GDH and M Cole Biography - Information About
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GDH and M Cole

A Short Biography

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George Douglas Howard Cole and Margaret Cole were a husband and wife team responsible for twenty-eight detective fiction novels and four short story collections. Although the books are jointly credited, it seems they took turns to write each book, as opposed to collaborating on each one. The exact authorship of each particular book has not, so far as I am aware, been established.

George, born on 25 September 1889, was an eminent scholar, having studied at St Paul's School, London and later at Balliol College, Oxford. He was a noted left-wing economist and wrote extensively on the subject. Given the nature of the site, however, we shall confine ourselves to the criminous output.
Margaret Cole was born on 6 May 1893 and was the sister of the author Raymond Postgate. She too followed a successful academic career, initially educated at Roedean before going on to Girton College, Cambridge. They married in 1918 and the first crime fiction novel appeared in 1923. The Brooklyn Murders was published by Collins and accredited to George. Subsequently, future novels were credited with joint authorship.

Their work was consistent, although not particularly outstanding when compared to some other authors of the period. This is even acknowledged by Margaret Cole in her biography of her husband's life. Reference to their crime fiction works merited a mere two pages. The Coles, it seems, considered it more of a hobby than a serious venture, indeed describing their efforts as "competent but not more".
Their characters were somewhat uninspiring and plot lines were often fatally flawed. As with many 'second division' authors of the time, they do, however, give a snapshot of the golden age time and atmosphere. The Coles used several series characters, though none really warrant specific discussion or merit.

The popularity of the Coles today owes much to the fact that the majority of their early work was published by Collins under the Crime Club imprint, benefitting also from some very attractive dust wrapper artwork.

© R.D. Collins 2004

GDH and M Cole Bibliography


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