Leonard Wibberley Biography


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Leonard Holton, a pen name for Leonard Wibberley, was born in Dublin, Ireland, on April 9, 1915. He was educated at various Irish and English schools. Holton was a journalist throughout his life, beginning in London, between 1931 and 1936, and then in Trinidad, where he was also an oil-field worker and a member of the Trinidad Artillery Volunteers. In 1943 he began work as an editor for the Associated Press in New York, and the following year he became New York chief for the London Evening News. In 1947 he began work in California, where he worked as an editor, a reporter, and a columnist for various papers for the rest of his life. In 1948 he married Katherine Hazel Holton, whose surname he adopted as a pen name. They had two daughters and four sons.

Holton wrote more books for children than for adults. His wide-ranging interests are reflected in his fiction. Many of his children’s books, for example, have to do with car racing, history, and sailing; the last two areas are also important for his mystery series. His most famous single work is his entertaining novel The Mouse That Roared (1955), with its somewhat less successful sequels, including The Mouse on the Moon (1962). The Mouse That Roared became the famous film of 1959 starring Peter Sellers; The Mouse on the Moon, starring Margaret Rutherford, was made in 1963.

Holton died on November 22, 1983. His manuscripts are housed at the University of Southern California.