Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, October 24, 2013


John Creasey was not the most prolific writer the world has ever seen, but he was up there.  He published his first book in 1932 when he was 23 or 24 years old.  He died forty years later, having written about 560 books -- an average of 14 books a year.  Although best known for his mysteries, he was adept in almost every field.

  • As "Tex Riley" he wrote 14 westerns novels, from Two-Gun Girl (1938) to Lynch Hollow (1949).
  • As "William K. Reilly" he wrote another 13 western, from Range War (1939) to Range Vengeance (1953).
  • As "Ken Ranger" he chalked up another two westerns, One-Shot Marriott (1938) and Roaring Guns (1939).
  • As "Margaret Cooke" he wrote 14 romances, from For Love's Sake (1934) to Love's Journey (1940).
  • As "Henry St. John Cooper" he wrote six more romances, from Chains of Love (1937) to The Lost Lover (1940).
  • As "Elise Fecamps" he wrote three more romances, from Love of Hate (1936) to Love's Triumph (1937).
  • As "Patrick Gill" he wrote seven youth sports novels. from The Fighting Footballers (1937) to The Secret Super-Charger (1940).
  • Under his own name he wrote 43 children's adventure books, from The Man Who Died Laughing (1935) to The Missing Monoplane (1947), including at least one book featuring Dixon Hawke, the popular Scottish detective who has appeared in more than 5500 adventures since 1912.
  • As "James Marsden" he also wrote Ned Cartwright -- Middleweight Champion (1935), another children's book.
  • Under his own name, He wrote 29 books about Department Z, a British counter-intelligence agency, from Redhead (1933) to The Black Spiders (1957).
  • Not to be outdone, he created Dr. Stanislaus Alexander Palfrey, who formed the secret group Z5, an underground organization  dedicated to helping the allies; Palfrey and Z5 later took on mad scientists and others bent on conquering and/or destroying England (and/or the world) through apocalyptic means.  Creasey wrote 35 Palfry novels from Traitor's Doom (1942) to The Thunder-Maker (1976).
  • Again, under his own name he contributed five books to the long-running Sexton Blake series, from The Case of the Murdered Financier (1937) to Private Carter's Crime (1943).
  • In 1938 Creasey introduced the Hon. Richard Rollison, sometimes known as gentleman adventurer "The Toff," in Introducing the Toff.  Rollison was featured in 68 novels, two story collections, and at least one play.  He made his curtain call in The Toff and the Dead Man's Finger (1978)
  • Inspector (later Superintendent) Roger "Handsome" West first appeared in Inspoector West Takes Charge (1942) and last appeared in A Sharp Rise in Crime (1978) -- a total of 68 books.
  • As "M. E. Cooke" he wrote twenty crime novels, from Fire of Death (1934) to The Verrall Street Affair (1940)
  • As "Michael Halliday" he wrote ten books about Dr. Emmanuel Cellini, from Cunning as a Fox (1965) to The Man Who Was Not Himself (1976).  The Cellini novels were published in the United States under the pen name "Kyle Hunt."  As "Halliday" he published an additional 44 mysteries, from Four Find Adventure (1937) to This Man Did I Kill? (1974) -- including four novels featuring Martin and Richard Fanes, from Take a Body (1951) to Murder on the Run (1953).
  • As "Peter Manton" he wrote 14 mysteries, from Murder Manor (1937) to The Charity Killers (1954)
  • As "Anthony Morton" he wrote 49 mysteries about John Mannering, "The Baron," from Meet the Baron (1937) to Love for the Baron (1979).  For some confusing reason, the first eight books in the series changed Mannering's nickname from "The Baron" to "The Blue Mask."  Go figure.
  • Patrick Dawlish and his Crime Haters organization appeared in 51 novels as by "Gordon Ashe," from Death on Demand (1939) to A Plague of Demons (1976).  "Ashe" also produced two stand-alone mysteries, The Man Who Stayed Alive (1955) and No Need to Die (1956).
  • As "Norman Deane" Creasey wrote six mysteries about Bruce Murdoch -- from Secret Errand (1939) to Where Is the Withered Man? (1942) -- and three novels about "The Liberator," from Return to Adventure (1943) to Come Home to Crime (1945), as well as  twelve stand-alone mysteries, from Play for Murder(1946) to Incense of Death (1954).
  • As "Jeremy York" he wrote 25 standalone mysteries, from By Persons Unknown (1941) to To Kill or Die (1960).  Three of those mysteries were revised for U.S. publication  to feature Superintendent Folly, from Find the Body (1967, U.S.) to Close the Door on Murder (1973, U.S.).
  • As "J.J. Marric" he wrote what consider his best and most sustained series:  21 books and at least one play about Commander George Gideon, from Gideon's Day (1955) to Gideon's Drive (1976).
  • AS "Robert Caine Frazer" he wrote six books about Hollywood detective Mark Kirby, from Mark Kirby Solves a Murder (1959) to Mark Kirby Takes a Risk (1962)
  • As "Kyle Hunt" he wrote four stand-alone mysteries, from Kill Once, Kill Twice (1956) to To Kill A Killer (1960)
  • Creasey also wrote one book as "Brian Hope" (Four Motives for Murder, 1938), one book with Ian Bowen under the joint pseudonym "Chas Hogarth" (Murder on Largo Island, 1944), one book as "Colin Hughes" (Triple Murder, 1940), one non-fiction book as "Credo" (Man in Danger, 1950), one book as "Abel Mann (Danger Woman, 1966), one book ghost-written as "Jimmy Wilde" (Fighting Was My Business, 1938),  three books as "Richard Martin" (from Keys to Crime, 1947, to Adrian and Jonathan, 1954), two books as "Rodney Mattheson" (The Dark Shadow, n.d. [1935-6], and The House of Ferrars, n.d. [1936-7]).  Creasey is also know to have used the pseudonyms "Henry St. John" and "Martin Richard," and possibly others.
  • Creasey also published six non-series novels under his own name, from his first book, Seven Times Seven (1932) to the last book published under his name, The Whirlwind (1979); among these six was Masters of Bow Street (1972), a sprawling historical novel about the founding of Scotland Yard.
  • Creasey also wrote another eleven non-fiction books about history, travel, war, and politics, edited seven mystery anthology and one non-fiction book of war history, wrote at least two more plays, revised an addition 58 mysteries beyond the three Superintendent Folly books mentioned above,  took over Creasey's Mystery Magazine (for which he had selected reprints) with issue #14 in 1957, renamed it John Creasey's Mystery Magazine and edited it for another 76 issues, founded Britain's Crime Writer's Association (CWA), won an Edgar, and was awarded an MBE for services during World War II.
  • Television series have been made based on the Gideon novels and on the Baron novels.  A radio series was based on the Inspector West novels.  John Ford made a movie based on Gideon, two movies were made about the Toff, and one movie was made based on a "Michael Halliday" novel.
  • Following Creasey's death, the writer William Vivian Butler continued the Gideon series for another five novels, from Gideon's Force (1978) to Gideon's Fear (1980).
Phew!  I've read about four dozen books by Creasey and have hardly made a dent in his works.  How about you?


  1. I've read a bunch of them but not sure how many or which ones.

  2. I've read quite a few, but I'm in the same position. He did so much stuff that you could spend a year or two just reading nothing else but his back catalogue and still find yourself with books to read. Lippincot in the USA thought that BLUE MASK was somehow more of an attractive name than THE BARON, so they changed the titles and altered the text inside. It's a bit like how the early American editions of CASINO ROYALE refer to James Bond as Jimmy Bond on the dustjacket !