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
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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