John Creasey was born on September 17, 1908, in Southfields, Surrey, England, the seventh of nine children of Joseph Creasey, a coachmaker, and Ruth Creasey. The family was poor, and life was difficult, made more difficult for John by a bout with polio that delayed his learning to walk until he was six. John’s first encouragement in a writing career came when he was ten; impressed by a composition, a schoolmaster assured John that he could be a professional writer. Then began a long, discouraging period of fourteen years when only Creasey himself had hopes for his future. His family found his dreams laughable; after he left school at fourteen, he was fired by one employer after another, often for neglecting his work in order to write. He later commented that he collected 743 rejection slips during this time.
At last, after nine of Creasey’s novels had been turned down by publishers, his tenth was accepted. It was Seven Times Seven (1932), and it was a mystery. Its acceptance vindicated Creasey’s faith in himself, and he soon decided to depend on writing for his sole income. Clearly he could not support himself on the mystery writer’s traditional two books a year. Therefore he decided to work on a number of books at once, concealing his identity under various pseudonyms; during the rest of his life, Creasey continued to produce mysteries, as well as other books, at a feverish pace.
Creasey’s method of producing novels brought...
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