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Famous Like Me > Writer > M > Gladys Mitchell

Profile of Gladys Mitchell on Famous Like Me

Name: Gladys Mitchell  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 19th April 1901
Place of Birth: Cowley, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Gladys Mitchell (April 19, 1901 – July 27, 1983) was an English author best known for her creation of Mrs. Bradley, the heroine of numerous detective novels. She also wrote under the pseudonyms Stephen Hockaby and Malcolm Torrie.


Gladys Maude Winifred Mitchell was born in Cowley, Oxfordshire on April 19, 1901 to James, a market gardener of Scottish parentage, and Annie. She was educated at Rothschild School, Brentford and Green School, Isleworth. From 1919 to 1921 she attended Goldsmiths College and University College, London.

Upon her graduation Mitchell became a teacher of history, English and games at St Paul's School, Brentford until 1925. She then taught at St Anne's Senior Girls School, Ealing until 1939. In 1926 She obtained an external diploma in European History from University College in 1926 and she then began to write novels while continuing to teach. In 1941 she joined Brentford Senior Girls School where she stayed until 1950. After a three year break from teaching she took a job at Matthew Arnold School, Staines, where she taught English and history, coached hurdling and wrote the annual school play until her retirement to Corfe Mullen, Dorset in 1961. She continued to write until her death aged 82 on July 27, 1983.

She was a member of the Middlesex Education Association, the British Olympic Association, the Crime Writers' Association, PEN and the Society of Authors. In 1976 Mitchell received the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger award. Her hobbies included architecture and writing poetry. She studied the works of Sigmund Freud and her interest in witchcraft was encouraged by her friend the detective novellist Helen Simpson. She never married.


Mitchell wrote at least one novel a year throughout her career. Her first novel (Speedy Death, 1929) introduced Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley, a polymathic psychoanalyst and author who featured in a further 65 novels. Her strong views in social and philosophical issues reflected those of her author and her assistant, Laura Menzies, appears to have been something of a self-portrait of the young Mitchell.

Mitchell was an early member of the Detection Club along with G.K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers and throughout the 1930s was believed to be one of the "Big Three women detective writers", but she often challenged and mocked the conventions of the genre - notably in her earliest books, such as the first novel Speedy Death, where Mrs Bradley commits one of the murders, or her parodies of Christie in The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop (1929) and The Saltmarsh Murders (1932). Her plots and settings were unconventional with Freudian psychology, witchcraft (notably in The Devil at Saxon Wall and The Worsted Viper ) and the supernatural (naiads and Nessie, ghosts and Greek gods) as recurrent themes.

In addition to her 66 Mrs. Bradley novels Mitchell also used the pseudonyms of Stephen Hockaby (for a series of historical novels) and Malcolm Torrie (for a series of detective stories featuring an architect named Timothy Herring) and wrote ten children's books under her own name.

Although three posthumously published novels sold well in the 1980s, radio adaptations were made of Speedy Death and The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop (with Mary Wimbush as Mrs Bradley), and a BBC television series of the Mrs. Bradley Mysteries was produced in 1999, only one of her novels (The Rising of the Moon, 1945) is available in paperback. That said, several of her books are available in large print editions, and a collection of hitherto unpublished short stories, Sleuth's Alchemy, was published by Crippen and Landru in 2005. At the date of writing (September 2005), Minnow Press has just republished her extremely rare - and extremely good - 1940 novel Brazen Tongue (with more to follow, one hopes); and Rue Morgue, which has reprinted (among others) the works of Dorothy Bowers and Pamela Branch, is republishing Death at the Opera and When Last I Died. 2005 has been a very good year for Mitchell.

Although critical opinion is divided on her best work, a good opinion of her strengths and style can be obtained from the following books: The Saltmarsh Murders, Death at the Opera (1934), The Devil at Saxon Wall (1935), Come Away, Death (1937), Brazen Tongue (1940), When Last I Died (1941), The Rising of the Moon, Death and the Maiden (1947), The Dancing Druids (1948), The Echoing Strangers (1952), Dance to Your Daddy (1969), Nest of Vipers (1979) and The Greenstone Griffins (1983).


  • Gladys Mitchell, Speedy Death, (London: Gollancz, 1929)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop, (London: Gollancz, 1929)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Longer Bodies, (London: Gollancz, 1930)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Saltmarsh Murders, (London: Gollancz, 1932)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Death at the Opera, (London: Grayson, 1934)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Death at Saxon Wall, (London: Grayson, 1935)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Dead Men's Morris, (London: Michael Joseph, 1936)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Come Away Death, (London: Michael Joseph, 1937)
  • Gladys Mitchell, St Peter's Finger, (London: Michael Joseph, 1938)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Printer's Error, (London: Michael Joseph, 1939)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Brazen Tongue, (London: Michael Joseph, 1940)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Hangman's Curfew, (London: Michael Joseph, 1941)
  • Gladys Mitchell, When Last I Died, (London: Michael Joseph, 1941)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Laurels Are Poison, (London: Michael Joseph, 1942)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Worsted Viper, (London: Michael Joseph, 1943)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Sunset Over Soho, (London: Michael Joseph, 1943)
  • Gladys Mitchell, My Father Sleeps, (London: Michael Joseph, 1944)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Rising of the Moon, (London: Michael Joseph, 1945)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Here Comes a Chopper, (London: Michael Joseph, 1946)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Death and the Maiden, (London: Michael Joseph, 1947)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Dancing Druids, (London: Michael Joseph, 1948)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Tom Brown's Body, (London: Michael Joseph, 1949)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Groaning Spinney, (London: Michael Joseph, 1950)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Devil's Elbow, (London: Michael Joseph, 1951)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Echoing Strangers, (London: Michael Joseph, 1952)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Merlin's Furlong, (London: Michael Joseph, 1953)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Faintley Speaking, (London: Michael Joseph, 1954)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Watson's Choice, (London: Michael Joseph, 1955)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Twelve Horses and the Hangman's Noose, (London: Michael Joseph, 1956)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Twenty-third Man, (London: Michael Joseph, 1957)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Spotted Hemlock, (London: Michael Joseph, 1958)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Man Who Grew Tomatoes, (London: Michael Joseph, 1959)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Say It With Flowers, (London: Michael Joseph, 1960)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Nodding Canaries, (London: Michael Joseph, 1961)
  • Gladys Mitchell, My Bones Will Keep, (London: Michael Joseph, 1962)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Adders on the Heath, (London: Michael Joseph, 1963)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Death of a Delft Blue, (London: Michael Joseph, 1964)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Pageant of Murder, (London: Michael Joseph, 1965)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Croaking Raven, (London: Michael Joseph, 1966)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Skeleton Island, (London: Michael Joseph, 1967)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Three Quick and Five Dead, (London: Michael Joseph, 1968)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Dance to Your Daddy, (London: Michael Joseph, 1969)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Gory Dew, (London: Michael Joseph, 1970)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Lament for Leto, (London: Michael Joseph, 1971)
  • Gladys Mitchell, A Hearse on May-Day, (London: Michael Joseph, 1972)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Murder of Busy Lizzie, (London: Michael Joseph, 1973)
  • Gladys Mitchell, A Javelin for Jonah, (London: Michael Joseph, 1974)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Winking at the Brim, (London: Michael Joseph, 1974)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Convent on Styx, (London: Michael Joseph, 1975)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Late, Late in the Evening, (London: Michael Joseph, 1976)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Noonday and Night, (London: Michael Joseph, 1977)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Fault in the Structure, (London: Michael Joseph, 1977)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Wraiths and Changelings, (London: Michael Joseph, 1978)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Mingled with Venom, (London: Michael Joseph, 1978)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Nest of Vipers, (London: Michael Joseph, 1979)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Mudflats of the Dead, (London: Michael Joseph, 1979)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Uncoffin'd Clay, (London: Michael Joseph, 1980)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Whispering Knights, (London: Michael Joseph, 1980)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Death-Cap Dancers, (London: Michael Joseph, 1981)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Lovers, Make Moan, (London: Michael Joseph, 1981)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Here Lies Gloria Mundy, (London: Michael Joseph, 1982)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Death of a Burrowing Mole, (London: Michael Joseph, 1982)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Greenstone Griffins, (London: Michael Joseph, 1983)
  • Gladys Mitchell, Cold, Lone and Still, (London: Michael Joseph, 1983)
  • Gladys Mitchell, No Winding-Sheet, (London: Michael Joseph, 1984)
  • Gladys Mitchell, The Crozier Pharaohs, (London: Michael Joseph, 1984)
  • Malcolm Torrie, Heavy as Lead, (London: Michael Joseph, 1966)
  • Malcolm Torrie, Late and Cold, (London: Michael Joseph, 1967)
  • Malcolm Torrie, My Secret Friend, (London: Michael Joseph, 1968)
  • Malcolm Torrie, Churchyard Salad, (London: Michael Joseph, 1969)
  • Malcolm Torrie, Shades of Darkness, (London: Michael Joseph, 1970)
  • Malcolm Torrie, Bismarck Herrings, (London: Michael Joseph, 1971)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Gladys Mitchell