Past Masters: EDGAR WALLACE

Written by C D Stewart

EDGAR WALLACE
Born April 1st 1875, London

Died Feb 10th 1932

 

 

The name, “Edgar Wallace”, threads through early twentieth century crime fiction like a stream that turns out to be a lot deeper and wider than you thought. Who was he? Can it still be claimed that he did for the contemporary thriller what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did for the detective novel and E. W. Hornung for the “gentleman” adventurer? How has his work fared under the cold light of our new world in the 21st Century?

 

Edgar Richard Horatio Wallace, to list his full glory, was born in Greenwich, London, England in 1875, the illegitimate son of a touring company actress, Polly Richards. Shortly afterwards, with her blessing, he became the foster son of one George Freeman, a fish porter at Billingsgate market. Given the more prosaic name, Dick Freeman, the toddler went to a four-room London house already bursting with the ten children previously in situplus his foster-parents (unfortunately his mother died while he was still very young). Despite the demands upon him, George Freeman found enough money to be able to send Edgar to St. Alfrege with St. Peter’s, a boarding school in Peckham. But Edgar, perhaps prodded by the precarious poverty of his infancy, was a restless, street-wise child of burning ambition and vision, his theatrical yearnings and motivation to achieve in that arena fuelled by his discovering the identity of his biological  father, Edgar, scion of a celebrated Victorian theatrical family. Wallace embarked upon what was to be an ever-changing series of jobs and careers, (the eventual list being impressive in its sheer variety) beginning his long Fleet Street association at the tender age of 11 by selling newspapers at Ludgate Circus. Wallace could turn his hand to almost anything, and it must be said, the vastly differing types of employment he undertook provided invaluable experience in his writing. So, during what we would term “childhood” only in a strictly biological sense (Edgar long pre-empting New Labour’s learn & earn catch-phrase), he combined his education with a variety of jobs such as the aforementioned newspaper-seller and also milk-delivery boy, rubber factory worker and ship’s cook to name but a few.

 

In the early 1890's he decided on becoming a soldier and in 1896, serving with the West Kent Regiment, he was posted to South Africa, where the ominous rumbling prelude of the Second Boer War was already to be heard.

He rapidly became celebrated for his popular jingles and turned to writing poetry, pre-empting later soldier poets such as Siegfried Sassoon (1896-1967) and Wilfred Owen (1893-1918). When the war finally erupted in 1899 he switched tracks to journalism for, first, Reuters agency then, War Correspondent for The Daily Mail. During the three-year duration of the war, he even came into contact with the famous Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle, serving with distinction as a volunteer physician at Bloemfontein, and actually managed to “scoop” the peace treaty with the Boers, earning the lasting dislike of General Kitchener. However, by the end of the conflict in 1902, Wallace had had enough of the military scene [the Second Boer war did not cover Britain’s Armed Forces with glory, as some generals resorted to very grubby, even war-crime level, tactics to defeat the Afrikaaners] so he plunged headlong into journalism and full-time writing.

 

In 1905, Edgar Wallace, thriller writer, emerged when he wrote The Four Just Men. He decided to publish this novel himself and did so with commendable enthusiasm but a lamentable lack of practical planning, undertaking such a  grandiose advertising/publicity scheme (including prizes for those who correctly guessed the solution to the mystery) that he was only saved from public financial embarrassment by the loan of £1,000, a great deal of money at that time, from a colleague at the Daily Mail, Alfred Harmsworth (later Lord Northcliffe). In fact, Wallace was later delighted to sell the rights to The Four Just Men, for a paltry £75, to Sir George Newnes (1851-1910), the famed MP and publisher who founded Strand Magazine (1891); Westminster Gazette (1873) and Country Life(1897).

 

THE FOUR JUST MEN BOOK COVER

Nevertheless, Wallace’s writing career had commenced and continued with the inexorability of the sun rising in the East. To call his output prolific would be a colossal understatement. He reached triple figures with his novels alone: over 170 of various genres, plus poetry and plays, over forty of which were turned into either movies or plays, a prodigious achievement when one considers that most of his writing was squeezed in between such varied journalistic assignments as a crime reporter (which inspired the Just Men/Reeder series), and foreign correspondent to places like the Belgian Congo (triggering Sanders of the River). However, his true métier was the “thriller”, which he himself referred to as “pirate stories in modern dress”.

 

Some authors wrote many books about few characters, such as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, but Wallace’s differing characters nearly equalled the total sum of his books, and sheer limitations of space prohibit a listing. Amongst the most notable were ones that had their own series, Deputy Commissioner “Sanders of the River”; Mr J. G. Reeder, a highly idiosyncratic P.I.; the Just Men and The Ringer. Of these, Reeder, the Ringer and the Just Men may be counted as the “big three”, the most well known and, indeed, the best of his work.

 

To Wallace’s credit, his characters in the majority were different (unlike some that are essentially the same person from novel to novel bar superficial amendments to hair and eye colour). Mr Jeremiah Golden Reeder was a civil servant, Chief Investigative Officer for the Director of Public Prosecutions, whose personal idiosyncrasies definitely tended to doff the hat towards a certain illustrious resident of 221B Baker Street. Henry Arthur Milton was an acknowledged criminal but a ruthless killer for Justice, and, unusually for such a character, happily married to Cora Ann Milton, a Canadian lady of considerable intelligence and courage. The Four Just Men were a group of pan-European vigilantes, whilst Sanders was positively Kiplingesque. His settings were equally diverse: the Four Just Men patrolled various parts of Britain, Spain and France; the Ringer operated in Britain, the U.S.A. and Europe; Sanders was set in Africa and others were set in London and along the Thames River.

 

 

THE MIND OF MR J G REEDER BOOK COVERAs to Edgar Wallace's style of thriller, he tended towards the mystery. There can, very loosely, be two divisions of “thriller”: the mystery type which leans towards the Agatha Christie style “cerebral” plot with twist-in-the-tail ending, or the “action thriller”, á la Chandler/Hammet, with a bloody body in the bedroom, a bottle-blonde on the arm and everyone talking without moving their lips. Wallace stuck a passable middle ground whilst leaning towards the mystery as opposed to the more gratuitously violent thriller.

 

One character about whom Wallace wrote a great deal about was the aforementioned Mr J. G. Reeder (see Red Aces, Room 13, The Mind of Mr J. G. Reeder, Terror Keep, Mr J.G. Reeder Returns) who could be more than passably compared to Sherlock Holmes. For the Great Detective’s Meerschaum pipe, violin, deerstalker hat and so forth, Reeder had his own foibles: those sandy side-whiskers which only emphasised a lugubrious face, the ubiquitous black umbrella and his habit of dressing in a style twenty years out of date, topped above all by his perpetual word-whiskers such as “er”, “um”, “em”, which are sprinkled like confetti onto every sentence.   

 

In one respect, however, Wallace achieved greater “realism”. In the stories of Conan Doyle and his brother-in-law Hornung, women were either the victims or innocent bystanders, even including Irene Adler, whose blue-blooded paramour turned out to be an ignoble noble (quite a step in a age where the public devoutly revered the monarchy). In Terror Keep, Reeder had cause to comment on the personality of Miss Olga Flack, daughter of the villain-in-Chief. He portrays this beautiful woman as vicious, without conscience and murderous, the only difference between her and her sire being her sanity, which was no improvement. This picture, though radical for the time, was right on the nose: children who are spoilt rotten and taught that anything is acceptable so long as it gets you what you want will grow up exactly like Olga Flack, and perhaps Terror Keep should be a part of all child-care courses! Also, unlike in Holmes’ cases where the villain is escorted away by the stout British bobby as opposed to dying from Watson’s smoking pistol, Reeder’s villains are more lethal. In one instance the villain actually dynamites a house in an attempt to kill him. Reeder also had that cold and aloof quality of Holmes. He has no “chivalrous” regard for Olga Flack. On one occasion, merely from scientific curiosity, he chillingly explains how a mass murderer could wipe out a large portion of England’s population by injecting deadly poison into the daily delivered milk bottles and displays no remorse or even concern for the horrendous loss of life (especially amongst children) such an act of homicide would incur. 

 

THE RINGER BOOK COVERHenry Arthur “the Ringer” Milton was another successful character. Rather than having the man rely on elaborate and painstaking disguises (which would have damaged his credibility as Milton was supposed to be a quick-change artist capable of fleeing the scene undetected), Wallace ensures that the Ringer, usually with the aid of only a bit of hair gel and change of clothes, manages to quite realistically kill the bad guy and elude the tenacious Inspector Bliss.

 

Even the finest rose garden, unfortunately, does have its weeds. Nevertheless Wallace cannot entirely be blamed. Wallace was born into a renaissance for books. After 800 plus years of the Dark Ages when science and invention were anathema, the ordinary people of Britain were finally hitting their stride as a literate class due to the educational improvements of the previous century and had an unquenchable thirst for fiction, the genres of which were ever expanding. Wallace's contemporaries included Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne who practically invented the detective and science-fiction genres, their work ably continued and expanded by such luminaries as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H. G. Wells. Other notables included E. W. Hornung; G.K.Chesterton; Edgar Rice Burroughs; Rex Stout; A A Milne; Dame Agatha Christie; P G Wodehouse; Capt. W E Johns; E. Phillips Oppenheim; Baroness Emma Orczy.

 

Besides this plethora of literary talent, alternative entertainment distractions were either non-existent or minimal. There were no TV shows like Star Trek and Stargate, Friends and Frasier; no Sonic the Hedgehog; no Internet; no blockbuster big screen epics (cinema was a strictly Saturday morning affair); no leisure centres or cheap foreign holidays. Opera, ballet, concerts and other such pursuits were the province of the wealthy. There was also plenty of time. A journey from Durham to Dover could take an entire day, horses and trams ruled the roost and a 200-page thriller would nicely hold back the boredom threshold.

 

Books were relatively cheap to produce, unlike today when even paperbacks are deemed as “second-thoughts” expensive. All the above factors guaranteed that any book on any subject was almost certain to be published. Today, only a few authors are amongst those magic few whose mere name on the cover is enough to ensure automatic entry into the New York Times Top Ten Bestseller list, and publishers are very reluctant to accept unknowns.

Perhaps all these factors allowed Wallace to be a little lenient with himself, and there was less of the strict editing and tightening up of a novel that occurs today before a book is published. So, while the vast majority of his books such as the Just Men and the Reeder series are well-written, well-plotted stories, others have a tendency to contain long-winded dialogue, disjointed continuation and confusing plots. Wallace appeared to have written some novels as if his mind had already moved on three or four books ahead, and they do suffer from this (seeLieutenant Bones).

 

Another possibility is that Wallace’s later works suffered from his eternal, unquenchable desire to expand the boundaries of his varied careers. He finally had opportunity when his novel, The Gaunt Stranger, was turned into a stage play (renamed The Ringer) by Sir Gerald du Maurier the son of  French novelist, artist and Punchillustrator Sir George du Maurier and father of Dame Daphne du Maurier of Rebecca and The Jamaica Inn fame. Maurier had abandoned Harrow and a promising business career for acting, making his début as Raffles in 1906 before becoming a theatre manager, first of Wyndham’s in 1910 and then St. James’ from 1926. His production ofThe Gaunt Stranger novel as The Ringer sent Edgar Wallace’s popularity on a meteoric rise, becoming a milestone in his career. Its success enabled Wallace to finally realise his ambition of being a popular dramatist, adding one more description to his resumé. In modern parlance, thanks to du Maurier, Wallace had arrived and the impetus it provided also gave him the security to move on to new literary pastures.

 

For Wallace, such public success was essential, not just psychologically, but financially. Despite the poverty of his birth, Wallace had no hint of the miser,

and was, in fact, generous to a fault – literally. At one point his annual income reached £50,000, an astronomical amount in those times, but his reckless expenditures and open-handed generosity often left him perilously short of “ready” cash. However, his flamboyance was the natural result of an extrovert personality and genuine friendliness, rather than the artificial poseur we see far too much of nowadays. But it did mean that he couldn’t rest on his laurels for long.

 

Having attained the appellation of “popular dramatist”, thanks in no small measure to Gerald du Maurier, Wallace decided that there was still space on his C.V. and so plumped to be a screenplay and scriptwriter. The bright lights of Hollywood beckoned and he happily obeyed their summons. By 1932, he had written a screenplay forHound of the Baskervilles and was writing another script for a little film called King Kong (whilst simultaneously exploring the opportunity of a film contract for his own works) when, suddenly and tragically, he died in Hollywood, an unexpected ending in a place that, somehow appropriately, suited a life and career that could have been serialised in any Boy's Own adventure.

 

KING KONG BOOK COVERSo, of course, Mr J. G. Reeder, The Just Men, The Ringer and Wallace’s other characters et al only made it to the silver screen in a very limited fashion, without the fanfare, or silver screen exposure of Hollywood. In 1932, this could, quite frankly, have been a blessing. One only has to look at the hatchet job Hollywood made of the Sherlock Holmes stories: Basil Rathbone was an excellent Holmes but Nigel Bruce’s Dr Watson was changed from the intelligent, observant M.D. who even got the better of Holmes on one occasion in The Yellow Face into a bumbling, fumbling, blustering naïve fool; and their total massacre of poor Burroughs’ Tarzan stories (anyone interested in these is advised to read the books avidly and avoid the films like the plague) to imagine what a hash they would probably have made of Reeder or the Just Men.

 

As time marched on, however, the lack of cinematic transference would pose a threat to the longevity of Wallace and how his works “dated”. Regardless of the quality or lack thereof, transferring them from page to screen has repeatedly ensured the survival, or resurrection, of certain characters. Sherlock Holmes, the Wizard of Oz, Tarzan, Nero Wolfe, Nayland Smith, Peter Pan, Raffles, Philip Marlowe, Jeeves & Wooster – all have maintained or regained popularity due to being immortalised in the cinema or a TV series. These characters are periodically reproduced in one medium or another fairly regularly and so the books inevitably undergo a surge in popularity in the public consciousness. (Spielberg made Peter Pan into Hook; W E Johns’ Biggles enjoyed a surge after the feature film of the same name; Granada made two series of the Jeeves & Wooster books with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry and also a vastly improved Sherlock Holmes, starring the late Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke, superb as Holmes and Watson; BBC1 recently broadcast The Scarlet Pimpernel as a three-part adventure). Making a feature film/TV series however, is fraught with difficulty, especially with characters so well defined.

 

Ian Fleming’s James Bond was very superficial – a tall, dark-haired, martini-loving, Aston Martin driving, womanising spy capable of great cold- bloodedness with a good line in quips – his character had virtually no depth or background; such shallowness is why so many different actors have been able to segue neatly into the role. Conversely, many years ago Western writer J. T. Edson’s “Floating Outfit” characters Lt. Mark Counter, Loncey Dalton Ysabel and Cpt. Dustine Edward Marsden Fog might have made it to the big screen, but this idea was shelved (apparently permanently) when actor Audie Murphy, the only person Edson believed was “right” to portray Dusty Fog, died in an accident. Wallace’s Three Just Men exemplify such problems of transferring well-defined characters “realistically” to the silver screen. Four young, vastly wealthy men from Europe gathered together to punish, sometimes by death, those who escaped the law. One, Clarice Merrell, is killed and is referred to only in “flashback” paragraphs, other than his name little is revealed and he would be the easiest to transfer. Of the others, George Manfred was the exceptionally tall, black-haired Englishman; Leon Gonzales the handsome, baby-faced Spanish scientist and criminologist and Raymond Poiccart the large, stoic, Frenchman. The man who most resembled the literary Poiccart was the late Alfred Hitchcock and doppelgängers for the other two are equally scarce. Taking the solution of the makers of the recent TV adaptation of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, namely to ignore the book’s character descriptions altogether, is not recommended; if they couldn’t take the time to get the characters right, why should fans take the time to watch it? Although around thirty of his novels were originally made into films and plays, none have experienced the periodic, often beneficial, updates afforded to Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan and the rest.

 

 

EDGAR WALLACEDespite the disadvantages of a lack of fans based on flm/TV, Edgar Wallace’s work has dated – or rather not- reasonably well. Although some of his books, such asLieutenant Bones, Sanders, Again Sanders are pure stories of British Empire colonialism, the vast majority of his work is as enjoyable now as presumably when written, helped in part by the fact that his stories covered a broad spectre of time, from the 1890s to the 1920s, unlike others. For example, E.W Hornung’s Rafflesperished in the Boer War (1902) and so all subsequent pastiches must adhere to a narrow time frame of available plots (circa 1890-1902) beyond which they cannot go. As has been said, Wallace was a prolific writer, perhaps only Enid Blyton outstripping his output; the sheer plethora of characters and settings provide something for everyone.

 

Wallace’s stories did enjoy something of a mini-revival amongst Western fans due to the books of writer J. T. Edson*. He was so impressed by the characters of Wallace was he that he asked for, and got, permission from Ms Penelope Wallace, Edgar’s daughter, to have Mr J. G. Reeder and the Three Just Men “guest star” in some of his books, specific examples being: Cap Fog, Texas Ranger, meet Mr J G Reeder; The Return of Rapido Clint & Mr J G Reeder. In these books, Edson openly claims that J G Reeder, rather than operating as a lone amateur, was actually the founder and head of a secret detective organisation, based under “cover” of the Reeder family’s prize chicken-breeding farm in Kent. With the aid of three paternal nephews, Capt. John Gray Reeder, Rifle Brigade (seconded to MI5); Jason Grant Reeder (popularly supposed by the London Underworld to be a successful jewel thief á la Raffles) and James Garfield Reeder, Jeremiah Golden perpetrated a continuous deception, whichever of the four men being in residence at Daffodil House, London, acting the part of the J. G. Reeder, complete with wigs and make up to accentuate the family resemblance. This organisation also included others, such as Jeremiah’s housekeeper, Mrs Jane Amelia Grible, with whom he had a very close relationship. According to Edson, Wallace was the biographer for a real-life family just as it has been claimed that Conan Doyle was the biographer for two real men he called Holmes and Watson, on the condition that he never revealed the Reeders’ secret. (Edson states that Jason Grant Reeder was the J G Reeder of Terror Keep).

 

Nor was Edson being entirely fantastical. In Red Aces, Wallace has Reeder say, “this is Mrs Grible of my department” when Reeder was supposed to be a mid-level civil servant, a bureaucratic pen pusher. Merely a lone, perceptive eccentric. What then was this mysterious department that faded from the book as quickly as it came? A plot error on Wallace’s part missed by lax editing, or a reality that should have been removed from the manuscript?  Room 13 introduces one of Jeremiah’s nephews, John Gray Reeder, as a principal character. Finally, Mr J G Reeder’s romantic habit are remarkably erratic from book to book, so either the respective ladies involved were the amours, the various Mr Reeders, or J. G. was a blatant roué. Whether these were slips by Wallace as a biographer (remember Watson’s “migratory” war wound?) or Wallace making a mistake as a fiction writer is a matter for the reader, no pun intended, to decide. According to Edson, John Gray, Jason Grant and James Garfield Reeder were cousins not brothers, begging the question for the “biographer” claim as to where were the three brothers Jeremiah needed to produce these scions and why were they not also co-opted into the organisation?

 

A further boost to Wallace’s literary longevity is the possibility of “continuing” the stories. Many authors have continued the Sherlock Holmes novels with varying success (see the Sherlock Holmes mystery magazine) and Barry Perowne wrote very good pastiches of the Raffles stories for years. Many other authors’ popular characters have had crossover novels: George G. Gilman did it with Edge and Adam Steele; Ed McBain did so with Matthew Hope and Steve Carella, and my ideal Wallace pastiche would include J G Reeder and the Just Men meeting up with each other and perhaps the Ringer or Sherlock Holmes and Raffles, for example.

 

But there are pitfalls. Some of the Sherlock Holmes pastiches are, frankly, not up to par, while others are very good. J. T. Edson “played it safe” by giving Reeder only a guest star role and not attempting to continue the actual series.  In my opinion, only one writer, Barry Perowne, carried E W Hornung’s Raffles series on and did it betterthan the original.

 

Wallace’s novels were in the main well written and deserve to be part of the modern bibliophile’s library. The advent of the Internet has also given him more exposure, since there are several Wallace-devoted websites on the net albeit a rather large number in German, for some reason.

 

Thriller writing was his true métier and it is unfortunate that he passed away at such a young age when he doubtless had so many more books in him (possibly even the above mentioned character crossover). Wallace’s greatest creation, however, was arguably Mr J. G. Reeder, whom in the fashion of Holmes, Wallace tried to make observant, scientific and exciting. With the soft-voiced, keen-minded Jeremiah Golden, he succeeded admirably.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J. T. Edson is still writing Western and modern adventure stories today, however his books are only available in the USA** and are available to UK readers by ordering from specialist bookstores or via the internet. Mark Counter’s Kin, circa 1992, was the last UK published Edson title.

**Published by DELL Books.

      

This article first appeared in SHOTS Vol2 No8

 

© C D Stewart

     

          Edgar Wallace Bibliography

  

 Four Just Men

The Four Just Men (1905)

The Council of Justice (1908)

The Law of the Four Just Men (1921)

     aka Again the Three Just Men

 

Commissioner Sanders

Sanders of the River (1911)

The People of the River (1912)

The River of Stars (1913)

Bosambo of the River (1914)

Sandi The Kingmaker (1922)

Sanders (1926)

     aka Mr. Commissioner Sanders

 

 

Lieutenant Bones

Bones (1915)

Bones in London (1921)

Bones of the River (1923)

 

 Novels

The Mission The Failed (1898)

Writ in Barracks (1900)

Unofficial Despatches (1901)

The Duke in the Suburbs (1909)

Eve's Island (1909)

The Nine Bears (1910)

The Cheaters (1910)

The Fourth Plague (1913)

The Admirable Carfew (1914)

The Man Who Bought London (1915)

The Clue of the Twisted Candle (1917)

The Just Men of Cordova (1917)

The Secret House (1917)

Kate Plus 10 (1917)

The Adventures of Heine (1919)

The Green Rust (1919)

The Man Who Knew (1919)

The Daffodil Mystery (1920)

     aka The Daffodil Murder

Jack o'Judgment (1920)

The Crimson Circle (1922)

Flying Fifty-five (1922)

The Valley of Ghosts (1922)

The Angel of Terror (1922)

     aka The Destroying Angel

Clue of the New Pin (1923)

The Missing Million (1923)

The Book of All Power (1923)

Captains of Souls (1923)

Double Dan (1924)

     aka Diana of Kara-Kara

The Face in the Night (1924)

Room 13 (1924)

The Sinister Man (1924)

The Three Oak Mystery (1924)

The Mind of Mr J G Reeder (1925)

     aka The Murder Book of J.G. Reeder

The Strange Countess (1925)

The Daughters of the Night (1925)

The Hairy Arm (1925)

     aka The Avenger

The Fellowship of the Frog (1925)

Barbara on Her Own (1926)

A Debt Discharged (1926)

The Door with Seven Locks (1926)

The Green Archer (1926)

The Joker (1926)

     aka The Colossus

The Man from Morocco (1926)

The Northing Tramp (1926)

The Square Emerald (1926)

     aka The Girl from Scotland Yard

The Yellow Snake (1926)

Good Evans (1926)

     aka The Educated Man

More Educated Evans (1926)

The Black Abbot (1926)

Big Foot (1927)

Blue-Hand (1927)

Flat 2 (1927)

The Man Who Was Nobody (1927)

The Mixer (1927)

Mr Justice Maxwell (1927)

The Squeaker: London's Underworld of Crime (1927)

     aka The Squealer

Terror Keep (1927)

The Traitor's Gate (1927)

The Forger (1927)

The Brigand (1928)

The Clever One (1928)

The Double (1928)

The Gunner (1928)

     aka Gunman's Bluff

A King By Night (1928)

The Ringer: The Gaunt Stranger (1928)

The Terrible People (1928)

The Twister (1928)

The Flying Squad (1929)

Four Square Jane (1929)

The Ghost of Down Hill (1929)

The Golden Hades (1929)

The Green Ribbon (1929)

The India Rubber Men: Inspector John Wade (1929)

The Iron Grip (1929)

The Lone House Mystery (1929)

The Three Just Men (1929)

Planetoid 127 (1929)

The Dark Eyes of London (1929)

For Information Received (1929)

The Queen of Sheba's Belt (1929)

The Calendar (1930)

The Clue of the Silver Key (1930)

     aka The Silver Key

Down Under Donovan (1930)

The Hand of Power (1930)

The Keepers of the King's Peace (1930)

The Lady of Ascot (1930)

Silinski - Master Criminal: Detective T.B.Smith (1930)

The Thief in the Night (1930)

The Day of Uniting (1930)

The Feathered Serpent (1930)

John Flack (1930)

The Coat of Arms (1931)

     aka The Arranways Mystery

The Devil Man (1931)

The Man at the Carlton (1931)

On the Spot: Violence and Murder in Chicago (1931)

The Ringer Returns (1931)

White Face (1931)

The Frightened Lady (1932)

Red Aces (1932)

Sergeant Sir Peter (1932)

     aka Sergeant Dunn, C.I.D.

When the Gangs Came to London (1932)

Mr J. G. Reeder Returns (1932)

Death Packs a Suitcase (1961)

King Kong (1965) (with Merian C Cooper, Delos W Lovelace)

The Road to London (1986)

 

 

Omnibus

Selected Novels (1985)

 

Collections

The Trial of the Seddons: And Other Stories

Heroes All: Gallant Deeds of the War (1914)

Again Sanders (1928)

The Governor of Chi-Foo: And Other Detective Stories (1933)

Circumstantial Evidence: And Other Stories (1934)

Fighting Snub Reilly: And Other Stories (1934)

Nig-nog: And Other Humorous Stories (1934)

The Sooper: And Others (1984)

The Death Room (1986)

Classic Crime Stories (1995) (with G K Chesterton, Maurice Le Blanc, Robert Louis Stevenson)

 

Chapbooks

The Orator (1928)

 

 Non fiction

The Standard History of the War (1914)

The War of the Nations (1914) (with William le Queux)

Kitchener's Army and the Territorial Forces: The Full Story of a Great Achievement (1915)

This England (1927)

People: Autobiography (1929)

Great Stories of Real Life (1930) (with William le Queux)

 

Anthologies containing stories by Edgar Wallace

The Big Book of Detective Stories

The Black Cap (1927)

A Century of Creepy Stories (1934)

The Mystery Book (1934)

The Great Book of Humour (1935)

The Great Book of Thrillers (1935)

The Mammoth Book of Thrillers, Ghosts and Mysteries (1936)

Fifty Famous Detectives of Fiction (1983)

The Mammoth Book of Twentieth-Century Ghost Stories (1998)

 

Short stories

 The Ghost of Down Hill (1929)  

 Circumstantial Evidence  

 Clues  

 The Green Mamba  

 Man of the Night  

 The Mind Readers  

 The Poetical Policeman  

 Romance in It  

 The Shadow Man  

 The Sooper Speaking  

 A Souvenir  

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