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Farjeon, J Jefferson

Page history last edited by Jon 12 years, 4 months ago

J Jefferson Farjeon (June 4, 1883--June 6, 1955) was the son of BL Farjeon. He was the brother of the children's writer Eleanor Farjeon and the playwright Herbert Farjeon. Although he was a descendant of Thomas Jefferson, Farjeon was named after his maternal grandfather, the American actor Joseph Jefferson. He was educated privately and at Peterborough Lodge. From 1910 to 1920 he did editorial work for the Amalgamated Press.


Farjeon's career as a fiction writer was long and prolific. With over eighty published novels to his credit, many in the mystery and detective genre, he enjoyed what the London Times obituarist called a deserved popularity for "ingenious and entertaining plots and characterization." His early novel, Master Criminal, is a tale of identity reversal involving two brothers, one a master detective, the other a master criminal. "Mr. Farjeon displays a great deal of knowledge about story-telling," declared the New York Times reviewer, "and multiplies the interest of his plot through a terse, telling style and a rigid compression." Several of his works concern the crime-solving exploits of a sympathetic vagrant known only as Ben. Another series character was Detective X. Crook, who appeared in about fifty short stories from 1925-29. He was a reformed criminal who changed his name and took up the profession of private detective after release from prison.


Farjeon was one of the first detective writers to mingle romance with crime. Although known for his keen humor and flashing wit, he was no stranger to the sinister and terrifying. The critic for the Saturday Review of Literature praised Death in the Inkwell, one of his later books, calling it an "amusing, satirical, and frequently hair-raising yarn of an author who got dangerously mixed up with his imaginary characters. Tricky." The mystery writer Dorothy Sayers considered Farjeon one of her favorite writers.




The Master Criminal (1924)

Little Things That Happen (1925)

Uninvited Guests (1925)

No 17 (1926)

At the Green Dragon (1926)

The Crook's Shadow (1927)

More Little Happenings (1928)

The House of Disappearance (1928)

Shadows by the Sea (1928)

Underground (1929)

The 5:18 Mystery (1929)

The Appointed Date (1929)

The Person Called Z (1930)

The Mystery on the Moor (1930)

The House Opposite (1931)

Murderer's Trail (1931)

The Z Murders (1932)

Trunk Call (1932)

Ben Sees It Through (1932)

Sometimes Life's Funny (1933)

The Mystery of the Creek (1933)

Dead Man's Heath (1933)

Old Man Mystery (1933)

The Fancy Dress Ball (1934)

The Windmill Mystery (1934)

Sinister inn (1934)

Little God Ben (1935)

Holiday Express (1935)

Detective Ben (1936)

Dangerous Beauty (1936)

Holiday at Half Mast (1937)

Mystery in White (1937)

Dark Lady (1938)

End of An Author (1938)

Seven Dead (1939)

Exit John Horton (1939)

Aunt Sunday Sees It Through (1940)

Room Number Six (1941)

The Third Victim (1941)

Death in the Inkwell (1942)

The Judge Sums Up (1942)

The House of Shadows (1943)

Greenmask (1944)

Black Castle (1945)

The Oval Table (1946)

Peril in the Pyrenees (1946)

Back To Victoria (1947)

The Adventure at Eighty (1948)

Prelude To Crime (1948)

The Impossible Guest (1949)

The Shadow of Thirteen (1949)

The Disappearances of Uncle David (1949)

Cause Unknown (1950)

The House Over the Tunnel (1951)

The Adventure For Nine (1951)

Ben on the Job (1952)

Number Nineteen (1952)

The Double Crime (1953)

Money Walks (1953)

Castle of Fear (1954)

The Caravan Adventure (1955)


Comments (1)

Jon said

at 9:07 pm on May 16, 2010

Farjeon did write quite a few short mysteries in his career. The Detective X Crook series of short stories ran from 1925-1929 and over 50 stories. I wrote an article about this series (with a little biographical info, too) and had it published in a fanzine. If anyone is interested in seeing it, I can upload it to the Files. Any corrections to the article will be appreciated.

Monte Herridge

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