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Malice Aforethought
Author Francis Iles Cast + Credits Discussion MYSTERY! Home Malice Aforethought
Author Francis Iles [imagemap with 3 links]

Author Francis Iles

"Francis Iles" was just one of the pseudonyms used by Anthony Berkeley Cox, a journalist and reviewer who contributed to Punch, The Humorist, the London Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times and the Guardian during the years between 1938 and 1970. Born in 1893 in Watford, Hertfordshire and educated at University College in London, Cox served in the British army during World War I.

The Layton Court Mystery, his first novel, was published anonymously in 1925. It introduced the character of "Roger Sheringham," a novelist and amateur detective. Berkeley/Cox often featured Sheringham in his books, including the classic The Poisoned Chocolate Case.

He, along with several other writers including Dorothy Sayers and G.K. Chesterton, founded the Detection Club around 1929. Membership was by invitation only; detective and crime writers had to swear in an oath that their "detectives shall well and truly detect the crimes presented to them, using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on nor making use of Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo-Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence or the Act of God?"

Malice Aforethought is considered Cox's best work. Published in 1931 under the pseudonym "Francis Iles," Malice broke the crime fiction mold. It was different in that the perpetrator of the crime was clear from the very beginning of the story, but it worked as a gripping and suspenseful tale nonetheless.

Cox also published under the names "A. Monmouth Platts" (Cicely Disappears, in 1927), as "Anthony Berkeley" and as "A.B. Cox" (Mr. Priestley's Problem, also 1927).

He died in 1971 and is today considered a significant contributor to the crime fiction genre.

By Anthony Berkeley (Cox)

Roger Sheringham series
The Layton Court Mystery (1925) (Published anonymously)
The Wychford Poisoning Case (1926)
Roger Sheringham And the Vane Mystery (1927)
The Silk Stocking Murders (1928)
The Poisoned Chocolates Case (1929)
Top Storey Murder (1931)
Murder in The Basement (1932)
Jumping Jenny (1933), aka Dead Mrs. Stratton: An Exploit of Mr. Roger Sheringham
The Avenging Chance and Other Mysteries from Roger Sheringham's Casebook, edited by Tony Medawar and Arthur Robinson, (2004)

The Professor On Paws (1926)
Cicely Disappears (1927) (writing as A. Monmouth Platts)
Mr. Priestley's Problem (1927) (writing as A.B. Cox)
The Piccadilly Murder (1929)
The Second Shot (1930)
Malice Aforethought (1931) (writing as Francis Iles)
Before the Fact (1931) (writing as Francis Iles)
Panic Party (1934), aka Mr. Pidgeon's Island
The Policeman Only Taps Once (1936)
The Rattenbury Case (1936) (writing as Francis Iles)
Trial and Error (1937)
Not to Be Taken (1938), aka A Puzzle in Poison
Death In The House (1939)
As For The Woman (1939) (writing as Francis Iles)

Written with members of the Detection Club
The Floating Admiral (1931)
Ask a Policeman (1933)
The Scoop (1983)

About Anthony Berkeley Cox
Turnbull, Malcolm J., Elusion Aforethought: The Life & Writing of Anthony Berkeley Cox. Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1996.

Author Francis Iles | Cast + Credits | Discussion

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