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Pseudonym of Alfred Alexander Gordon Clark, English
lawyer, judge, and mystery writer; creator of Francis Pettigrew.
Born in Mickleham, Clark spent most of his formative years in
the country, where he learned to hunt, shoot, and fish, but he
was never an avid sportsman. He was educated at Rugby, where he
won a prize for English verse. He also attended New College, Oxford,
where he received a coveted first in history Family tradition
dictated a legal career,
and Clark was called to the bar in 1924. He joined the chambers of famed lawyer Ronald Oliver and practiced in the civil and criminal courts in and around London.
Clark was married in 1933 and settled in Cyril
Mansions, Battersea. At the time, he was employed
in Hare Court, Temple. These names - as well as a far from adequate income - suggested the pseudonym he used in his literary endeavors.
Clark's first efforts were short, flippant sketches for Punch; later stories and articles were published in Illustrated London News and The Law Journal. In 1936 he wrote his first full-length detective novel, Tenant for Death. The following year, while embroiled in defending a suspected larcenist in court, he was informed that the book had been accepted for publication. Tenant for Death (1937) was called an engaging debut by Jacques Barzun and Wendell Hertig Taylor in A Catalogue of Crime. It concerns the disappearance of a financier-named Ballantine, who turns up as a strangled corpse in an empty and obscure house in South Kensington.
During the early days of World War II Clark toured
as a judge's marshal, an experience that pro-
vided the basic material for Tragedy at Law (1942). In 1942 he was employed as a civil servant in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. He served with the Ministry of Economic Warfare dur- ing the last part of the war. This position served as the inspiration for With a Bare Bodkin (1946).
Clark reached the summit of his profession in 1950, when he was appointed county court judge in his native Surrey. He traveled the circuit trying civil cases and spent his spare time writing fiction.
Aside from his judicial career and his too-infre- quent detective stories, Clark was a noted public speaker whose services were always in demand by widely varying groups. His ccupation and numer- ous outside activities, plus his inability to use a typewriter and "constitutional and incurable indo- lence, " curtailed his literary production to nine nov- els and a group of short stories.Information source: wikipedia