A classic mystery for the festive season- mulled wine, mince pies...and murder.
Francis Duncan is the pseudonym for William Underhill, who was born
in 1918. He lived virtually all his life in Bristol and was a
'scholarship boy' boarder at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital school. Due
to family circumstances he was unable to go to university and
started work in the Housing Department of Bristol City Council.
Writing was always important to him and very early on he published
articles in newspapers and magazines. His first detective story was
published in 1936.
In 1938 he married Sylvia Henly. Although a conscientious objector, he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in World War II, landing in France shortly after D-Day. After the war he trained as a teacher and spent the rest of his life in education, first as a primary school teacher and then as a lecturer in a college of further education. In the 1950s he studied for an external economics degree from London University. No mean feat with a family to support; his daughter, Kathryn, was born in 1943 and his son, Derek, in 1949.
Throughout much of this time he continued to write detective fiction from 'sheer inner necessity', but also to supplement a modest income. He enjoyed foreign travel, particularly to France, and took up golf on retirement. He died of a heart attack shortly after celebrating his fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1988.
The book nods towards Agatha Christie but retains a
crackling atmosphere of dread and horror that will chill the heart
however warm your fireside -- Claire Allfree * Metro *
Kept guessing to the end, I am left wondering why it has taken so long to discover Francis Duncan [...] With some 20 crime novels to his credit, a relaunch seems long overdue. -- Barry Turner * Daily Mail *
A classic murder mystery * Bookseller *
This is a bah-humbug's ideal read * Lady *
A wonderfully cosy read and a great way to while away a winter's evening -- Erin Britton * Nudge *