J. Jefferson Farjeon

Joseph Jefferson Farjeon (4 June 1883 – 6 June 1955) was an English crime and mystery novelist, playwright and screenwriter. The grandson of the American actor Joseph Jefferson, his brothers were Herbert, a dramatist and scholar, and Harry, who became a composer. His sister Eleanor became a renowned children's author. One of Farjeon's best known works was a play, Number 17, which was made into a number of films, including Number Seventeen (1932) directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and joined the UK Penguin Crime series as a novel in 1939. He also wrote the screenplay for Michael Powell's My Friend the King (1932) and provided the story for Bernard Vorhaus's The Ghost Camera (1933). Farjeon's crime novels were admired by Dorothy L. Sayers, who called him "unsurpassed for creepy skill in mysterious adventures." His obituarist in The Times talked on "ingenious and entertaining plots and characterization." The Saturday Review of Literature called Death in the Inkwell (1942) an "amusing, satirical, and frequently hair-raising yarn of an author who got dangerously mixed up with his imaginary characters." Most of Farjeon's works had been forgotten, but the figure of Ben in Number 17 appeared again in a string of novels, including Ben on the Job , reissued in 1955 and 1985. All seven 'Ben' novels were republished in 2016 by Harper Collins. In 2014 the British Library reissued Mystery in White: A Christmas Crime Story (1937), and then two further novels, Thirteen Guests (1936) and The Z Murders (1932). Mystery in White is also one of at least three of his novels to have appeared in Italian and French editions, as well as recent German, Spanish, Polish and Russian translations. Seven Dead (1939) has now been reissued by British Library Publishing.
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