Henry Wade was the pseudonym of Henry Lancelot Aubrey-Fletcher, who was born in Surrey, England,
on 10 September 1887. He was educated at Eton and then New College, Oxford. As well as academic
success, Wade also had a distinguished military career, serving in World War 1. He was mentioned
in despatches twice, awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Croix de Guerre.
In 1925, he served as High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire.
Wade was a major figure in the development of the Golden Age period, writing twenty novels and two story collections. He did not receive the immediate credit and respect he deserved. Indeed, seven of his books were not even published in America. His first novel, The Verdict of you all, was published in 1926 by Constable, and he continued to produce a novel a year for the next thirty years (except for the World War 2 years). Of his early work, The Duke of York's Steps merits particular attention, as do The Dying Alderman and Mist on the Saltings. Wade's work was always tightly plotted, skilfully written and extremely atmospheric.
His penultimate novel is perhaps his best. A Dying Fall is superbly written, with very strong and deeply developed characters. The fact that it was published in 1955, nearly 30 years after his first novel serves only to enhance his reputation. The novel also, famously, did not reveal the solution until the very last line.
Henry Lancelot Aubrey-Fletcher, 6th Baronet, passed away in 1969 leaving us a fine literary legacy. Very few of his contempories can claim to have achieved Wade's level of quality and consistency. Although Wade did not enjoy the recognition he deserved during the early part of his career, he did enjoy something of a revival in the latter part, as readers and collectors discovered his early work. Henry Wade comes highly recommended to both the reader and the collector despite the fact that he remains, unjustly, in the shadow of some, frankly inferior, Golden Age authors.
Text © 2004 R.D. Collins
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