1 minute read

Brian Masters Biography

(1939– ), The Dukes, Now Barabbas was a Rotter, The Passion of John Aspinall, Killing for Company

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Harriet Martineau Biography to John McTaggart (John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart) Biography

British writer, born in London, the son of Cockney parents, educated at University College Cardiff and the University of Montpelier in France. Having written several studies on French authors, Masters became interested in the aristocracy through his friendship with the Marquess of Londonderry and went on to write The Dukes (1975), a history of the origin and ennoblement of all the dukedoms. Several biographies followed, including Now Barabbas was a Rotter (1978), a life of Marie Corelli, and a highly acclaimed life of E. F. Benson (1991). The Passion of John Aspinall (1988), about the gambler and zoo-keeper, involved the author in many hours of research in a cage of gorillas. Masters attracted wide attention with Killing for Company (1985; Gold Dagger Award for non-fiction), an objective and humane account of the mass-murderer Dennis Neilsen which Beryl Bainbridge described as ‘a bloody masterpiece’. Murder was also the subject of The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer (1993), about the US serial-killer and cannibal convicted in 1991, while On Murder (1994) considers the phenomenon chiefly with regard to the psychology of motivation and predisposition; The Evil that Men Do appeared in 1996. Masters has been praised for his elegant prose, his meticulous research, and the compassion with which he treats his subjects.

Additional topics