As a very young man, Dennis Wheatley wrote for his own pleasure; his career as a writer began only when financial need demanded it. Once he found an audience for his writing and saw the possibility for a comfortable income, he became involved in the advertising and marketing of his work. He was both a writer and a businessman, and once he recognized a new market, he adjusted for it.
During World War II, Wheatley’s reputation as a writer gained for him the opportunity to serve his country in an official capacity by using his imagination to assist military leaders in devising plans for defeating the enemy. His experiences in this capacity are related in Stranger than Fiction (1959).
Wheatley’s novels of crime, mystery, and espionage brought enjoyment to many people over a number of years. His attitude about producing fiction for the sake of the readers’ pleasure was expressed when he wrote, “From the beginning, I had always believed that the vast majority of my readers wanted to read about people of wealth or beauty, such as they never met in their own lives.” Wheatley succeeded as a writer because of his recognition of the needs and desires of those of his period who sought entertainment through reading.