Philip MacDonald

MacDonald - Death on My Left biog.JPG

Born: 5 November 1900, London

Died: 10 December 1980, Los Angeles


Philip MacDonald was one of the most innovative writers of the early 1930s.  He invented the serial killer mystery, and experimented with ways of telling the story: through documents and court cases, or putting the Epilogue first and the Prologue last.  Execution doesn’t always match conception, though; some of his books are sloppily constructed or unfair.  Many works, including his masterpiece The List of Adrian Messenger, approach the thriller, with detective Colonel Gethryn pitted against supervillains and criminal conspiracies.  In his professional life, MacDonald was a Hollywood screenwriter, where he wrote the script for Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

Recommended MacDonald works:

  • Guest in the House (1956)
  • The List of Adrian Messenger (1958)

 


Works

  1. The Rasp (1924; Colonel Gethryn)
  2. The White Crow (1928; Colonel Gethryn)
  3. The Noose (1930; Colonel Gethryn)
  4. The Link (1930; Colonel Gethryn)
  5. Rynox (1930; published in the US as The Rynox Murder Mystery; aka The Rynox Murder)
  6. Murder Gone Mad (1931)
  7. The Choice (1931; Colonel Gethryn; published in the US as The Polferry Riddle)
  8. The Wraith (1931)
  9. Harbour (1931)
  10. Mystery at Friar’s Pardon (1931; published in the UK under pseudonym of Martin Porlock)
  11. The Crime Conductor (1932)
  12. The Maze (1932; Colonel Gethryn; published in the US as Persons Unknown)
  13. Rope to Spare (1932; Colonel Gethryn)
  14. Mystery in Kensington Gore (1932; published in the UK under pseudonym of Martin Porlock; published in the US as Escape)
  15. Death on My Left (Colonel Gethryn; 1933)
  16. R.I.P. (1933; published in the US as Menace)
  17. X v. Rex (1933; published in the UK under pseudonym of Martin Porlock; published in the US as The Mystery of the Dead Police; aka The Mystery of Mr. X)
  18. The Nursemaid Who Disappeared (1938; Colonel Gethryn; published in the US as Warrant for X)
  19. The Dark Wheel (1948; published in the US as Sweet and Deadly)
  20. Fingers of Fear (1953; published in the US as Something to Hide; short stories)
  21. The Man Out of the Rain (1955; short stories)
  22. Guest in the House (1956; published in the US as No Time for Terror)
  23. The List of Adrian Messenger (1960; General Gethryn)
  24. Death and Chicanery (1963; short stories)