Henry Wade

Wade - photo

Pseudonym of Major Sir Henry Lancelot Aubrey-Fletcher, 6th Baronet, CVO, DSO

Born: 10 September 1887

Died: 30 May 1969


“Mr. Wade is one of the most intelligent and conscientious detection-writers we have.  He is also, I imagine, one of the very few whose books a flesh-and-blood policeman can read without giving vent to frequent groans of exasperation, for he has a wide, first-hand knowledge of police procedure.” – Daily Telegraph

Henry Wade was an important writer of police novels, many featuring Inspector Poole of the Yard.

Some critics greatly admire him.  Barzun & Taylor (Catalogue of Crime) and Curtis Evans (at the Passing Tramp) admire his work.  Others, like Mike Grost, find him overrated and dull.

My own feelings are mixed.  I think that several of the early detective stories are excellent; he wrote Heir Presumptive, a classic crime novel with a twist; and I respect his characterization.

However, his subject matter – police procedure, the huntin’ and shootin’ county set, provincial politics, finance, and the underworld – doesn’t interest me.  Many of his late books in particular are grim slogs.  His work also lacks the imagination, humour, and creative plotting I prefer in a detective story.

Best books

  • The Missing Partners (1928)
  • The Duke of York’s Steps (1929)
  • No Friendly Drop (1931)
  • The Hanging Captain (1932)
  • Constable, Guard Thyself! (1934)
  • Heir Presumptive (1935)


Further reading:

  • Curtis Evans, The Spectrum of English Murder: The Detective Fiction of Henry Lancelot Aubrey-Fletcher and G.D.H. and Margaret Cole (2015)


  1. The Verdict of You All (1926)
  2. The Missing Partners (1928)
  3. The Duke of York’s Steps (1929; Inspector Poole)
  4. The Dying Alderman (1930)
  5. No Friendly Drop (1931; Inspector Poole)
  6. The Hanging Captain (1932)
  7. Policeman’s Lot (1933; Inspector Poole; short stories)
  8. Mist on the Saltings (1933)
  9. Constable, Guard Thyself! (1934; Inspector Poole)
  10. Heir Presumptive (1935)
  11. Bury Him Darkly (1936; Inspector Poole)
  12. The High Sheriff (1937)
  13. Here Comes the Copper (1938; short stories)
  14. Released for Death (1938)
  15. Lonely Magdalen (1940; Inspector Poole)
  16. New Graves at Great Norne (1947)
  17. Diplomat’s Folly (1951)
  18. Be Kind to the Killer (1952)
  19. Too Soon to Die (1953)
  20. Gold Was Our Grave (1954)
  21. A Dying Fall (1955)
  22. The Litmore Snatch (1957)

What they say…


“You can be sure of Henry Wade.  No writer of detective stories is more scrupulously careful of the rules; at the same time with each book that he writes the strength and interest of his characterization grow.” – Milward Kennedy, Manchester Guardian

“A new novel by Henry Wade is now an event as well as a joy.  This author improves with every book; with his first he took a high place in the detective story class, and now he must be bracketed at the top of it.” – Francis Iles (Daily Telegraph)”Mr. Wade is one of the best detective story writers.” – Saturday Review

“Henry Wade is one of the greatest English writers of detective stories.” – Times Literary Supplement

“Just about the best detective stories in Great Britain.” – Glasgow Bulletin

“One of the acknowledged masters of the mystery novel.” – Aberdeen Press

“Mr. Wade is in the master class.” – H.C. Harwood

“Henry Wade as a writer of detective fiction approximates as nearly the ideal as mere mortal can.” – Everyman