Anthony Gilbert

Pseudonym of Lucy Beatrice Malleson

Born: 15 February 1889, London

Died: 9 December 1973


Overview

Anthony Gilbert is an uneven writer.  Her best works are full of vitality, excellent characterization, clever plots, and subtle clueing in the style of John Dickson Carr or Agatha Christie.  They’re also very funny.

Some of her books, though, are more suspense stories, or the villain is known from the start.

Her early books feature Scott Egerton, a Liberal M.P. and amateur sleuth.  Her most famous creation is Arthur Crook, “the criminal’s hope and the judge’s despair”.  Crook is a genial, cynical lawyer whose maxim is that his clients are always right; his specialities are clearing the wrongly accused and rescuing women in peril.

For a good overview of Gilbert’s work, see:


Works

Arthur Crook first appears in Murder by Experts (1936), and is the detective in all (?) Gilbert’s books thereon.

  1. The Tragedy at Freyne (1927; Scott Egerton)
  2. The Murder of Mrs. Davenport (1928; Scott Egerton)
  3. Death at Four Corners (1929; Scott Egerton)
  4. The Mystery of the Open Window (1929; Scott Egerton)
  5. The Night of the Fog (1930; Scott Egerton)
  6. The Case Against Andrew Fane (1931)
  7. The Body on the Beam (1932; Scott Egerton)
  8. The Long Shadow (1932; Scott Egerton)
  9. The Musical Comedy Crime (1933; Scott Egerton)
  10. Death in Fancy Dress (1933)
  11. An Old Lady Dies (1934; Scott Egerton)
  12. The Man in Button Boots (1934)
  13. The Man Who Was Too Clever (1935; Scott Egerton)
  14. Courtier to Death (1936; published in the US as The Dover Train Mystery)
  15. Murder by Experts (1936; Arthur Crook)
  16. The Man Who Wasn’t There (1937)
  17. Murder Has No Tongue (1937)
  18. Treason in My Breast (1938)
  19. The Clock in the Hat-Box (1939)
  20. The Bell of Death (1939)
  21. Dear Dead Woman (1940; published in the US as Death Takes a Redhead)
  22. The Vanishing Corpse (1941; published in the US as She Vanished in the Dawn)
  23. The Woman in Red (1941; published in the US as The Mystery of the Woman in Red)
  24. Something Nasty in the Woodshed (1942; published in the US as Mystery in the Woodshed)
  25. The Case of the Tea-Cosy’s Aunt (1942; published in the US as Death in the Blackout)
  26. The Mouse Who Wouldn’t Play Ball (1943; published in the US as Thirty Days to Live)
  27. A Spy for Mr. Crook (1944)
  28. He Came by Night (1944; published in the US as Death at the Door)
  29. The Scarlet Button (1944; published in the US as Murder is Cheap)
  30. The Black Stage (1945; published in the US as Murder Cheats the Bride)
  31. Don’t Open the Door (1945; published in the US as Death Lifts the Latch)
  32. The Spinster’s Secret (1946; published in the US as By Hook or Crook)
  33. Death in the Wrong Room (1947)
  34. Die in the Dark (1947; published in the US as The Missing Widow)
  35. Lift Up the Lid (1948; published in the US as The Innocent Bottle)
  36. Death Knocks Three Times (1949)
  37. Murder Comes Home (1950)
  38. A Nice Cup of Tea (1950; published in the US as The Wrong Body)
  39. Lady-Killer (1951)
  40. Miss Pinnegar Disappears (1952; published in the US as A Case for Mr. Crook)
  41. Footsteps Behind Me (1953; published in the US as Black Death, and as Dark Death)
  42. Snake in the Grass (1954; published in the US as Death Won’t Wait)
  43. Is She Dead Too? (1956; published in the US as A Question of Murder)
  44. And Death Came Too (1956)
  45. Riddle of a Lady (1956)
  46. Give Death a Name (1957)
  47. Death Against the Clock (1958)
  48. Third Crime Lucky (1959; published in the US as Prelude to Murder)
  49. Death Takes a Wife (1959; published in the US as Death Casts a Long Shadow)
  50. Out for the Kill (1960)
  51. She Shall Die (1961; published in the US as After the Verdict)
  52. Uncertain Death (1961)
  53. No Dust in the Attic (1962)
  54. Ring for a Noose (1963)
  55. The Finger Print (1964)
  56. Knock, Knock, Who’s There? (1964; published in the US as The Voice)
  57. Passenger to Nowhere (1965)
  58. The Looking Glass Murder (1966)
  59. The Visitor (1967)
  60. Night Encounter (1968; published in the US as Murder Anonymous)
  61. Missing From Her Home (1969)
  62. Death Wears a Mask (1970; published in the US as Mr. Crook Lifts the Mask)
  63. Tenant for the Tomb (1971)
  64. Murder’s a Waiting Game (1972)
  65. A Nice Little Killing (1974)

As J. Kilmenny Keith

  1. The Man Who Was London (1925)
  2. The Sword of Harlequin (1927)

As Anne Meredith

  1. Portrait of a Murderer (1933)

What they say…

Mr. Gilbert, of course, writes extremely well. – E.C. Bentley in the Daily Telegraph

Anthony Gilbert has not yet, I fancy, won as wide a popularity as he deserves.  Few writers so consistently combine soundness of style and plot with ability to set alight the reader’s imagination. – Milward Kennedy

Anthony Gilbert has real descriptive power. – E.R. Punshon

Careful in craftsmanship, scrupulously fair, more than well-written, Anthony Gilbert’s novels show the unsensational type of detective story at its best. – Daily Telegraph

Is a master not only of the craft of the crime story, but also of the creation of character and atmosphere. – Irish Independent

Anthony Gilbert’s characters are real human beings. – John O’London’s

I know of no author of this type of tale who is more skilled at making a good story seem brilliant by sheer force of writing and clear perception of his own characters. – News Chronicle

Just about the most professional English crime writer these days. – Oxford Mail (c. 1950s)

Anthony (second name Ingenuity). – Sunday Mercury

Unquestionably a most intelligent author. Gifts of ingenuity, style and character drawing. – Sunday Times

How well she knows her job, how perennially she keeps us guessing. – Time and Tide

Anthony Gilbert is particularly good at keeping the reader in uncertainty all the way.  He really is an exceptionally competent detective story writer .- Marghanita Laski, The World of Books, B.B.C.