Gwendoline Butler

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Gwendoline Williams Butler
Born Gwendoline Williams
(1922-08-19)19 August 1922
South London, England, UK
Died 5 January 2013(2013-01-05) (aged 90)
Pen name Gwendoline Butler,
Jennie Melville[1]
Occupation Novelist
Language language
Nationality British
Period 1956-2002
Genre mystery, romance
Spouse Lionel Harry Butler (1949-1981)
Children 1

Gwendoline Butler, née Williams (19 August 1922 in South London, England. 5 January 2013) was a British writer of mystery fiction and romance novels since 1956, she also used the pseudonym Jennie Melville. Credited for inventing the "woman's police procedural", is well known for her series of Inspector John Coffin novels as Gwendoline Butler, and by female detective Charmian Daniels as Jennie Melville.

Biography[edit]

Born Gwendoline Williams on 19 August 1922 in South London, England, UK, daughter of Alice (Lee) and Alfred Edward Williams.,[2] her younger twin brothers are also authors.[3] She was educated at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she read History, and later lectured there.

On 16 October 1949, she married Dr Lionel Harry Butler[2] (1923-1981), a professor of medieval history at University of St. Andrews and historian, Fellow of All Souls and Principal of Royal Holloway College. The marriage had a daughter, Lucilla Butler.

In 1956 her John Coffin series of novels began publication under her married name, Gwendoline Butler. In 1962, she decided to use her grandmother's name, Jennie Melville as a pseudonym to sign her Charmian Daniels novels.[3] In addition to her mystery series, she also wrote romantic novels. In 1981, her novel The Red Staircase won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the Romantic Novelists' Association.[4]

Gwendoline Butler can claim to be one of the most versatile women crime novelists. Her books have scored in four categories: modern detective stories, Victorian mysteries, Gothic stories and romantic novels. In 1973 the Crime Writers Association (CWA) awarded her the Silver Dagger for ‘A Coffin for Pandora’. A former member of the Committee of the CWA, a member of the Detection Club, she took her degree in history at Oxford and her training in research ensures complete accuracy in every book. [8]

She died on 5 January 2013.[5]

Bibliography[edit]

As Gwendoline Butler[edit]

[6]

John Coffin Series[edit]

The leading detective in the first three stories was an Inspector Winter. He appeared too in the fourth story ‘The Dull Dead’ (1958) but by this time the young John Coffin (described as “mercurial”) had made his first appearance, and it was with Coffin that Gwendoline Butler continued. [9]

There was a quantum leap for John Coffin, in 1989. Starting with the book ‘Coffin in the Black Museum’ his creator took him from south London across the Thames and planted him in east London, in an imaginary district that was obviously based on Docklands. [10]

  1. Receipt for Murder (1956)
  2. Dead in a Row (1957)
  3. The Murdering Kind (1958)
  4. The Dull Dead (1958)
  5. The Interloper (1959)
  6. Death Lives Next Door (1960) aka Dine and Be Dead
  7. A Coffin for Baby (1960)
  8. Make Me a Murderer (1961)
  9. Coffin in Oxford (1962)
  10. Coffin Waiting (1963)
  11. Coffin in Malta (1964)
  12. A Nameless Coffin (1966)
  13. Coffin Following (1968)
  14. Coffin's Dark Number (1969)
  15. A Coffin from the Past (1970)
  16. A Coffin for Pandora (1973)
  17. A Coffin for the Canary (1974)
  18. Coffin On the Water (1986)
  19. Coffin in Fashion (1987)
  20. Coffin Underground (1988)
  21. Coffin in the Museum of Crime (1989) aka Coffin in the Black Museum
  22. Coffin and the Paper Man (1990)
  23. Coffin on Murder Street (1991)
  24. Cracking Open a Coffin (1992)
  25. A Coffin For Charley (1993)
  26. The Coffin Tree (1994)
  27. A Dark Coffin (1995)
  28. A Double Coffin (1996)
  29. Coffin's Game (1997)
  30. A Grave Coffin (1998)
  31. Coffin's Ghost (1999)
  32. A Cold Coffin (2000)
  33. A Coffin for Christmas (2000)
  34. Coffin Knows the Answer (2002)

Major Mearns and Sergeant Denny Series[edit]

  1. The King Cried Murder (1999)
  2. Dread Murder (2006)

Single novels[edit]

  • Sarsen Place (1974)
  • Olivia (1975)
  • The Vesey Inheritance (1975)
  • The Brides of Friedberg (1977) aka Meadowsweet
  • The Red Staircase (1979)
  • Albion Walk (1982)
  • Butterfly (1996)
  • Let There Be Love (1997)

As Jennie Melville[edit]

[7]

Charmian Daniels Series[edit]

  1. Come Home and Be Killed (1962)
  2. Burning Is a Substitute for Loving (1963)
  3. Murderers' Houses (1964)
  4. There Lies Your Love (1965)
  5. Nell Alone (1966)
  6. A Different Kind of Summer (1967)
  7. A New Kind of Killer, an Old Kind of Death (1970) aka A New Kind of Killer (US title)
  8. Murder Has a Pretty Face (1981)
  9. Death in the Garden (1987) aka Murder in the Garden (US title)
  10. Windsor Red (1988)
  11. A Cure for Dying (1989) aka Making Good Blood (US title)
  12. Witching Murder (1990)
  13. Footsteps in the Blood (1990)
  14. Dead Set (1992)
  15. Whoever Has the Heart (1993)
  16. Baby Drop (1994) aka A Death in the Family (US title)
  17. The Morbid Kitchen (1995)
  18. The Woman Who Was Not There (1996)
  19. Revengeful Death (1998)
  20. Stone Dead (1998)
  21. Dead Again (2000)
  22. Loving Murder (2001)

Single novels[edit]

  • Hunter in the Shadows (1969)
  • The Summer Assassin (1971)
  • Ironwood (1972)
  • Nun's Castle (1973)
  • Raven's Forge (1975)
  • Dragon's Eye (1976)
  • Axwater (1978) aka Tarot's Tower (US title)
  • Painted Castle (1982)
  • Hand of Glass (1983)
  • Listen to the Children (1986)
  • Complicity (2000)

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Gwendoline Williams Butler at trussel.com, 2012-07-16 
  2. ^ a b Contemporary authors, Gale Research Company, 1974 
  3. ^ a b Gwendoline Butler's Interviewed by John Kennedy Melling, 2012-07-16 
  4. ^ Awards by the Romantic Novelists' Association, 2012-07-16 
  5. ^ Times obit retrieved 23 January 2013
  6. ^ Gwendoline Butler at fantasticfiction, 2012-07-16 
  7. ^ Elizabeth Buchan at fantasticfiction, 2012-07-16 

[8] Foreword © John Kennedy Melling, 1987, A Coffin from the Past, Geoffrey Bles 1970, Chivers Press edition 1987. [9] Inspector Winter, Gwendoline Butler’s First Detective, www.booksmonthly.co.uk/winter.html (April 2011) [10] Tribute to Gwendoline Butler, www.booksmonthly.co.uk/jda.html (February 2014)

External links[edit]