Jonathan Gash was born John Grant in Bolton, Lancastershire, England, on September 30, 1933. His parents were both mill workers. In 1955, he married Pamela Richard, a nurse. He was educated at the University of London, where he received two bachelor’s degrees in 1958 and went on to the Royal College of Surgeons and Physicians. He was licensed as a physician, became a member of the International College of Surgeons, and did further specialized study in pathology and tropical medicine. As a medical student, Gash supported himself by working in several of London’s antiques markets, where he learned a great deal about antiques, including how to tell the forgeries from the genuine articles—the knowledge that became the core of the Lovejoy mysteries. Meanwhile, Gash’s medical career flourished; he practiced medicine and pathology in London from 1958 to 1962 and clinical pathology in Germany from 1962 to 1965. After three years in the British army’s medical corps, he moved to Hong Kong, where he headed the clinical pathology department at Queen Mary Hospital and taught on the medical faculty for the University of Hong Kong. He came to love the city and schooled himself in Chinese language and art—interests that crop up periodically in his detective fiction (each of the Lovejoy novels is dedicated to a Chinese god or ancient such as the god Wei Tuo, who protects “books against fire, pillaging, decay, and dishonest borrowers” according to Gash’s dedication in The Judas Pair, 1977).
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