Ink Never Fades

London, Reading & Writing

But writers do.

I found this plaque on a corner of Fleet Street (click to enlarge), and loved the sentiments expressed on it. There’s a pub bearing his name a little further on (no greater english accolade!) but who even remembers Edgar Wallace now?

Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (April 1, 1875 – February 10, 1932) was an English crime writer, journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and playwright, who wrote 175 novels, 24 plays, and numerous articles in newspapers and journals. He was the author of ‘King Kong’, and over 160 films have been made of his novels, more than any other author. In the 1920s, one of Wallace’s publishers claimed that a quarter of all books read in England were written by him.

Now he lives on in a pub and a plaque. Oh, Ozymandias…there’s a lesson for us all here, I think.

7 comments on “Ink Never Fades”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    When I was young, Edgar Wallace was very popular, although classed as pulp fiction because it was crime writing, not high class detectives like Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. I don’t think I’ve read anything of his, except King Kong. There is a fantastic version with illustrations by Antony Browne.

  2. Anne Fernie says:

    I went through a real phase of collecting (and reading) these clunky old thrillers: Hornung (‘Raffles’); Sydney Horler (and his women ‘with allure’); Wallace etc and slightly up the rungs to Maugham’s ‘Ashenden’ & Buchan’s ‘Hannay’ stories. Even better was finding the Wallaces in the Hodder & Stoughton ‘Yellowjacket’ editions whose covers are unsurpassed for vintage 50s/early 60s tat-style. They were like a mug of tea and buttered toast – everyone was an ex officer whose valet was their ex army batman; everyone had a club and sets in Albany; all foreigners were suspect and all the women were ‘good eggs’ (or ‘chaps’) who ‘braced up’ under duress. All horribly un-PC now I guess……………

  3. Helen Martin says:

    John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, was the Governor General of Canada at the start of WWII and he died here in 1941. He wrote a Canadian story called Breakheart River (I think) which wasn’t his best. I read quite a few of his which fit in along with the other imaginary European country books or with the spy books.

  4. J F Norris says:

    Would that lesson be: Fame is Fleet-ing?

    Lucky for me this is the inernet and I can dodge all he
    rotten vegetables (or maybe snowballs) you’d no doubt like to toss at me.

    P.S. Wallace’s contribution to King Kong has been shown to be rather minimal according to cinema historians. But his whiz bang contribuitons to crime fiction far outweigh the giant ape. Surely he fueled the imaginations of many who followed him. J.G. Reeder is one of his best creations, I think. Others say the Colonel Sanders stories are where Wallace truly shines.

  5. Helen Martin says:

    If you mean that his contributions to the film version were minimal I’ll go along with your greater knowledge, but he wrote the book.

  6. Ken M says:

    Still quite well known in Germany I believe. I would draw your attention to the film “the devil’s daffodil” made in 1961 in both German and English versions simultaneously. The same character is played by Klaus Kinski in one and Colin Jeavons in the other.

  7. Gordon Sabaduquia says:

    Four Edgar Wallace short stories “The Mind of Mr JG Reeder” read by the wonderful actor David Horovitch were re-broadcast less than 2 months ago on BBC 7.

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