Richard Henry Michael Clayton Biography

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(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

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William Haggard was born Richard Henry Michael Clayton on August 11, 1907, in Croydon, Surrey, England. He was educated at Lancing College, Sussex, and received a bachelor’s degree from Christ Church, Oxford University, in 1929. In 1936 he married Barbara Myfanwy Sant, with whom he had a son and a daughter. He served in the Indian Civil Service from 1931 to 1939 and eventually was appointed magistrate and sessions judge. During World War II he attended college in Quetta and was promoted to staff lieutenant in Indian Army Intelligence, at which rank he served between 1939 and 1945. In 1945 he was designated for ministry duty in Whitehall, an experience that provided the background for Colonel Charles Russell, Haggard’s major series character. On receiving his master’s degree from Oxford University in 1947, he joined the Board of Trade. In 1965 he was appointed controller of enemy property, a position he held for four years before retiring from government service and turning to a full-time writing career. “I’ve been a layabout ever since,” he said, though in fact he wrote prolifically and traveled widely in Asia, South America, and Europe, particularly Italy. Haggard was a major constituent of the N.A.L./Signet Intelligence Group and a representative author of the Detective Book Club before his death in 1993.