(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The pseudonymous collaboration as Francis Beeding of John Leslie Palmer and Hilary Aidan St. George Saunders began in the 1920’s, when both served in the League of Nations Permanent Secretariat. Living and working in Geneva, both were no doubt keenly aware of the European nations’ fears and frustrations, which persisted after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. There was a degree of paranoia, demonstrated in part by the dread that Germany, bitter and burdened by war reparations, was secretly rearming. It is not surprising that, set against a background of rumors, one in which espionage was sure to be a part of any covert rearmament effort, espionage stories would become increasingly evident in the popular literature. The partnership of Palmer and Saunders produced a series of entertaining espionage novels that, because of their quality, appealed to the sophisticated reader of the day. No less appealing was the other fiction produced by the two. Writing is supposed to be a lonely business, and successful literary collaborations are few, but that of Palmer and Saunders lasted for more than twenty years, during which, as Francis Beeding, they produced more than thirty popular novels.

Francis Beeding Bibliography

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Hanson, Gillian Mary. City and Shore: The Function of Setting in the British Mystery. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2004. Analyzes Beeding’s use of setting in Death Walks in Eastrepps. Bibliographic references and index.

Kaplan, E. Ann. Trauma Culture: The Politics of Terror and Loss in Media and Literature. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2005. Includes a chapter on trauma in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound, an adaptation of Beeding’s The House of Dr. Edwardes.

Panek, LeRoy Lad. An Introduction to the Detective Story. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1987. This work tracing the history of the detective story contains a chapter on the Golden Age mystery and mentions Beeding.

Panek, LeRoy Lad. The Special Branch: The British Spy Novel, 1890-1980. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1981. Scholarly study of British espionage thrillers geared toward the nonscholar and written by a major critic in the academic study of mystery and detective fiction. Provides perspective on Beeding’s work.

Turnbull, Malcolm J. Victims or Villains: Jewish Images in Classical English Detective Fiction. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1998. Contains a discussion of Beeding’s The Five Flamboys in the chapter on the Golden Age portrayal of Jews in English mysteries.