|Born||Edith Mary Pargeter
28 September 1913
Horsehay, Shropshire, England
|Died||14 October 1995 (aged 82)
|Pen name||Ellis Peters; John Redfern; Jolyon Carr; Peter Benedict|
|Education||Dawley Church of England School; Coalbrookdale High School for Girls|
|Genres||historical fiction; mysteries; nonfiction works about Shrewsbury; translations from the Czech|
|Notable work(s)||"The Brother Cadfael Chronicles"; the George Felse mysteries; the "Heaven Tree" trilogy|
|Notable award(s)||OBE; British Crime Writers Association; Mystery Writers of America|
Edith Mary Pargeter, OBE, BEM (28 September 1913 – 14 October 1995), also known by her nom de plume Ellis Peters, was a British author of works in many categories, especially history and historical fiction, and was also honoured for her translations of Czech classics; she is probably best known for her murder mysteries, both historical and modern.
Pargeter was born in the village of Horsehay (Shropshire, England). Her father was a clerk at a local ironworks. She was educated at Dawley Church of England School and the old Coalbrookdale High School for Girls. She had Welsh ancestry, and many of her short stories and books (both fictional and non-fictional) are set in Wales and its borderlands, and/or have Welsh protagonists.
During World War II, she worked in an administrative role in the Women's Royal Naval Service (the "Wrens")—and reached the rank of petty officer by 1 January 1944 when she was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year Honours.
In 1947 Pargeter visited Czechoslovakia and became fascinated by the Czech language and culture. She became fluent in Czech and published award-winning translations of Czech poetry and prose into English.
She devoted the rest of her life to writing, both nonfiction and well-researched fiction. She never attended college but became a self-taught scholar in areas that interested her, especially Shropshire and Wales. Birmingham University gave her an honorary master's degree.
Pargeter wrote under a number of pseudonyms; it was under the name Ellis Peters that she wrote crime stories, especially the highly popular series of Brother Cadfael medieval mysteries, many of which were made into films for television. The Brother Cadfael Chronicles drew international attention to Shrewsbury and its history, and greatly increased tourism to the town.
She died in 1995 at the age of 82 following a stroke in Shrewsbury, her lifelong home. In 1997 a new stained glass window depicting St Benedict was installed in Shrewsbury Abbey and was dedicated to the memory of Edith Pargeter.
In 1993 she won the Cartier Diamond Dagger, an annual award given by the Crime Writers' Association of Great Britain to authors who have made an outstanding lifetime's contribution to the field of crime and mystery writing.
As Edith Pargeter 
The Heaven Tree Trilogy 
- The Heaven Tree (1960)
- The Green Branch (1962) (1230 William De Braose, a Norman Marcher Lord was hanged for an affair with Joan, lady of Wales, the wife of Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth.)
- The Scarlet Seed (1963)
The Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet 
Four novels about Llewelyn the Last:
- Sunrise in the West (1974)
- The Dragon at Noonday (1975)
- The Hounds of Sunset (1976)
- Afterglow and Nightfall (1977)
- Hortensius, Friend of Nero (1936)
- Iron-Bound (1936)
- The City Lies Four-Square (1939)
- Ordinary People (1941) (aka People of My Own)
- She Goes to War (1942)
- The Eighth Champion of Christendom (1945)
- "Reluctant Odyssey" (1946)
- "Warfare Accomplished" (1947)
- The Fair Young Phoenix (1948)
- By Firelight (1948) (US title: By This Strange Fire)
- The Coast of Bohemia (1950) (non-fiction: an account of a journey in Czechoslovakia)
- Lost Children (1951)
- Holiday With Violence (1952)
- Most Loving Mere Folly (1953)
- The Rough Magic (1953)
- The Soldier at the Door (1954)
- A Means of Grace (1956)
- The Assize of the Dying (1958) (short stories)
- A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury (1972) (US title: The Bloody Field)
- The Marriage of Meggotta (1979) (about Margaret de Burgh, daughter of Hubert de Burgh, 2nd earl of Kent, who saved Prince Arthur the first time King John tried to have him killed)
As "Ellis Peters" 
George Felse and Family 
- Fallen into the Pit (1951)
- Death and the Joyful Woman (1961) (Edgar Award for Best Novel, 1963)
- Flight of a Witch (1964)
- A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs (1965) (US title: Who Lies Here?)
- The Piper on the Mountain (1966)
- Black is the Colour of my True Love's Heart (1967)
- The Grass-Widow's Tale (1968)
- The House of Green Turf (1969)
- Mourning Raga (1969)
- The Knocker on Death's Door (1970)
- Death to the Landlords! (1972)
- City of Gold and Shadows (1973)
- Rainbow's End (1978)
Brother Cadfael 
See The Cadfael Chronicles for the full list of books and stories, plus radio and TV adaptations.
- Death Mask (1959)
- The Will and the Deed (1960) (US title: Where There's a Will)
- Funeral of Figaro (1962)
- The Horn of Roland (1974)
- Never Pick Up Hitchhikers! (1976)
- Strongholds and Sanctuaries : The Borderland of England and Wales (non-fiction, with Roy Morgan) (1993)
As "John Redfern" 
- The Victim Needs a Nurse (c.1940)
As "Jolyon Carr" 
- Murder in the Dispensary (1938)
- Freedom for Two (1939)
- Masters of the Parachute Mail (1940)
- Death Comes by Post (1940)
As "Peter Benedict" 
- Day Star (1937)
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 1943. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- The London Gazette: . 30 December 1993. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- Songer, Marcia J. "The Ultimate Penance of Brother Cadfael." CLUES: A Journal of Detection 23.4 (Summer 2005): 63-68
External resources 
- Works by or about Edith Pargeter in libraries (WorldCat catalog) Ellis Peters
- Works by or about Edith Pargeter in libraries (WorldCat catalog) Edith Pargeter
- Ellis Peters Books
- Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the first Prince of Wales
- Borderlands: the crime fiction of Ellis Peters, by Martin Edwards (author)