Julian Symons Books In Order

Insp. Bland Books In Order

  1. The Immaterial Murder Case (1945)
  2. A Man Called Jones (1947)
  3. Bland Beginning (1949)

Insp. Crambo Books In Order

  1. The Narrowing Circle (1954)
  2. The Gigantic Shadow (1958)

Francis Quarles Books In Order

  1. The Detections of Francis Quarles (2006)

Joan Kahn-Harper Books In Order

  1. The Man Who Killed Himself (1967)
  2. The Man Who Lost His Wife (1967)
  3. The Man Whose Dreams Came True (1968)
  4. The Players and the Game (1972)
  5. The Plot Against Roger Rider (1973)
  6. Sweet Adelaide (1980)
  7. The Detling Murders (1982)
  8. The Man Who Hated Television (1987)

Sheridan Haynes Books In Order

  1. A Three Pipe Problem (1975)
  2. The Kentish Manor Murders (1988)


  1. The 31st of February (1950)
  2. The Broken Penny (1953)
  3. The Paper Chase (1956)
  4. The Colour of Murder (1957)
  5. The Progress of a Crime (1960)
  6. The Killing of Francie Lake (1962)
  7. The End of Solomon Grundy (1964)
  8. The Belting Inheritance (1965)
  9. Death’s Darkest Face (1966)
  10. Buller’s Campaign (1974)
  11. The Blackheath Poisonings (1978)
  12. The Name of Annabel Lee (1983)
  13. The Criminal Comedy of the Contented Couple (1985)
  14. The General Strike (1987)
  15. Something Like a Love Affair (1992)
  16. Playing Happy Families (1994)
  17. A Sort of Virtue (1996)


  1. The Advertising Murders (1992)


  1. The Tigers of Subtopia (1965)
  2. Murder at Christmas (1991)
  3. Murder On Christmas Eve (2017)

Anthologies edited

  1. Great Detectives (1981)

Non fiction

  1. Bloody Murder (1972)
  2. The Tell-tale Heart (1981)
  3. Critical Observations (1981)
  4. The Thirties (2004)

Insp. Bland Book Covers

Insp. Crambo Book Covers

Francis Quarles Book Covers

Joan Kahn-Harper Book Covers

Sheridan Haynes Book Covers

Novels Book Covers

Omnibus Book Covers

Collections Book Covers

Anthologies edited Book Covers

Non fiction Book Covers

Julian Symons Books Overview

The Immaterial Murder Case

Most immaterialists are a little mad. If you ever meet one, you should be most careful to keep your fingers crossed. American born John Wilson and his troop of distinguished friends were well known in the fashionable parts of London. And at their social gatherings the very latest fad was Immaterialism , and the quest for the perfect immaterial work of art but what they hadn t expected to find was the perfect immaterial murder.

A Man Called Jones

The office party was in full swing so no one heard the shot fired at close range through the back of Lionel Hargreaves, elder son of the founder of Hargreaves Advertising Agency. The killer left only one clue a pair of yellow gloves but it looked almost as if he had wanted them to be found. As Inspector Bland sets out to solve the murder, he encounters a deadly trail of deception, suspense and two more dead bodies.

Bland Beginning

A purchase at a second hand bookshop seems an innocent enough event. Tony Shelton hadn t expected it to be anything but that and he certainly hadn t expected it to throw him head first into the world of violence, blackmail and robbery. For it becomes clear that the book has a rather higher price than he paid for it a price that was to lead to murder.

The Narrowing Circle

Dave Nelson was fiercely ambitious. First in line for the top job on a magazine, he had every right to feel lucky. So when Willie Strayte was offered the job instead, and then turned up dead twenty four hours later and everyone pointed the finger at Dave, he felt his luck had run out. As the net draws tighter around him, he finds himself in a desperate struggle for survival.

The Gigantic Shadow

Bill Hunter, TV personality, made his living by asking the rich and famous difficult and highly personal questions. But when the tables were turned and he found himself being asked about his own rather murky past, he wasn t quite so sure of himself. Out of a job and little hope of finding another, he teamed up with the reckless Anthea to embark upon a dangerous and deadly plan that was to have murderous consequences.

The Detections of Francis Quarles

CLASSIC DETECTION BY A GRAND MASTER Julian Symons 1912 1994 was one of the greatest mystery writers to emerge after World War II. He was recognized with the Crime Writers Association’s highest honor, The Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement and the Mystery Writers of America honored him as a Grand Master. In 1950, for a long running series of short short stories for London s Evening Standard newspaper, Symons invented private detective Francis Quarles. After engaging in mysterious activites during the Second World War, Quarles opened an office in Trafalgar Square, from where he investigates puzzles ranging from robbery to murder. The Detections of Francis Quarles contains 41 previously uncollected investigations. The book is edited John Cooper, co author of the definitive Detective Fiction: The Collectors’s Guide. The cover painting is by Carol Heyer, and the Lost Classics design is by Deborah Miller.

The Man Who Killed Himself

Arthur Brownjohn has never quite got anything right. Whatever he does, it always seems to go more than a little awry. The same could be said for the murder of his wife a bungled, inferior affair despite his having consulting all the experts in the field of killings, executions and dastardly deeds. Resolving never to repeat the same mistakes, he enlists the help of Major Easonby Mellon a man who really knows what he’s doing

The Man Who Lost His Wife

Gilbert Welton’s life changed one breakfast time his wife, Virginia, announced she was leaving him. Perhaps not the expected beginning of a comedy, but Symons employs his customary skill and brilliant wit to reveal the funny side of the tale. The result is a hilarious and riotous look at the life of a very ordinary middle aged man.

The Man Whose Dreams Came True

A likeable but rather hapless young man decides he’s tired of small time games and attempts to break into the big league. However, he finds himself woefully out of his depth and ends up caught out in an ingenious back firing murder conspiracy. Entertaining and full of suspense, Symons plot has enough twists to keep you guessing right until the final thrilling conclusion.

The Players and the Game

‘Count Dracula meets Bonnie Parker. What will they do together? The vampire you’d hate to love, sinister and debonair, sinks those eye teeth into Bonnie’s succulent throat.’ Is this the beginning of a sad*istic relationship or simply an extract from a psychopath’s diary? Either way it marks the beginning of a dangerous game that is destined to end in chilling terror and bloody murder.

The Plot Against Roger Rider

Roger Rider and Geoffrey Paradine had known each other since childhood. Roger was the intelligent, good looking, successful one and Geoffrey was the one everyone else picked on. When years of suppressed anger, jealousy and frustration finally surfaced, Geoffrey took his revenge by sleeping with Roger’s beautiful wife. Was this price enough for all those miserable years of put downs? When Roger turned up dead the police certainly didn’t think so.

A Three Pipe Problem

Small time actor, Sheridan Haynes, had a rather unhealthy preoccupation with Sherlock Holmes. So when the chance came for him to play the famous detective in a TV series, it seemed his dreams had come true. And when London was plagued by a series of unsolved murders, well it seemed only natural for him to take his role into real life. Was this a case of a laughable and misguided actor, or was Sheridan actually on to something?

The 31st of February

Anderson was a bored, unhappy sales executive longing for something to liven up his monotonous life. But perhaps he wished too hard because not long later he found his wife lying dead at the bottom of the cellar stairs. An accident of course so why wouldn t the police believe him?

The Broken Penny

An Eastern block country, shaped like a broken penny, was being torn apart by warring resistance movements. Only one man could unite the hostile factions Professor Jacob Arbitzer. Arbitzer, smuggled into the country by Charles Garden during the Second World War, has risen to become president, only to have to be smuggled out again when the communists gained control. Under pressure from the British Government who want him reinstated, Arbitzer agreed to return on one condition that Charles Garden again escort him. The Broken Penny is a thrilling spy adventure brilliantly recreating the chilling conditions of the Cold War. ‘Thrills, horrors, tears and irony’ Times Literary Supplement. ‘the most exciting, astonishing and believable spy thriller to appear in years’ The New York Times

The Paper Chase

Crime writer Charles Applegate decided to set his second novel in a progressive school. Taking a job at Bramley Hall to see what such a school was like from the inside, Applegate found to his dismay that he was expected to do rather more than just people watch. And when a murder took place on his first night there, his skills as a detective writer were called upon as well. But real life crime was to prove very different from its fictional counterpart

The Colour of Murder

John Wilkins was a gentle, mild mannered man who lived a simple, predictable life. So when he met a beautiful, irresistible girl his world was turned upside down. Looking at his wife, and thinking of the girl, everything turned red before his eyes The Colour of Murder. Later, his mind a blank, his only defence was that he loved his wife far too much to hurt her…
‘A book to delight every puzzle suspense enthusiast’ The New York Times

The Progress of a Crime

Hugh Bennett, young reporter on a local paper, witnessed a terrible crime a group of boys stabbed a man to death on Guy Fawkes’ night, right in front of the fire on the village green. But as Bennett attempts to write the story for his paper, doubts begin to creep in about what he had actually seen and he finds himself in an immense moral dilemma. On first publication, The Progress of a Crime was seen as setting new standards in crime fiction. ‘Brilliant’ The Guardian

The Killing of Francie Lake

Octavius Gaye, founder and creator of the hugely successful magazine empire, Plain Man Enterprises, saw himself as the original ‘plain man’. The truth however was rather different and Gaye was an unscrupulous tycoon with a strangely captivating nature who surrounded himself by a series of weak willed puppets that he manipulated to his heart’s content. One such puppet was Francie Lake and as the plot unfolds, Symons reveals how and why Francie simply had to die.

The End of Solomon Grundy

When a girl turns up dead in a Mayfair mews, the police want to write it off as just another murdered prostitute, but Superintendent Manners isn t quite so sure. He is convinced that the key to the crime lies in The Dell an affluent suburban housing estate. And in The Dell lives Solomon Grundy. Could he have killed the girl? So Superintendent Manners thinks.

The Belting Inheritance

When a stranger arrives at Belting, he is met with a very mixed reception by the occupants of the old house. Claiming his so called rightful inheritance the stranger makes plans to take up residence at once. Such a thing was bound to cause problems amongst the family but why were so many of them turning up dead?

Buller’s Campaign

Buller’s Campaign is a powerful and invaluable reas*sessment of the life of General Buller and of the part he played in British military history. Beginning with his struggle for the position of Commander in Chief of the Army in 1895, it goes on to portray his role in the Boer War, and on its path, reveals many of the Victorian Imperialist attitudes of the day. A man of numerous failures, General Buller has been treated unkindly by history but Symons here seeks to paint a more rounded picture. Whilst never attempting to excuse the General s mistakes, he portrays Buller as a complex and often misunderstood character and reveals the deep ironies that surrounded so much of what he achieved. Buller s Campaign is an exceptional book and an outstanding contribution to military history.

The Blackheath Poisonings

Symons won the Edgar Award, the Gold Dagger Award, and the Diamond Dagger Award Wealth can have its drawbacks. Case in point: The Collard and Vandervent families, who for decades have shared a large estate in the elegant London suburb of Blackheath. It’s now the 1890s, and over the years, the families near incestuous entanglement has grown into a toxic web of lies and bitterness. While Mama keeps an iron grasp on the purse strings, an unmarried daughter sucks greedily on her own disappointment, a son raises corruption to an art form, and an ethereal daughter in law casts come hither glances at anything in pants. She casts them frequently at young Paul Vandervent, who responds by filling his journal with fevered love poems. And when one member after another of the extended clan falls victim to gastric misadventure and his beloved falls under suspicion Paul embarks on an equally feverish quest to clear her name, resolving to solve the extraordinary series of crimes popularly called The Blackheath Poisonings.

The General Strike

In May 1926, Britain was gripped by what became known as The General Strike. This downing of tools lasted for nine days, during which time it divided the people, threatened the survival of the government of the day and brought the country nearer to revolution that it perhaps had ever been. In this accurate and lively account, Symons draws on contemporary press reports, letters and oral sources, along with TUC records to provide an invaluable historical account of the remarkable event and the people and places that featured so prominently in it.

Something Like a Love Affair

There are times when Judith Lassiter feels content, perhaps even happy. She is content to be married to a well heeled architect who graciously remembers their fifteenth anniversary with fifteen red roses. She is content with Green Diamonds, the house her husband designed, the envy of their acquaintances. She is content with her life in the town of Wyfleet, content with her financial status, even content with her appearance. Then why does Judith write herself imaginary love letters in the solitude of her bedroom? Why does she take on a very real lover several years her junior? Why does she believe she can redeem her life only by taking another’s, employing the unlady like recourse of a professional hit man?

Playing Happy Families

All of the Midways will remember this Saturday…
because Jenny Midway is about to vanish from the face of the earth. In a strange turn almost as if magnetic poles have been reversed the members of the Midway family will begin to repel each other, exchange personalities, and discover shocking strengths and weaknesses they never knew existed. Detective Superintendent Hilary Catchpole is called in to investigate the disappearance, which might very well not be a crime at all. Against daunting odds, he must unearth the truth about Jenny before the rest of the family implodes, changing beyond recognition and becoming utterly without mercy…

Bloody Murder

In celebration of distinguished author/critic Julian Symons’ 80th year, here is the third and final revised edition of his classic history of mystery fiction. The views expressed here are as candid as ever. One bestselling writer is called unreadable, another compared to writers of ‘strip cartoon stories’. But the general tone is warmly appreciative of every sort of book within the genre.

The Tell-tale Heart

The Tell Tale Heart strips away the myths that have grown up around the life of Edgar Allen Poe, and provides a completely fresh as*sessment of both the man and his work. Symons reveals Poe as his contemporaries saw him a man struggling to make a living out of hack journalism and striving to find a backer for his new magazine, and a man whose life was beset by so many tragedies that he was often driven to excessive drinking and a string of unhealthy relationships. Fittingly written by another master in the art of crime writing, The Tell Tale Heart brilliantly portrays the original creator of the detective story and reveals him as the genius and unashamed plagiarist that he was.

The Thirties

Julian Symons here presents a unique view of the 1930s. Rejecting the standard historical line, he instead examines the decade as an artistic movement using sources as diverse as the Communist Daily Worker and the Fascist Action together with a wealth of contemporary prose and poetry. His sympathetic treatment of the material allows a picture of the hopes and aspirations of Britain’s young artists to emerge, and through this, he poignantly reveals their wilful belief that the social difficulties of the time were necessary as a herald of society’s glorious rebirth.

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