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Philip Macdonald Biography

(1899–1981), Rebecca, The Rasp, The White Crow, The Link, The Nursemaid Who Disappeared, Warrant for X

British crime writer, grandson of George MacDonald, born in London; he served in Mesopotamia in a cavalry regiment in the First World War, and in 1931 moved to Hollywood where he worked as a scriptwriter—working on, among many other films, Alfred Hitchcock's version of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca—and bred Great Danes. One of the many detective story writers who appeared in the 1920s, he brought out his first novel, The Rasp, in 1924; its hero, who was to appear in most of his books, is Colonel Anthony Gethryn. Others are The White Crow (1929), The Link (1930), and The Nursemaid Who Disappeared (1938; US title Warrant for X). Of his other crime stories the best are Rynox (1930; also entitled The Rynox Mystery; US title The Rynox Murder Mystery) and X v Rex (1933, originally published under the pseudonym of Martin Porlock; also entitled The Mystery of Mr X; US title Mystery of the Dead Police). His last Gethryn novel, The List of Adrian Messenger (1959), was made into a film by John Huston.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Earl Lovelace Biography to Madmen and Specialists