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Gladys Mitchell

A Short Biography

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Gladys Mitchell
Gladys Maude Winifred Mitchell was born in Oxfordshire on 19th April 1901, to James and Annie Mitchell who were of Scottish origin. Her initial schooling was at the Rothschild School in Brentford and later the Green School in Isleworth. In 1921, Mitchell went to Goldsmith's College in london were she remained until she graduated and took a post at St Paul's School in Brentford, teaching history and English until 1925.

It was after a move to St Anne's Senior Girls School in Ealing that, at the age of 28, she began her literary career. Mitchell maintained her teaching career and despite the obvious pressures of time, still managed to produce at least one novel a year.
Her main series character was Mrs Beatrice Bradley, who appeared in her first novel Speedy Death and subsequently in over 60 more. Gladys Mitchell Devil at Saxon Wall Mitchell was given to eccentric story lines and backgrounds with witchcraft, esoteric legends and the supernatural featuring heavily throughout her work.
Her finest hour was probably The Rising of the Moon, although The Saltmarsh Murders and Watson's Choice are also strong contenders. With 66 novels under her belt, it is inevitable that a variance in quality will exist, although she was certainly not as inconsistent as many in the genre. Mitchell's work, it is fair to say, is an acquired taste but Mitchell has a very strong following, though mainly in the UK as many of her books were not published in America.
Some mention needs to be made of the striking jackets that, after escaping the horrors of the Gollancz 'yellow jackets', benefitted so many of the early books. Many of them can be view in the bibliography

She also wrote under the pseudonyms of Stephen Hockaby and Malcolm Torrie, as well as writing ten children's books under her own name. Gladys Mitchell passed away on 27th July 1983, at the age of 82. Michael Joseph subsequently published three posthumous novels which all sold well, confirming her continuing popularity.

© 1983 The Times

Gladys Mitchell Bibliography     Gladys Mitchell Obituary     Dame Beatrice Bradley


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