Christianna Brand was born Mary Christianna Milne (1907) in Malaya and grew up in India. She had a number of different occupations, including model, dancer, shop assistant and governess. Brand also wrote under the pseudonyms Mary Ann Ashe, Annabel Jones, Mary Roland, and China Thomson. Christianna Brand served as Chair of the Crime Writers' Association from 1972-1973.
Her first novel, Death in High Heels, was written while Brand was working as a salesgirl, the idea stemming from her fantasies about doing away with an annoying co-worker. In 1941, one of her best-loved characters, Inspector Cockrill of the Kent County Police, made his debut in the book Heads You Lose. The character would go on to appear in seven of her novels. Green for Danger is Brand’s most famous novel. The whodunit, set in a World War II hospital, was adapted for film by Eagle-Lion Films in 1946, starring Alastair Sim as the Inspector. She dropped the series in the late 1950s and concentrated on various genres as well as short stories. She was nominated three times for Edgar Awards: for the short stories "Poison in the Cup" (EQMM, Feb. 1969) and "Twist for Twist" (EQMM, May 1967) and for a nonfiction work about a Scottish murder case, Heaven Knows Who (1960). She is the author of the children's series Nurse Matilda, which Emma Thompson adapted to film as Nanny McPhee (2005).
Her Inspector Cockrill short stories and a previously unpublished Cockrill stage play were collected as The Spotted Cat and Other Mysteries from Inspector Cockrill's Casebook, edited by Tony Medawar (2002).
She was the cousin of the illustrator Edward Ardizzone.
Inspector Cockrill series
- Heads You Lose (1941)
- Green for Danger (1944) OCLC 2881188
- Suddenly at His Residence (US title: The Crooked Wreath) (1946) OCLC 557498732
- Death of Jezebel (1948)
- London Particular (US title: Fog of Doubt) (1952)
- Tour de Force (1955)
- The Spotted Cat and Other Mysteries from Inspector Cockrill's Casebook (Crippen & Landru, 2002)
- Death in High Heels (1941)
- The Rose in Darkness (1979)
- The Single Pilgrim (1946) (writing as Mary Roland)
- Welcome to Danger (1949) juvenile mystery, also published as Danger Unlimited
- The Three Cornered Halo (1957)
- Starrbelow (1958) (writing as China Thompson)
- Dear Mr. MacDonald (1959)
- Court of Foxes (1969)
- The Radiant Dove (1975) (writing as Annabel Jones)
- Alas, for Her That Met Me! (1976) (writing as Mary Ann Ashe)
- The Honey Harlot (1978)
- The Brides of Aberdar (1982)
- Heaven Knows Who (1960)
- What Dread Hand? (1968)
- Brand X (1974) ISBN 9780718112721, OCLC 1365327
- Buffet for Unwelcome Guests (1983)
- Nurse Matilda (1964)
- Nurse Matilda Goes to Town (1967)
- Nurse Matilda Goes to Hospital (1974)
- Naughty Children: An Anthology (1962)