Friday, July 20, 2007

Edgar Jepson and Anthony Berkeley

Last month I was talking about the writers of The Floating Admiral, and I’ve just realised that I never finished looking at the writers I didn’t know in the group. The two that are still missing are Edgar Jepson and Anthony Berkeley.
Edgar Jepson, it turns out, is the grandfather of Fay Weldon. Her mother was Jepson’s daughter, Margaret – who was also a writer, and was Jepson’s son, Selwyn. Ah, some family’s have it all.
I like this comment from John Pelan: Jepson proves to be an odd study in contrasts, he wrote popular novels that were, if not best sellers at least enough in demand to make for a relatively comfortable existence for the author and his family. From the same typewriter also flowed popular romances and mystery fiction, as well as literary criticism that met the exacting standards of Ford Maddox Ford. The latter may well have kept Jepson from enjoying a greater popularity in the United States as he found much of the United States literary establishment to be as filled with the same sort of jackanapes and buffoons that pontificate in print to this very day.
Pelan’s full article on Jepson is here.

Anthony Berkeley Cox enlisted in the First World War, and attained the rank of lieutenant, but came out of the war with his health permanently impaired due to being gassed in France. Cox spent time in several occupations including real-estate dealing. He was a director of Publicity Services Ltd and one of the directors of A.B. Cox Ltd. Apart from crime fiction, he also wrote humorous sketches, comic operas, fantasies and political analysis. He wrote under his own name and under the pseudonym 'Francis Iles' and ‘A Monmouth Platts.’ In 1925 he created the amateur sleuth 'Roger Sheringham' and wrote at least a dozen mysteries using this character.
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