Elleston Trevor

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Elleston Trevor (17 February 1920[1] – 21 July 1995) was a British novelist and playwright who wrote under several pseudonyms. Born Trevor Dudley-Smith, he eventually changed his name to Elleston Trevor.[2] Trevor worked in many genres, but is principally remembered for his 1964 adventure story The Flight of the Phoenix, written as Elleston Trevor, and for a series of Cold War thrillers featuring the British secret agent Quiller, written under the pseudonym Adam Hall.

He also wrote as Simon Rattray, Howard North, Roger Fitzalan, Mansell Black, Trevor Burgess, Warwick Scott, Caesar Smith and Lesley Stone.

Life and work[edit]

Born Trevor-Dudley Smith in Bromley, Kent, he lived in Spain and France before moving in 1973 to the United States, where he lived in Phoenix, Arizona. He was married and had a son Jean Pierre Trevor. He was proficient in karate.

Writing[edit]

The Quiller series focuses on a solitary, highly capable spy (named after Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch) who works (generally alone) for a government bureau that "doesn't exist" and narrates his own adventures. Quiller (not his real name) occupies a literary middle ground between James Bond and John le Carré. He is a skilled driver, pilot, diver, and linguist, but does not carry a gun. Regarded by his superiors as "reliable under torture", Quiller is often given dangerous disinformation missions where he is to be captured, tortured by the enemy, then reveal false information that will trick the other side into undermining their own scheme.

The series is very stylized, featuring intense depictions of spy tradecraft and professional relationships, surprising jump cuts between chapters, and deep, sometimes self-pitying interior monologues. The first of the Quiller novels, The Berlin Memorandum (1965) (retitled The Quiller Memorandum in the US) won an Edgar Award, from the Mystery Writers of America, for Best Novel. It was filmed in 1966 under its US title with a screenplay by Harold Pinter and starred George Segal and Alec Guinness. It was also adapted into a 1975 British television series, featuring Michael Jayston.

As "Simon Rattray," he wrote mystery novels featuring Hugo Bishop, a brilliant man who, like Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, solved crimes as a kind of mental challenge. The first Bishop novel, Knight Sinister, appeared in 1951; five more followed, the last appearing in 1957. (These have later been republished under the Adam Hall byline.) That Trevor could also be very effective in the straight, non-mystery genre is shown by The Billboard Madonna (1961): the protagonist accidentally kills a beautiful woman in a car crash, and is obsessively compelled to memorialize her.

Under the name "Adam Hall," he also wrote "The Volcanoes of San Domingo" about a mysterious plane crash off the coast of San Domingo and the efforts to uncover what really happened. When alerted by a report indicating that one of the crew members had been seen alive, "Rayner," an employee of the airline, is sent to investigate.

He also wrote children's books about the character "Wumpus", a koala bear, and his friends, including Flip Flap, the penguin. Titles included Wumpus (published 1945, by Gerald G. Swan), and More about Wumpus (published 1947). Other children's books include Scamper-Foot the Pine Marten, Ripple-Swim the Otter, and the Woodlander series (Deep Wood, Green Glade, Sweethallow Valley, Badger's Moon, Badger's Beech, Badger's Wood, Mole's Castle and Panic in the Woodland).

His book "The Big Pick-Up" was one of the stories on which the 1958 film Dunkirk was based.

Trevor also wrote radio plays for the BBC.[3]

Reception[edit]

Works[edit]

Quiller novels as by Adam Hall[edit]

  • The Berlin/Quiller Memorandum (1965); republished as The Quiller Memorandum
  • The 9th Directive (1966)
  • The Striker Portfolio (1968)
  • The Warsaw Document (1971)
  • The Tango Briefing (1973)
  • The Mandarin Cypher (1975)
  • The Kobra Manifesto (1976)
  • The Sinkiang Executive (1978)
  • The Scorpion Signal (1979)
  • The Pekin Target (1981); published in the U.S. as The Peking Target (1982)
  • Northlight (1985); published in the U.S. as Quiller
  • Quiller's Run (1988)
  • Quiller KGB (1989)
  • Quiller Barracuda (1990)
  • Quiller Bamboo (1991)
  • Quiller Solitaire (1992)
  • Quiller Meridian (1993)
  • Quiller Salamander (1994)
  • Quiller Balalaika (1996)

Quiller short fiction as by Adam Hall[edit]

  • "Last Rites", published in the April 1986 issue of Espionage Magazine

Non-Quiller novels as by Adam Hall[edit]

  • The Volcanoes of San Domingo (1963)
  • The Sibling (1979), published in the U.K. as by Elleston Trevor (1981); later reissued in the U.S. as by Elleston Trevor

Also see:

  • A Blaze of Arms (1967) as by "Roger Fitzalan", later published in the UK as by Adam Hall
  • The "Simon Rattray" novels listed below

Novels as by Mansell Black[edit]

  • Dead on Course (1951)
  • Sinister Cargo (1951)
  • Shadow of Evil (1953)
  • Steps in the Dark (1954)

Children's books as by Trevor Burgess[edit]

  • A Spy at Monk's Court (1949)
  • Mystery of the Missing Book (1950)
  • The Racing Wraith (1953)

Novels as by Trevor Dudley-Smith[edit]

  • Over the Wall (1943)
  • Double Who Double Crossed (1944)
  • Escape to Fear (1948)
  • Now Try the Morgue (1948)

Children's books as by Trevor Dudley-Smith[edit]

  • Into the Happy Glade (1943)
  • By a Silver Stream (1944)

Novel as by Roger Fitzalan[edit]

  • A Blaze of Arms (1967); later published in the UK as by Adam Hall

Novel as by Howard North[edit]

  • Expressway (1973); reissued in the U.S. and U.K. in paperback as by Elleston Trevor

Novels as by Simon Rattray[edit]

  • Knight Sinister (1951); reissued in the UK and US as by Adam Hall
  • Queen in Danger (1952); reissued in UK and US as by Adam Hall
  • Bishop in Check (1953); reissued in the UK and US as by Adam Hall
  • Dead Silence (1954); reissued in the UK and US as by Adam Hall as Pawn in Jeopardy
  • Dead Circuit (1955); reissued in the UK and US as by Adam Hall as Rook's Gambit
  • Dead Sequence (1957)

Novels by Warwick Scott[edit]

  • Image in the Dust (1951); US title Cockpit (1953); reissued in the UK as by Elleston Trevor
  • The Domesday Story (1952); US title Doomsday (1953); reissued in the UK as by Elleston Trevor
  • Naked Canvas (1954); reissued in the UK and US as by Elleston Trevor

Novel as by Caesar Smith[edit]

  • Heat Wave (1957); reissued in the UK as by Elleston Trevor

Novels as by Lesley Stone[edit]

  • Siren Song (1985); as by Leslie Stone in the US
  • Riviera Story (1987)

Novels as by Elleston Trevor[edit]

  • The Immortal Error (1946)
  • Chorus of Echoes (1950)
  • Redfern's Miracle (1951)
  • Tiger Street (1951)
  • A Blaze of Roses (1952); published in the UK as The Fire-Raiser (1970)
  • The Passion and the Pity (1953)
  • The Big Pick-Up (1955)
  • Squadron Airborne (1955)
  • The Killing Ground (1956)
  • Gale Force (1956)
  • The Pillars of Midnight (1957); reissued in the UK as 80,000 Suspects
  • Dream of Death (1958)
  • Runaway Man (1958)
  • Silhouette (1959)
  • The V.I.P. (1959)
  • The Billboard Madonna (1960)
  • The Mind of Max Duvine (1960)
  • The Burning Shore (1961); published in the US as The Pasang Run (1962)
  • The Flight of the Phoenix (1964)
  • The Second Chance (1965)
  • Weave a Rope of Sand (1965)
  • The Shoot (1966)
  • The Freebooters (1967)
  • A Place for the Wicked (1968)
  • Bury Him Among Kings (1970)
  • The Paragon (1975) published in the US as Night Stop
  • The Theta Syndrome (1977)
  • Blue Jay Summer (1977)
  • Seven Witnesses (1977)
  • The Damocles Sword (1981)
  • The Penthouse (1983)
  • Deathwatch (1984)
  • The Sister (1994)
  • Flycatcher (1994)

Children's books as by Elleston Trevor[edit]

  • Wumpus (1945)
  • Deep Wood (1945)
  • Heather Hill (1946)
  • More about Wumpus (1947)
  • The Island of the Pines (1948)
  • The Secret Travellers (1948)
  • Where's Wumpus (1948)
  • Badger's Beech (1948)
  • The Wizard of the Wood (1948)
  • Badger's Moon (1949)
  • Ant's Castle (1949)
  • Mole's Castle (1951)
  • Sweethallow Valley (1951)
  • Challenge of the Firebrand (1951)
  • Secret Arena (1951)
  • Forbidden Kingdom (1955)
  • Badger's Wood (1958)
  • The Crystal City (1959)
  • Green Glade (1959)
  • Squirrel's Island (1963)
  • The Chipmunks of Willow Wood (1975)

Stage plays as by Elleston Trevor[edit]

  • The Last of the Daylight (1959)
  • Murder by All Means (1960)
  • The Search (no later than 1963)
  • A Pinch of Purple (1971)
  • A Touch of Purple (1972)
  • Just Before Dawn (1972)

Radio plays as by Elleston Trevor[edit]

Short stories as by Elleston Trevor[edit]

Journalism as by Elleston Trevor[edit]

  • Trevor, Elleston (27 June 1982). "Bridge Across the Years". Arizona Magazine, a supplement of The Arizona Republic. 

Other works as by Elleston Trevor[edit]

  • Animal Life Stories: Rippleswim the Otter, Scamper-Foot the Pine Marten, Shadow the Fox (1943-5)

Unfilmed screenplays as by Elleston Trevor[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Twentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers, ed. John M. Reilly (1985)
  • Encyclopedia Mysteriosa by William L. DeAndrea (1997)
  • Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, ed. by Chris Steinbrunner and Otto Penzler (1976)
  • Bury Him Among Kings. Intimate Glimpses into the Life and Work of Elleston Trevor by Chaille Trevor (2012)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reginald, Menville & Burgess 2010, p. 1105.
  2. ^ East 1983, p. 138.
  3. ^ Pendexter, Faunce (17 September 1955). "Between The BookEnds". Lewiston Evening Journal. p. 8A. 
  4. ^ anonymous (20 July 1962). "Radio Programs". Ottawa Citizen. p. 15. 
  5. ^ anonymous (9 August 1963). "Radio and Television Program Highlights for Coming Week". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. p. 4. 
  6. ^ The cited radio listings alternatively describe it as "a study in bureaucracy" and "a drama concerning a nuclear accident which causes a cloud that envelopes the earth. It is a satire on government and complacency about nuclear testing." Cast included Budd [sic] Knapp, Percy Rodriguez and Walter Massey."
  7. ^ Reader's Digest 1964, p. 575.
  8. ^ Gale's Contemporary Authors claims Elleston Trevor contributed to the scripts for the films Wings of Danger based on Trevor's own "Mansell Black" novel, and Woman of Straw though Trevor's son says that he has found no supporting evidence. Despite this the 1964 "Reader's Digest" abridged edition of The Flight of the Phoenix states in the "About the Author" blurb that Trevor has written the script for the Catherine Arley novel.

External links[edit]