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Symons, Julian

death murder advertising

(British, 1912–94)

Born in London, Symons was an advertising copywriter before becoming a full-time writer in the late 1940s. The Thirty-First of February (1950) is a good introduction to his prolific output of sophisticated crime novels. It concerns an advertising man who is wrongfully accused of his wife's murder. Although he escapes prosecution, career stress and police harassment drive him to insanity. The Blackheath Poisonings (1978) is one of a number of his books with Victorian or Edwardian settings. Following the death from alleged food-poisoning of businessman Roger Vandervent, his son Paul conducts investigations which lead to revelations of secret vice and blackmail in his family. The murder of a prostitute in A Sort of Virtue (1996) begins a chain of events involving disclosures of corruption at senior government levels and the suspicious death of a home secretary.

Patricia Highsmith, John Creasey  DH

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