H. C. Bailey was born Henry Christopher Bailey in London on February 1, 1878, and he lived most of his life there. After preparing at the City of London School, he studied at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, and was graduated with honors in classics in 1901. From 1901 to 1946, he worked for London’s Daily Telegraph, advancing from drama critic to war correspondent and finally to editorial writer.
Bailey wrote his first novel while still an undergraduate. With only slight variation, he managed to publish a substantial historical novel each year, 1901 through 1928; by that time, he had also, with a coauthor, written a play based on one of his novels, written a history of the Franco-Prussian War, and written what became the first four collections of Reggie Fortune stories. The thirtieth and last historical novel, Mr. Cardonnel, appeared in 1931. Unlike his detective stories, Bailey’s historical novels vary enormously in scene and characters. The Roman Eagles (1928), a history for children, is set in ancient Britain at the time of Julius Caesar’s invasion. Mr. Cardonnel begins in 1658, the last year of Oliver Cromwell’s reign. The God of Clay (1908) is about the young Napoleon Bonaparte. Other tales have medieval settings, take place during the revolt of the Netherlands against Spain, or carry the reader to nineteenth century Italy. Apart from being good yarns, these works represent much knowledge...
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