Biography (Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction, Revised Edition)
Bill James was born James Tucker in Cardiff, Wales, on August 15, 1929, to William Arthur Tucker and Violet Irene Bushen Tucker. He grew up in Cardiff’s Grangetown section, and his father’s relatives lived in the dockland area known as Clarence Bridge. William Tucker worked on a sand dredger, traveling in and out of Cardiff, and his son spent his holidays aboard. Later, as a journalist, James used Clarence Bridge as an occasional pseudonym, and many of his novels are set in Cardiff docks. James graduated from the University of Wales (then University College, Cardiff) in 1951 and was a flying officer in the Royal Air Force from 1951 to 1953. He married Marian Craig on July 17, 1954. Their children are Patrick, Catherine, Guy, and David.
Young James knew he wanted to be a writer, and when he saw in a career guidance book that the minimum weekly wage for London reporters was nine guineas (fifty cents), a lavish salary at the time, he decided to become a journalist. He was a reporter for Cardiff’s Western Mail in 1954-1956 and for London’s Daily Mirror in 1956-1958. James has said that the terse, tabloid style of the Daily Mirror was a major influence on his fiction.
James returned to South Wales in 1958 and worked as a freelance journalist, contributing to such publications as New Society, Punch, The Spectator, and The Sunday Times. In addition to articles and fiction, James...
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