Christianna Brand

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Christianna Brand
Pencil sketch of Christianna Brand
Pencil sketch of Christianna Brand
BornMary Christianna Milne
(1907-12-17)17 December 1907
British Malaya
Died11 March 1988(1988-03-11) (aged 80)
GenreChildren's literature
Notable worksGreen for Danger and other books in The Inspector Cockrill Series; Nurse Matilda
SpouseRoland Lewis

Christianna Brand (17 December 1907 – 11 March 1988) was a British crime writer and children's author, born in British Malaya.


Christianna Brand was born Mary Christianna Milne (1907) in Malaya but spent most of her childhood in England and India.[1] She had a number of different occupations, including model, dancer, shop assistant and governess.[2] Brand also wrote under the pseudonyms Mary Ann Ashe, Annabel Jones, Mary Brand, Mary Roland, and China Thompson. Christianna Brand served as Chair of the Crime Writers' Association from 1972-1973.[3]

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Her Inspector Cockrill short stories and a previously unpublished Cockrill stage play were collected as The Spotted Cat and Other Mysteries from Inspector Cockrill's Casebook, edited by Tony Medawar (2002).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[edit]

  • Heads You Lose (1941)
  • Green for Danger (1944) OCLC 2881188. The novel appeared as a newspaper serial in the United States under the title Danger List
  • Suddenly at His Residence (US title: The Crooked Wreath) (1946) OCLC 557498732. The novel appeared as a newspaper serial in the United States under the title One of the Family
  • 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)
  • The Chinese Puzzle (Unpublished)

Inspector Charlesworth[edit]

  • Death in High Heels (1941)
  • The Rose in Darkness (1979)

Inspector Chucky[edit]

  • Cat and Mouse (1950) OCLC 557497970
  • A Ring of Roses (1977) (writing as Mary Ann Ashe)


  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Take off the Roof (Unpublished)
  • Jape de Chine (Unpublished)


  • Heaven Knows Who (1960)


  • What Dread Hand? (1968): The Hornets' Nest, Aren't Our Police Wonderful?, The Merry-Go-Round, Blood Brothers, Dear Mr Editor ..., The Rose, Akin to Love ... Death of Don Juan, Double Cross, The Sins of the Fathers ..., After the Event, Death of a Ghost, The Kite, Hic Jacet ..., Murder Game.
  • Brand X (1974)[4]
  • Buffet for Unwelcome Guests (1983): After the Event, Blood Brothers, The Hornet's Nest, Poison in the Cup, Murder Game, The Scapegoat, No More a-Maying ..., The Niece from Scotland, Hic Jacet ..., The Merry-Go-Round, Upon Reflection, From the Balcony ..., Bless This House, Such a Nice Man, The Whispering, The Hand of God.
  • The Spotted Cat and Other Mysteries from Inspector Cockrill's Casebook (2002): Inspector Cockrill, After the Event, Blood Brothers, The Hornet's Nest, Poison in the Cup, The Telephone Call, The Kissing Cousin, The Rocking-Chair, The Man on the Roof, Alleybi, The Spotted Cat.

Uncollected Short Stories[edit]

  • Dance Hostess. The Star, 8 April 1939 (as by Mary Brand)
  • The Rose. The Tatler, 1939 (as by Mary Brand)
  • Gloria Walked down Bond Street. The Tatler, 1939 (as by Mary Brand)
  • Shadowed Sunlight. Woman, 7 July to 11 August 1945
  • Hibiscus Blooms Again
  • Dear Mr. MacDonald (1959) (Revised and published as Dear Mr Editor ...")
  • Cyanide in the Sun. Daily Sketch, August 1958. An edited version was published in an anthology
  • Mother. Woman, 17 January 1959
  • Grandad. Woman, 24 October 1959
  • The Right Man for Tilly. Woman, 12 May 1960
  • Someone to Love Woman, 1 October 1960
  • To Remember with Tears. Woman, 3 May 1962
  • White Wedding. Woman, 19 May 1962

Uncollected Non-Fiction[edit]

Unpublished short stories[edit]

  • The Dead Hold Fast (Inspector Charlesworth)
  • Inquest
  • The Little Nun
  • The Mermaid
  • Murder by Dog
  • The Murder Man
  • The Codicil
  • The Rum Punch

For children[edit]

Anthologies edited by Christianna Brand[edit]

  • Naughty Children: An Anthology (1962)


  1. ^ "Christianna Brand". Fantastic Fiction. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  2. ^ "Biography for Christianna Brand". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  3. ^ "History of the CWA". Crime Writers' Association. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  4. ^ ISBN 9780718112721, OCLC 1365327