Ursula Torday

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Ursula Torday
Born (1912-02-19)19 February 1912
London, UK
Died 1997 (aged 84–85)
Pen name Ursula Torday,
Paula Allardyce,
Charity Blackstock,
Lee Blackstock,
Charlotte Keppel
Occupation Novelist
Language English
Nationality British
Period 1935–82
Genre Gothic, romance, mystery
Notable awards RoNA Award

Ursula Torday[pronunciation?] (1912–1997), was a British writer of some 60 gothic, romance and mystery novels. She also used the pseudonyms of Paula Allardyce[pronunciation?], Charity Blackstock, Lee Blackstock, and Charlotte Keppel. In 1961, her novel Witches' Sabbath won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the Romantic Novelists' Association[1]


Personal life[edit]

Ursula Torday was born on 19 February 1912[2] (in some sources 1888) in London, England, United Kingdom,[3] daughter of mixed parents,[4] her mother was Scottish and her father Emil Torday (anthropologist; 1875 - 1931) was Hungarian. She studied at Kensington High School in London, before went to the Oxford University, where she obteined a BA in English at Lady Margaret Hall College, and later a Social Science Certificate at London School of Economics.[5]

Ursula Torday died in 1997.[6]


In the 1930s, she published her first three novels under her real name: Ursula Torday. During World War II, she worked as a probation officer for the Citizen's Advice Bureau. During the next seven years she also ran a refugee scheme for Jewish children, inspiration for several of her future novels like, The Briar Patch (aka Young Lucifer) and The Children (aka Wednesday's Children) as Charity Blackstock. She worked as a typist at the National Central Library in London,[5] inspiration for her future novel Dewey Death as Charity Blackstock.[4] She also taught English to adult students.

She returned to publishing in the early 1950s using the pen names of Paula Allardyce or Charity Blackstock (in some cases reedited as Lee Blackstock in the USA) to sign her gothic romance and mystery novels. Later, she also used the pen name Charlotte Keppel.

Her novel Miss Fenny (aka The Woman in the Woods) as Charity (or Lee) Blackstock was nominated for an Edgar Award. In 1961, her novel Witches' Sabbath won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the Romantic Novelists' Association[1]


As Ursula Torday[edit]


  • The Ballad-Maker of Paris (1935)
  • No Peace for the Wicked (1937)
  • The Mirror of the Sun (1938)

As Paula Allardyce[edit]


  • After the Lady (1954)
  • A Game of Hazard (1955)
  • The Doctor's Daughter (1955)
  • Adam and Evelina (1956)
  • The Man of Wrath (1958)
  • Southarn Folly(1957)
  • The Lady and the Pirate (1957) aka The Vixen's Revenge (US title)
  • Beloved Enemy (1958)
  • My Dear Miss Emma (1958)
  • A Marriage Has Been Arranged (1959)
  • Death My Lover (1959)
  • Johnny Danger (1960) aka The Rebel Lover (US title)
  • Witches' Sabbath (1961)
  • The Gentle Highwayman (1961) aka The Rogue's Lady (US title)
  • Adam's Rib (1963) aka Legacy of Pride (US title)
  • The Respectable Miss Parkington-Smith (1964) aka Paradise Row (US title)
  • Octavia: Or the Trials of a Romantic Novelist (1965)
  • The Moonlighters (1966) Gentleman Rogue (US title)
  • Six Passengers for the Sweet Bird (1967)
  • Waiting at the Church (1968) aka Emily (US title)
  • The Ghost of Archie Gilroy (1970) aka Shadowed Love (US title)
  • Miss Jonas's Boy (1972) aka Eliza (US title)
  • The Gentle Sex (1974)
  • The Carradine Affair (1976)
  • Miss Philadelphia Smith (1977)
  • Haunting Me (1978)

As Charity Blackstock[edit]


  • Dewey Death (1956)
  • Miss Fenny (1957) aka The Woman in the Woods (US title)
  • The Foggy, Foggy Dew (1958)
  • The Shadow of Murder (1958) aka All Men Are Murderers as Lee Blackstock (US title)
  • The Bitter Conquest (1959)
  • The Briar Patch (1960) aka Young Lucifer as Ursula Torday (US title)
  • The Exorcism (1961) aka A House Possessed (US title)
  • The Gallant (1962)
  • Mr. Christopoulos (1963)
  • The Factor's Wife (1964) aka The English Wife (US title)
  • When the Sun Goes Down (1965) aka Monkey on a Chain (US title)
  • The Knock at Midnight (1966)
  • The Children (1966) aka Wednesday's Children (US title)
  • Party in Dolly Creek (1967) aka The Widow (US title)
  • The Melon in the Cornfield (1969) aka The Lemmings (US title)
  • The Daughter (1970)
  • The Encounter (1971)
  • The Jungle (1972)
  • The Lonely Strangers (1972)
  • People in Glass Houses (1975)
  • Ghost Town (1976)
  • I Met Murder on the Way (1977) aka The Shirt Front (US title)
  • Miss Charley (1979)
  • Dream Towers (1980)
  • With Fondest Thoughts (1980)

As Charlotte Keppel[edit]


  • Madam, You Must Die (1974) aka Loving Sands, Deadly Sands (US title)
  • When I Say Goodbye, I'm Clary Brown (1976) My name is Clary Brown (US title)
  • I Could Be Good to You (1980)
  • The Villains (1980)
  • The Ghosts of Fontenoy (1981)
  • The Flag Captain (1982)

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Awards by the Romantic Novelists' Association, 27 July 2012 
  2. ^ a b International Biographical Centre (1990), The World Who's Who of Women, Melrose Press. 
  3. ^ Who Was Who Among English and European Authors, 1931–1949, Gale Research Company, 1978, p. 1564 
  4. ^ a b Kenneth Ridley Richardson; Robert Clive Willis (1969), Twentieth century writing, Newnes, p. 751 
  5. ^ a b James Vinson; D. L. Kirkpatrick (1982), Twentieth-century romance and gothic writers, Gale Research, p. 898 
  6. ^ Ursula Torday at Library of Congress, 27 July 2012 
  7. ^ Paula Allardyce at FantasticFiction, 27 July 2012 
  8. ^ Charity Blackstock at FantasticFiction, 27 July 2012 
  9. ^ Charlotte Keppel at FantasticFiction, 27 July 2012