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Robert Barnard

November 23 marks the birthday of mystery writer, critic, scholar, and lecturer Robert Barnard.  Born in Essex, England, in 1936, he was educated at the Royal Grammar School in Colchester and Balliol College in Oxford.  He spent most of his younger life in academia while slowly but steadily building a reputation for himself as a crime fiction writer. 

Barnard published his first crime novel, Death of an Old Goat, in 1974 while he was teaching English at the University of Tromso in Norway, which lays chilly claim to being the most northernmost university in the world. 

Since then, Barnard has written numerous short stories and more than thirty crime novels, including A Scandal in Belgravia (1991), The Mistress of Alderley (1992), The Bones in the Attic (2001), and The Graveyard Position (2004).  His detectives include Scotland Yard's Perry Trethowan and Yorkshire constable Charlie Peace.  Barnard also writes historical crime novels under the name of Bernard Bastable, many of which feature musical prodigy Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart as a detective.

Barnard has no pretense about his writing, which he claims exists purely for its entertainment value.  He often lectures on the subject of Agatha Christie, whom he views as the  ideal crime writer, and he has published an appreciation of her work, A Talent To Deceive (1980), as well as books on Dickens and a history of English literature.

Robert Barnard currently lives with his wife, Louise, in Yorkshire, England, the setting for many of his novels.  He is the winner of the 2003 Cartier Diamond Dagger, Britainís most prestigious mystery award, for a lifetime of achievement.  He has also won the Nero Wolfe Award, the Anthony Award, the Agatha Award, the Macavity Award, and is an eight-time nominee for the Edgar.

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