Mystery author Grant Allen, who thought he would be remembered for his scientific journalism rather than the fiction he despised, was born today in Canada in 1848. He died in 1899, attended by his friend and neighbor Arthur Conan Doyle. A major influence on H. G. Wells (who once trashed Allen in a review), he is mentioned in The Time Machine. Some of Allen's better known works are An African Millionaire (1897), "Pallinghurst Barrow" (1892), "The Great Ruby Robbery" (1892), and Hilda Wade (completed by Conan Doyle, 1900), the latter featuring an early female detective. His Miss Cayley's Adventures (1899), which also features a forthright female sleuth, has been reissued by Valancourt Books with a new introduction by me.
And Tony winner (for The Mystery of Edwin Drood), mystery writer, composer, and musician Rupert Holmes turns 62 today. To see Holmes performing his hit song "Him," go here.