Bloom and John Creasey), while others wrote on a part-time basis.
The main purpose of this section of the website is to provide some background information
on these authors. I am concentrating here on those authors who were published the most
often in the newspaper, regardless of the level of fame they achieved outside of their
work for the Evening News. The biographical notes (and photographs) that appear
on this webpage are taken from a variety of sources including issues of the newspaper from
the 1960s, when the editors often provided readers with brief author profiles alongside
the stories themselves. The authors are listed below in alphabetical order.
Eric Allen (1908-1968) Eric Allen was a pseudonym of the writer Eric
Allen-Ballard, who was born in London in 1908. Allen was a versatile author who
began writing in 1939, going on to contribute countless stories and articles to numerous
periodicals including Weekend, the Evening Standard, Illustrated,
Magpie, The Star, Answers and Collins Young Elizabethan.
His 236 stories for the Evening News appeared from 1940 to 1968. Allen penned a
series of excellent thriller novels which include Perilous Passport (1958) and The
Man Who Chose Death (1959). He travelled extensively in Africa and the Mediterranean
with his wife and daughter. Some of his travel experiences were documented in his book How
Many Miles to Cyprus (1955). In addition to all this, he also wrote children's books
and plays for radio and television. A number of his radio scripts were gathered together
in the aptly titled book collection Eric Allen's Broadcast Stories (1947).
Trevor Allen For years Allen worked in Fleet Street both as a reporter
and magazine editor, before turning freelance. His short stories and articles were
particularly frequent in Tit-Bits magazine during the 1950s. Other stories and
articles by Allen appeared in the Evening Standard, John O'London's Weekly
and Blighty. Allen had 80 of his stories published in the Evening News
between 1935 and 1979. Many of Allen's Evening News stories during the 1930s
formed part of his "Noise Merchants" series about the curious antics of a group
of cockney musicians. Allen also authored many books, both fact and fiction. His
novels include Jade Elephants (1934) and We Loved in Bohemia (1953).
Clay Allison (1914-1978) Clay Allison was a nom-de-plume of the
writer Henry John Keevil, who was born in 1914 in Leicester, England. As a
young man Keevil worked as a policeman, truck driver and electrician before settling in
Guildford, Surrey with his wife and two daughters. He served for a time in the Coldstream
Guards and trained recruits during World War Two. As well as writing as Clay Allison,
Keevil wrote under a variety of other pennames including Burt Alvord, Virgil Earp, Wes
Harding and Mark Reno. Under these and other pseudonyms he wrote a series of western
novels among which were He Rode Alone (1963), Gunsmoke Over Wyoming
(1964) and Stagecoach to Fremont (1965). Interestingly, Keevil was said to have
been an expert on American frontier history. The pseudonyms he used were in fact the names
of real people of the old Wild West. As Clay Allison he contributed 77 stories to the Evening
News between 1960 and 1977. Other stories appeared in Tit-Bits, Parade,
Woman's Realm, John O'London's Weekly, Weekend, Argosy
and The New Strand.
D. H. Barber (1907- ) Born in Hampstead in 1907, Donald Herbert Barber was
educated at Merchant Taylors' in Charterhouse-Square. After a brief career as a bank clerk
he decided to become an author, although he also served as a soldier and was several times
a parliamentary candidate. He lived in a converted cottage in Ludlow, Shropshire. Barber
wrote several novels set in Ludlow. These included And Ludlow Fair Again (1963)
and God and Tony Clee (1964). His 116 stories for the Evening News were
published between 1947 and 1968. He also contributed stories and articles to The Star,
London Opinion, John O'London's Weekly, Answers, The
Saturday Evening Post and The Humorist. Barber's non-fiction books include An
English Family at Home (1947), Twenty Years of Freelancing (1947) and Voluntary
Work With Boys (1946), the latter title no doubt connected to his experience as a
scout master in the East End of London.
Ursula Bloom (1892-1984) Ursula Bloom was born in Chelmsford, Essex on December
11, 1892, the daughter of a parson. She was brought up in Whitchurch near
Stratford-on-Avon and married a young army captain during the First World War. The couple
had a son, Philip (Pip was her nickname for him), but she was widowed in 1918. A few years
later she married a naval officer, Charles Robinson, with whom she spent most of her life,
travelling with him to various European destinations depending on where his ship was based
at the time. For many years, however, Bloom resided in London (she lived through the
Blitz, at one time bombed out of her Chelsea home) and was also a famous resident of
Frinotn-on-Sea for a period of her life. A voracious reader, Bloom began writing at a very
early age, and entered the field of journalism in the 1920s, contributing pieces to Pearson's
Weekly and Tit-Bits, among other magazines. At the same time she began
writing novels (sometimes serialised in newspapers) for the London-based publisher
Hutchinsons. Her first major novel, The Great Beginning, was published in book
form in 1924. Some of her early jobs on Fleet Street were to edit an agony aunt
(sobsister) column, as well as being commisoned to write numerous poetic couplets on the
theme of social graces and etiquette for Home Chat magazine. This last was called
"Poetiquette," and Bloom admitted later she hated this job! In the 1930s and 40s
she was the beauty editor of Women's Own magazine and a staff writer for the Sunday
Pictorial. After the war she obtained a job as a crime reporter for the Empire
News and Sunday Dispatch under the editorship of Charles Eade at Northcliffe House;
among her credits in this capacity was the tracking down and interviewing of Dr. Crippen's
lover, Ethel Le Neve, many years after Crippen was hanged for the murder of his wife. Over
the decades Bloom became an amazingly prolific author, with over 500 books to her credit.
Although perhaps best known as a romantic novelist, it should be noted (and I say this as
a fan of her work) a good number of her novels were not predominantly romances at all. She
also penned a number of plays for stage and radio, non-fiction books, and several
biographical and autobiographical works. Her book Mistress of None (1933) was a
particularly fascinating account of her life. Among her best-selling novels were The
Rose of Norfolk (1964) and Secret Lover (1931). A number of her books were
written under the pennames Sheila Burns, Deborah Mann and Rachel Harvey. For her
historical novels she used the pseudonym Lozania Prole. Bloom's many short stories and
articles appeared in Tit-Bits, Weekend, John O'London's Weekly,
The Star, The Passing Show, Woman's Realm and other
periodicals. She contributed 87 stories to the Evening News between 1939 and
1971. She died in 1984 at the age of 91. An informative webpage about Bloom can be found
Eleanor Burford (1906-1993) Born in Kensington, Eleanor Alice Burford
Hibbert, to give her her full married name, contributed dozens of short stories to the Evening
News and Daily Mail in the 1930s and '40s. Her stories also appeared in The
Star, Woman's Realm and Ladies Home Journal. Burford went on to
become a prolific and best-selling author who across a period of four decades wrote over
180 historical novels under a variety of pseudonyms. A substantial number of her novels
were written as Jean Plaidy, while others appeared under the pen-names Victoria Holt,
Phillipa Carr and Elbur Ford. Burford penned several sequences of interconnected novels;
historical sagas and gothic romances that were immensely popular among readers. Some of
these remain in print to this day. It has been noted that those who read her novels under
one pseudonym may have been entirely unaware of the books she wrote under different names.
Be that as it may, fans of her work continue to enjoy her many books in the years since
her death in 1993.
A. M. Burrage (1889-1956) The son of a successful author, Alfred McLelland
Burrage had his first story published when he was still in his teens. Burrage served in
the British Army in World War One, and saw action at Passchendaele. His experiences in the
trenches were vividly recollected in his book War is War (1930). Despite this,
Burrage was known primarily for his many weird and supernatural stories. These were
published in numerous periodicals including The Passing Show, Munsey's, Happy
Mag., John O'London's Weekly, Argosy, Chums, The Star,
Answers, The Vanguard Library and The Weekly Tale-Teller. His
short fiction has been extensively collected in such volumes as Some Ghost Stories
(1927) and Someone in the Room (1931). Several of his writings were published
under the pseudonym "Ex-Private X." Burrage also wrote a few novels, including Seeker
to the Dead (1942). His Evening News stories, of which there were dozens,
appeared from 1933 to 1957.
Mark Byrne A real mystery man. I have been unable to
trace any information whatsoever about Byrne. He contributed 60 stories to the Evening
News in the 1940s, but I am unaware of his having stories published elsewhere. He
didn't appear to write any novels, plays or non-fiction. It may be that Mark Byrne was a
pseudonym - but who knows?
John Newton Chance (1911-1983) Born in Streatham Hill in 1911, Chance served as
an R.A.F. pilot during World War Two. Although he was at one time a publican, he was said
to prefer writing for his living. A prolific author, Chance was best known for his many
mystery novels, the first of which was Wheels in the Forest (1935). Under the
penname John Lymington he wrote numerous science fiction novels, including Night of
the Big Heat (1959) and The Year Dot (1972). Some of his other work was
written under the pseudonyms Jonathan Chance, John Drummond and David C. Newton. His short
stories and articles were published in The Star, London Mystery Magazine,
The Thriller, Boy's Own Paper and numerous other magazines. He
contributed 62 stories to the Evening News between 1936 and 1968. The Night
Spiders, a collection of his short fiction, appeared in 1964.
F. Keston Clarke (1902- ) Frank Keston Clarke was born in Fulham in 1902
and brought up in Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire, where he once worked as a farmer's boy.
Clarke eventually settled in Kingston-on-Thames where he lived with his wife and two
daughters. Although he was a writer since childhood, he became a professional freelance
author in 1937, after various careers as an engineer, boatman, clerk, lecturer and
alderman. Clarke was an extraordinarily prolific writer of short stories. His varied
output appeared in such periodicals as John Bull, Tit-Bits, Illustrated,
Blighty, the Evening Standard, The Star, Weekend, The
Humorist, Answers, John O'London's Weekly, London Opinion
and Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine. He opened his Evening News account
in 1938, and over the next forty years wrote a total of 243 stories for the newspaper, 75
of which appeared under the pseudonym Fred Westerham.
Rearden Conner (1905-1991) Patrick Rearden Conner was born in Dublin
in 1905 was educated at Presentation College in Cork. He is best known for writing a
series of superb historical novels set in his home country. His most famous novel, Shake
Hands with the Devil (1934), was set in Ireland during the troubles of the early
1920s and was made into a film starring James Cagney in 1959. His autobiographical work, A
Plain Tale from the Bogs, was published in 1937. Conner's short fiction, articles and
book reviews appeared in magazines and newspapers such as The Fortnightly Review,
The Star, John O'London's Weekly, the Johannesburg Sunday
Times, Irish Bookman, Men Only, the Toronto Star, Lilliput
and The New Strand. His wrote 188 stories for the Evening News; his work
appearing in the newspaper from 1937 to 1980.
John Creasey (1908-1973) An extraordinarily prolific crime and mystery author,
John Creasey wrote over 500 books (under a variety of pseudonyms) in a writing career that
spanned over forty years. Born into a large working class family in Southfields in 1908,
Creasey was educated in London. After leaving school he held various clerical, manual and
sales jobs during the 1920s and '30s while trying to become a full-time writer. His first
novel, The Missing Monoplane, was published in 1930. Countless novels followed,
with Creasey's fame as a crime and mystery writer increasing. Amongst all his many novels
and short stories various series characters emerged, the most famous of which are The Toff
and Gideon of Scotland Yard. He founded the British Crime Writer's Association in 1953,
and continued his huge output in the years that followed. He even had a fiction magazine
named after him, the highly collectible The Creasey Mystery Magazine which ran in
the 1950s and '60s. By the early 1970s sales of his books had rocketed to over 80 million
copies. His work has been adapted to film and television many times. Creasey's 60 Evening
News stories, some of which he wrote as J. J. Marric, appeared between 1948 and 1965.
Other stories appeared often in the magazines John Bull, Reveille,
Weekend, The Thriller and The New Strand as well as in the Evening
Standard. Creasey was married four times and settled in the Wiltshire countryside,
although he travelled widely throughout his life and was familiar with much of the U.S.A.
He died on June 9, 1973. More information about John Creasey can be found at this webpage:
J. Jefferson Farjeon (1883-1955) Joseph Jefferson Farjeon was born in London on
June 4, 1883. He came from a literary family. His father was the famous author Benjamin
Farjeon (1838-1903), his brother Herbert Farjeon was a playwright, and his sister Eleanor
Farjeon was a noted children's author. Farjeon was educated at Peterborough Lodge and
worked as a journalist for the Amalgamated Press from 1910 to 1920. He penned over eighty
novels in a long and distinguished career as a writer of mystery and detective fiction.
Among his novels are Mountain Mystery (1939), Fancy Dress Ball (1938), Prelude
to Crime (1948) and Death of a World (1950). Farjeon also wrote stage plays
and contributed hundreds of short stories to various periodicals, including Weekend, Flynn's,
London Opinion, The Red Magazine, The Thriller, The
Humorist and MacKill's Mystery Magazine. He contributed dozens of stories to
the Evening News between 1935 and 1954.
John Farrimond (1913- ) Farrimond was born into a mining family in
Hindley, Lancashire on August 9, 1913. He was himself a coal miner for over forty years,
although from 1939 onwards he supplemented his income through writing. In later years he
worked a school caretaker. Farrimond remained in Hindley throughout his life, where he
lived with his wife and son. His stories were published regularly in the Evening News
between 1961 and 1973. Some of his short fiction also appeared in Weekend
magazine. His novels include Dust in My Throat (1963), Kill Me a Priest
(1965) and The Hills of Heaven (1978), which was adapted into a mini-series by
the B.B.C. Other stories and plays by Farrimond were also broadcast on B.B.C. television
Paul Feakes (1898-1985) William George Payne, who wrote short
stories under the by-line Paul Feakes, was born on November 20, 1898, the son of a
policeman. The youngest of three children, he was formally educated at St. Michaels
Primary School, where he is said to have won a scholarship at the age of ten, and later
attended Emanuel School in Wandsworth, before serving in the Royal Navy during World War
I. Although Feakes had a long career in foreign banking, he was a freelance writer from
the early 1920s. He lived with his wife and two daughters (one a pianist, the other a
journalist) in the Southgate, Winchmore Hill and Palmers Green areas of North London from
the early 1950s onwards. Feakes contributed a total of 397 stories to the Evening News
between 1941 and 1979, making him the author who had more stories published in the
newspaper than any other. Although he arrived on the scene a few years after many of his
contemporaries, by the summer of 1942 he had established himself as an Evening News
regular. However, it should be noted here that in the 1960s the editors of the Evening
News repeatedly asserted that Feakes had been writing for the paper since 1923.
Oddly, the first short story I located in the Evening News under the Feakes
pseudonym appeared in 1941. One can only surmise that Mr. Payne may have written for the
paper under an alternative nom-de-plume for his pre-1941 contributions to the Evening
News. Whether or not his early work for the newspaper was in the form of articles or
stories is open to conjecture. (I should note here that I have located several short
stories with the Feakes byline in other newspapers dating from the 1920s and 30s.) One
thing we do know is that Feakes composed many of his stories on the train, commuting to
and from his work as a bank officer in Threadneedle Street in the City of London, and
continued to contribute to the Evening News after his retirement in the early
1960s. Feakes' stories appeared in other periodicals such as John Creasey's Mystery
Magazine ("The Masterpiece," November 1962, and six others -- reprints? --
in the mid 1960s), Tit-Bits, The Tatler, Weekend, The Star,
John O'London's Weekly, The Passing Show, the Daily Mail, The
Lady and Stand. A number of his stories were broadcast on the BBC radio show
Morning Story. A book collection of his short stories, the aptly titled But
Mostly Laughter (edited by his two daughters), was published posthumously in 1990. He
had been working on compiling various stories for the book when he died in April of 1985
at the age of 86. Although it is clear that he remained relatively unknown in the literary
world outside of his work for the Evening News, Feakes was a talented writer
whose short stories would have been read by tens of thousands of London commuters. Feakes'
stories exhibit a briskly competent prose style. Humour plays an important part in his
work, with a good deal of his Evening News output featuring a selection of series
characters. These included the con artist Talking Tommy and the suburban couple Althea and
Cecil, whose comic adventures proved popular with readers. His witty and humorous stories
were ideal for the Evening News short story format, and it's not surprising that
his work appeared as frequently as it did for so many years. It should be obvious from the
above that I am fascinated by this writer, so if any relatives or friends of the late Paul
Feakes read this, then please do get in touch!
Donald Gilchrist (1908-1995) Between 1935 and 1955, Donald William Rowland
Hill Gilchrist had 136 of his stories published in the Evening News. His
"Seeley-Bohn" stories, about the adventures of a school pupil, were popular with
readers in the 1930s. The poet laureate John Betjeman was also an admirer of these tales.
The series spawned two novels, Seeley-Bohn at School (1939) and Young
Seeley-Bohn (1956). Gilchrist also contributed stories to the London Mystery
Magazine, The Daily Mail, Short Story Magazine and Boy's Own
Paper. A schoolteacher who wrote short stories in his spare time, during his
retirement he lived in the Oxfordshire village of Horton-cum-Studley.
C. Gordon Glover (1908- ) Born in Edinburgh in 1908, Glover moved to a village
in Essex where he ran an antique shop and lived with his wife, the children's author
Modwena Sedgwick. He was employed by the B.B.C. for many years and broadcast his own
talks, stories and travelogues about the countryside for B.B.C. Radio. He also worked as a
scriptwriter on the long-running radio series The Archers. Glover wrote several
novels including Bolero (1936) and Cocktails at Six (1934). Under the
pen-name Julien Grey, Glover wrote articles on village life for Countryman's Magazine.
A number of these were collected in the book Parish Pump (1975). Other stories
and articles appeared in newspapers and magazines such as Lilliput, Men Only,
John Bull, The Star, The Daily Mail, The Cornhill Magazine
and Look and Learn. He wrote 80 stories for the Evening News between
1933 and 1964.
Herbert Harris (1911-1995) Born in London on August 25, 1911, Herbert Edwin
Harris was the great-grandson of the poet laureate Robert Southey, who famously wrote a
biography of Nelson. From the 1930s onwards Harris was a full-time writer, after a tough
apprenticeship as a Fleet Street journalist and publicity man. He lived by the sea near
Brighton (later moving to Ventnor on the Isle of Wight), churning out literally thousands
of short stories and articles which he sold to various newspapers and magazines including The
Star, the Evening Standard, Tit-Bits, Reveille, Happy
Mag., Boy's Own Paper, Blighty, Argosy, Mike Shayne's
Mystery Magazine, The Saint Detective Magazine, Parade, London
Mystery Magazine and Weekend. Some of Harris' stories appeared under the
pseudonyms Frank Bury, Michael Moore, Peter Friday and Jerry Regan. He opened his Evening
News account with the story "Board Meeting" which was published in 1951. He
went on to contribute 106 stories until the last was published in 1980. His vast output of
short stories earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the
most prolific short story writer in the U.K. A long-time member of the Crime Writers
Association, Harris edited the annual anthology of the C.W.A. for many years. Although
Harris was known for his crime and detective stories, he was a versatile writer who wrote
across several genres. His first full-length suspense novel, Who Kill to Live,
was published in 1962. He went on to write two novels based on the 1970s TV series Hawaii
Five-O, but short stories were always his preferred form.
Michael Hastings (1907-1980) An adventure novelist and short story writer,
Michael Roy Hastings (who changed his name by deed poll from Herbert Roy Higgins) was born
in the Midlands but eventually settled on the South Coast after a spell in London. His
second wife was the children's author Valerie Hastings (1902-1975). He served with the
R.A.F. in the Middle East during the Second World War. Hastings travelled widely and drew
on these experiences for backgrounds to his stories. His adventure novels include An
Hour-Glass to Eternity (1959), The Citadel of the Bats (1962) and The
Sands of Khali (1964). Hastings sold dozens of stories to various periodicals
including Argosy, Parade, Esquire, The Star, John
Bull, Tit-Bits, the Evening Standard, John O'London's Weekly,
Courier and Magpie. He contributed 69 stories to the Evening News
between 1949 and 1978. A number of his tales appeared under the pseudonym Gabriel Hythe.
Kenneth Hayes Born in Croydon, Hayes worked as a surveyor in Reading
where he lived with his wife and two sons. He wrote short stories, radio and TV
scripts and a TV column as a part-time hobby. He sold his first story to the Evening
News in 1951 at the age of 24. Over the next 25 years Hayes had a total of 62 of his
stories published in the newspaper. Other stories by Hayes appeared in periodicals such as
Boy's Own Paper.
Colin Howard (1910- ) Howard was born in Sussex in 1910 and was for most of his
life a full-time author, although he saw active service during World War Two. Howard lived
in Hampshire with his wife and four children and sold hundreds of short stories to various
British magazines including Tit-Bits, Reveille, The New Strand,
London Opinion, The Humorist, The Daily Mail, Blighty
and Holiday Clubman. He was a very frequent contributor to the Evening News,
where he had 214 of his stories published between 1934 and 1974. Howard was also a fine
novelist. His novels include The Fault in Ourselves (1938) and The Natives
are Friendly (1936).
F. Morton Howard A prolific novelist and playwright, Francis Morton
Howard was born in South Africa but moved to England at the age of two. He was only
nineteen years old when he sold his first short story to Answers magazine, for
which he became a regular contributor. Morton wrote many hundreds of short stories; 63 of
these were published in the Evening News between 1935 and 1951. Other stories
appeared in Blighty, The Humorist, The Daily Mail, London
Opinion, Munsey's, The Premier Magazine, Lloyd's Story Magazine,
Happy Mag. and The Red Magazine. Howard is best known as the author of
many stage plays, some of which were adapted to film. Among his plays were The Black
Sheep (1928), Soon to be Wedded (1930) and Money Makes a Difference
(1947). His novel Mr. Chedworth Hits Out (1936) was made into a feature film in
1939. Morton's hobbies included theatre directing, hockey umpiring and camping.
L. S. Howarth Leslie Schofield Howarth was born in Burnley and wrote his
first novel, Ladies in Residence (1936) when he was still a student at St.
Catherine's College in Cambridge. After his graduation he returned to his home town where
he lectured at Burnley Municipal College and lived with his wife and son. Howarth wrote
hundreds of short stories and radio plays. His work appeared in John Bull, Tit-Bits,
Answers, Illustrated, Argosy and Chambers's Journal.
Howarth contributed 169 stories to the Evening News between 1937 and 1962.
Alan Hyder Hyder's memorable series of tales about a
young Jamaican boy named Matt ran in the Evening News throughout the 1940s. The
series spawned two books, Matt (1944) and The Magic of Matt (1950).
Hyder published several novels, perhaps the best known of which is his supernatural
classic Vampires Overheard (1935). Other books by Hyder include the novels Prelude
to Blue Mountains (1936) and Lofty (1932). The 131 stories he sold to the Evening
News appeared between 1934 and 1950. Hyder's stories also appeared in The Star
and the Empire Youth Annual. The man himself remains a mystery, although it has
been surmised that he may have lived in Jamaica.
Charles Irving (1911- ) Irving was born in Wigan in 1911 but it is known that
by the early 1960s he was living in Hampstead, London. He was widely travelled, having
varying careers as a schoolmaster in South America, a civil servant in both Whitehall and
India, and finally as a journalist in London. His special forte was writing about
railways, which interested him greatly. Irving's short fiction appeared in magazines such
as Tit-Bits, The Saint and Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine. The
73 stories he wrote for the Evening News were published between 1954 and 1973.
Howard Jones (1906- ) A novelist, short story author and writer of radio
and TV scripts, Stanley Howard Jones lived in the Sussex countryside where he was said to
umpire village cricket matches. Jones made his debut in the Evening News in 1934
and contributed 197 stories over the next forty years. He also contributed short fiction
to the magazines John O'London's Weekly, Argosy, John Bull and Blighty
as well as the London newspaper The Star. His stories tended to have
international settings, with Asia and the South Pacific in particular providing the
backdrop for a number of his plots. Some of the stories he wrote in this vein were
published in the collection Tropical Tales (1951). He wrote a number of adventure
novels, including Earth's Moving Shadow (1951), The Web of Caesar (1962)
and Falconsdale (1973).
Michael Kent (1881- ) Another mystery man, with no biographical information on
him available, other than the fact that he was a schoolmaster before becoming an author.
Kent contributed 167 stories to the Evening News in a relatively short space of
time, the years between 1934 and 1950. He was active as a writer from the early 1920s,
with dozens of his stories appearing in such periodicals as The Passing Show, The
Windsor Magazine, the Evening Standard, Happy Mag., The Novel
Magazine and The Red Magazine.
Frank King (1892-1958) A prolific crime author, Dr. Frank King
was born in Halifax in 1892 and educated at Leeds, where he qualified as a doctor in 1914.
King's first novel, published while he was still a doctor, was Miriam of the Moorland
(1924). He became a full-time freelance writer in 1936, and soon won acclaim for his many
crime and mystery novels. These included The Ghoul (1924), which was made into a
film starring Boris Karloff in 1933, and Death Has a Double (1955). King also
contributed short fiction to magazines such as Illustrated, The Weekly
Telegraph and The Passing Show. His 118 stories for the Evening News
were published between 1939 and 1950.
Jane Locke Once employed by the British Red Cross, Jane Locke, who lived
in Newbury, Berkshire, also worked as a journalist in London for the British-owned Indian
newspaper Statesman and Friend of India. The legend has it that Locke wrote her
first story for the Evening News while sheltering from an air-raid in Piccadilly
Underground Station during the blitz. Locke had 87 of her stories published in the Evening
News between 1941 and 1970. Some of Locke's earlier short fiction appeared in The
Star. Her novel about office life, Nothing Ever Happens, was published in
D. Wilson MacArthur (1903-1981) David
Wilson MacArthur was born in Clyde, Ayrshire in 1903. He was the fiction editor for the Daily
Mail and the Evening News in the 1930s, before serving in the Royal Navy for
six years during World War Two. MacArthur travelled widely throughout his life although in
1949 he and his wife settled on a farm near Salisbury in Southern Rhodesia. He was a
prolific author of both fiction and non-fiction. His short stories number in the hundreds
and were published in a variety of magazines and newspapers. MacArthur also penned a
substantial number of adventure novels, often with exotic settings which reflected his
broad travelling experience and the fact that he was something of an adventurer himself.
Much of his writing inevitably drew on his experience of foreign countries. His first
novel, Yellow Stockings, was published in 1925. He wrote a number of books
chronicling his travel experiences. Among these were The Road to the Nile (1941)
and The Desert Watches (1954). MacArthur contributed 50 short stories to the Evening
News between 1934 and 1940. More details about MacArthur can be found on an excellent
webpage devoted to him at: http://www.ayrshirehistory.org.uk/postings1/macarthur.htm
Jack McLaren (1887-1954) Jack McLaren contributed 64 stories to
the Evening News between 1935 and 1953. Born in Melbourne, Australia, a number of
his tales were set in his home country. He wrote several autobiographical works, the most
famous of which was My Crowded Solitude (1926), a chronicle of the time McLaren
spent among aborigines in the Cape York region of Northern Australia in 1911. His other
autobiographical books include My Odyssey (1928), an account of McLaren's
journeys in the South Seas, and My Civilised Adventure (1952), a detailed
narrative of his travels in Europe. McLaren also wrote a series of adventure novels. Among
these were Spear-Eye (1925) and Isle of Escape (1926).
H. A. Manhood (1904-1991) Harold Alfred Manhood, who for much of his life lived
in a converted railway carriage in the Sussex countryside, was renowned for his
imaginative short stories. Many of them had a rural setting, and would often touch upon
the weird and supernatural, although his more down-to-earth yarns are also great reads.
His short story collections, which include Nightseed and other Tales (1928), Apples
by Night (1932) and Fierce and Gentle (1935) are widely considered to be
classics. His novel Gay Agony was published in 1930. Manhood contributed 97 tales
to the Evening News between 1934 and 1964. Other short stories appeared in Argosy,
Lilliput, The Star and John O'London's Weekly.
Janine Murray Murray contributed dozens of beautifully
written stories to the Evening News from 1947 to 1952. Sadly, I do not know of
any stories she may have had published elsewhere. I have also been unable to track down
any biographical information. So, paging Janine Murray, if you're still around, I'd love
to hear from you!
Bill Naughton (1910-1992) Born in County Mayo, Ireland,
Naughton moved at an early age to Bolton in Lancashire where he was educated at St. Peter
& Paul School. Naughton, who once worked as a lorry driver, established himself as a
best-selling author of novels and short stories. Also a playwright, a number of Naughton's
stage plays were successfully adapted to film. The most famous of these was Alfie,
which was made into a movie starring Michael Caine in 1966. Naughton's 56 short stories
for the Evening News were published between 1943 and 1957. He was also a regular
contributor to Lilliput, and had stories published in John Bull and Weekend.
Phillip Neville (1903-1964) Philip Neville Walker Taylor, to give him his
full name, led a varied and interesting life. He ran away from home at the age of sixteen
to become a cowboy in Montana. In later years Neville earned his living as a Hollywood
"extra." He also worked as an advertising agent and for a period wrote radio
scripts. Neville lived for a time in Vienna, while successfully writing thriller novels
which were published under variations of his name; P. Walker Taylor, P. N. Walker Taylor,
and so on. Among his novels were Murder in the Suez Canal (1937) and Murder
in the Game Reserve (1938). He also wrote some novels under the pseudonym Paul
Costello. Neville's many tales for the Evening News were published from 1935 to
1969. A number of them featured the character Penelope-Ann (P.A. for short), an
irrepressible young girl whose adventures first began to appear in the early 1940s. So
popular were these tales that a spin-off novel, Me and Penelope Ann, was
published in 1947. The mischievous character of Penelope-Ann was based on Nevilles' own
niece, who was said to have gotten him into all kinds of trouble!
Murray Sanford Sanford contributed 58 stories to the Evening
News between 1934 and 1955. A number of his early tales for the newspaper featured
the series character Sergeant Patrick O'Mara of the Antrim Rangers. These light-hearted
stories were much-loved by readers, so much so that a spin-off novel, Sergeant O'Mara,
was published in 1935. Sanford's work also appeared in Blackwood's magazine.
Unfortunately no further information on this author is available, other than to say that
Murray Sanford was almost certainly a pseudonym for a J. P. Murray, about whom I have been
unable to find out anything.
Jeffry Scott (1937- ) Jeffry Scott is a pseudonym of Shaun Usher, a
journalist since the age of 15. Although born in the East End of London, Usher lived in
Somerset for many years before settling with his wife in Surrey. His journalistic work
includes spells as a crime reporter and drama critic. More recently Usher has been the
book reviewer for the Daily Mail newspaper. Usher's varied fiction output has
been published in a variety of magazines including Parade, Argosy, Ellery
Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Tit-Bits
and Reveille. He contributed 69 stories to the Evening News from 1962 to
Will Scott (1893-1964) William Matthew Scott, who lived in Kent, penned
hundreds of short stories since his first was published in 1920. His work was published in
various periodicals such as Illustrated, The Passing Show, John Bull,
Everybody's Magazine, John O' London's Weekly, London Opinion, The
Humorist, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and The Star. 94 of his
stories appeared in the Evening News quite late on in his writing career from
1952 to 1964. Scott penned several novels, many of which formed part of the
"Cherry" mystery/adventure series for children. Among these were The
Cherrys' Famous Case (1962) and The Cherrys in the Snow (1964). Earlier
novels by Scott include Disher-Detective (1925) and Shadows (1928). A
collection of his early short fiction, Giglamps, was published in 1924.
Frank Selsey Selsey's 106 Evening News stories
were published between 1939 and 1973, although the vast majority of them appeared in the
1940s. He also contributed hundreds of humorous stories to Blighty magazine in
the 1940s and '50s. Indeed, gentle humour is at the heart of much of his breezy short
fiction. Of the man himself, I can tell you nothing. However, certain clues point to the
possibility that Frank Selsey was a pseudonym for the novelist, poet and arts patron
Edward Frank Willis James (1907- ). James wrote two books as Edward Selsey and was in fact
Baron Selsey. But this is just guess work!
Ronald R. Smith Smith saw active service during the Second World War with
the mechanised cavalry regiment. A prolific author of short stories, his work appeared in John
Bull, Courier, The Star, John O'London's Weekly, Argosy
and The Passing Show. He contributed 88 excellent stories to the Evening News
between 1939 and 1973. Unfortunately, it has been impossible to track down any more
information on Smith.
W. P. Speechley (1915- ) After a career as a child actor on the West End stage,
Speechley worked in the hotel trade for many years. His experience of the hospitality
field was reflected a great deal in his stories. A number of his tales for the Evening
News were humorous yarns about a lounge waiter working in a high class hotel. The 162
stories he wrote for the newspaper appeared from 1948 to 1966. While he was contributing
stories to the Evening News, he and his wife cycled and motor-scooted around the
world, visiting many exotic locations. Obviously something of an adventurer, he spent some
time in Australia in the early 1960s. When not travelling abroad, Speechley lived with his
wife in a country cottage in Worcestershire.
Leone Stewart (1920- ) Born in Ealing in 1920, Stewart, a writer and
sociologist, was fascinated by the psychology of crime prevention. A long-time member of
the Crime Writers' Association, she published two novels, Sins of the Son (1954)
and Safe Lodging (1955). She sold 45 of her stories to the Evening News
in the 1960s and '70s and had other tales published in the magazines Tit-Bits, Weekend
and Argosy. Stewart was also a film scriptwriter and radio playwright; she
co-authored several radio plays with Aileen Burke in the 1960s.
C. T. Stoneham (1895-1965) Charles Thurley Stoneham was born in India in 1895
and was educated at Brighton College in England. He travelled widely as a young man,
running away from home at the age of 17 to seek adventure in Canada and the United States
before the First World War. He returned to England and was stationed in 1915 with the
Royal Fusiliers in British East Africa. An adventurer at heart, Stoneham held down various
jobs, at times working as a door-to-door salesman, actor, farmhand, lumberjack, barber and
waiter. Stoneham was also a naturalist and big-game hunter, and lived in Kenya for much of
his life. Profoundly interested in the wild animals of Africa, his deep fascination and
knowledge of nature was reflected in the 334 stories he wrote for the Evening News
between 1933 and 1964. His nature and adventure stories also appeared in the periodicals Hutchinson's
Adventure-Story Magazine, Boy's Own Paper, The Star, the Daily
Mail, Blue Book, Argosy, War Stories, Courier, Chambers's
Journal, Top-Notch, The Storyteller and The Windsor Magazine.
While Stoneham and his wife were living in South Africa he contributed numerous articles
and stories to the Cape Times and the Johannesburg Sunday Times.
Stoneham wrote dozens of books, both fact and fiction, some of which appeared under the
pseudonym Norgrove Thurley. His novels include The Whistling Thorn (1931) and Black
Coetzee (1936). Two early collections of his short fiction were published, Killers
and Their Prey (1933) and Dwellers in the Wilderness (1935). Among the many
books he wrote about Africa are Wanderings in Wild Africa (1932) and Mau Mau
(1953). His entertaining autobiography, From Hobo to Hunter, was published in
Rosemary Timperley (1920-1988) Rosemary Kenyon Timperley was born in Crouch
End, North London. After attending Kings College University, she worked as a school
teacher during the 1940s. Her first short story was published in 1946. Timperley began
writing for the Evening News in 1952, while working as a staff writer on the
weekly magazine Reveille. She went on to contribute regularly to the newspaper
for the next three decades. Countless other stories were published in Reveille, This
Is It, London Life, Sheerness Times-Guardian, London Mystery
Selection, Spick and many other periodicals. Her immensely prolific short
fiction output and dozens of novels represent some of the finest writing in post-war
Britain. Best known for her ghost stories, this side to her fiction has unfortunately
overshadowed the fact that she was, primarily, a mainstream writer. Timperley lived in
Richmond, Surrey for most of her life, and retained her prolific output up to her untimely
death in 1988.
F. G. Turnbull Turnbull was born in Edinburgh but grew up in the
countryside, hence his love and fascination of nature. He eventually settled in a rural
area of Kirkcudbrightshire. As a young man he worked in mechanical engineering and
successfully patented several pieces of machinery. In later years Turnbull was a partner
in a commercial beekeeping enterprise. He specialised in writing stories about the wild
animals of the British Isles. He had a beautiful writing style, often reaching great
heights of imagination in his colourful, exciting stories. He contributed 194 tales to the
Evening News between 1934 and 1968. In addition to his Evening News
work, Turnbull's stories appeared regularly in magazines such as Argosy, The
Cornhill Magazine, John O'London's Weekly, Blackwood's and Zoo.
Other stories were published in the juvenile periodicals Boy's Own Paper and Look
and Learn. He was also a frequent contributor of stories to The Star. A
collection of Turnbull's short fiction, the superb Kallee and Other Stories, was
published in 1947.
H. P. Watts Following a career with the RAF Air-Sea-Rescue Division,
Watts became the headmaster of a school in Gloucestershire. He never lost his love of the
sea and "messing about in boats." Although I have been unable to find out
anything more about Watts, he was a prolific short story author who contributed hundreds
of stories to magazines such as Courier, Argosy, Answers, John
Bull, Weekend, Boy's Own Paper and Lilliput. Many of his Evening
News stories had an air of adventure about them. He sold 151 of his stories to the
paper between 1949 and 1978.
My sincere thanks to the following people:
Allen J. Hubin, who provided a great deal of biographical information on many different Evening
News writers, including some of the above.
Douglas A. Anderson for kindly providing me with information on the author Frank King.
Jamie Sturgeon for information on C. T. Stoneham and Philip Neville.
Victor Berch for his information on Frank Keston Clarke.
John Herrington, Jacqueline Karp and Steve Holland for their information on Michael
Morgan Wallace for his genealogical research on Paul Feakes.