Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy birthday, Anthony Berkeley.

Golden Age British mystery author and journalist Anthony Berkeley Cox, aka Anthony Berkeley and Francis Iles, was born today in 1893. He died in 1971.

Cox, a founder of the Detection Club, created sleuths Ambrose Chitterwick and Roger Sheringham, and his The Poisoned Chocolates Case (1929), Before the Fact (1931; adapted as the Hitchcock film Suspicion), and Trial and Error (1937; adapted as the film Flight from Destiny) appear on the Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone list. He also contributed to the Detection Club's round-robin mysteries The Floating Admiral, Ask a Policeman, and Six Against the Yard. The screen version of his novel Malice Aforethought appeared last year on PBS's Mystery! series, and Crippen & Landru has published a collection of his short stories.

For more on Cox's life and work, see Elusion Aforethought: The Life and Writing of Anthony Berkeley Cox by Malcolm J. Turnbull (Popular P, 1996).

"The question will be, not, 'Who killed the old man in the bathroom?' but 'What on earth induced X, of all people, to kill the old man in the bathroom?'"--Anthony Berkeley, preface to The Second Shot (1930), on the future of the detective story.

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