Again the Three Just Men

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Books for Libraries Press, 1970 - Fiction - 304 pages
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About the author (1970)

Among the most prolific of all authors of adventure fiction was the redoubtable Edgar Wallace. Born in London, Wallace received his early education at St. Peter's School and the Board School. Wallace served in the Royal West Kent Regiment in England and later as part of the Medical Staff Corps stationed in South Africa. During World War I, Wallace acted as a special interrogator for the War Office. As was the case with a number of successful popular authors, Wallace experienced a rich and diverse life before turning to professional writing. From 1886 to the 1930s, he worked in a printing shop, a shoe shop, and a rubber factory, and served as a merchant sailor and milk deliverer. Beginning in 1899, Wallace became a journalist and wrote variously for the London Daily Mail and the Rand Daily News, among others; he also worked with the racing periodicals, having founded two of them---Bibury's Weekly and R. E. Walton's Weekly. Like Sax Rohmer, Wallace earned a fortune from his writings, yet, because of a lack of business sense and a tendency to overspend, he died in debt. A prodigious writer of fiction, Wallace published, over the course of his professional life, some 173 books and wrote 17 plays. Many of his adventure narratives featured elements of crime or mystery, but they all thrived on action. Although Wallace's handling of plot was superb and he was respected for his ability to blend suspense with humor, he was less successful with his characters, who tended to be two-dimensional and stereotyped. One of his early crime adventures, The Four Just Men (1906), introduced what was to become a trademark for Wallace---lurid sensationalism coupled with dramatic violence. Wallace published in a wide range of genres, including poetry, short fiction, autobiography, and epic political history. Regrettably, much of what he wrote has lapsed into obscurity today. As sometimes is the problem with popular fiction, perhaps it was too hurriedly written---too intimately connected with its contemporary audience---to stand the ultimate test of time. But Wallace's work was highly influential, especially in the American pulp magazine markets of the Great Depression, and stands today, despite its many flaws, as some of the most effective literary adventures ever written.

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