On March 31, 1922, Lionel Davidson was born in Hull, Yorkshire. His father was from Poland and his mother from Russia. When he was two years old, his father died. Four years later, the family relocated to London. When he was fourteen, Davidson had to leave school to seek employment, beginning as an office boy for a shipping firm; he soon found a similar position at The Spectator. When he was fifteen, his first story appeared in that magazine. Later, he wrote for a Fleet Street agency. During World War II, Davidson joined the Royal Navy. Afterward, he became a freelance journalist in Europe. Davidson married Fay Jacobs in 1949.
The publication of Davidson’s first novel, The Night of Wenceslas (1960), was delayed for some time because of a strike. Not knowing of the delay and believing that the book was a failure, he began The Rose of Tibet, which appeared in 1962. Both books proved to be highly successful. The Night of Wenceslas was recognized as both the most promising first novel in 1960, receiving the Author’s Club Silver Quill Award, and the best crime novel of the year, winning the Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger Award. Davidson’s work was likened to that of Graham Greene and Kingsley Amis.
In 1965 Davidson published his first book for adolescents, Soldier and Me, under the pseudonym David Line. A year after its American publication, it appeared in England as Run for Your...
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