F. Tennyson Jesse

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F. Tennyson Jesse

Fryniwyd Tennyson Jesse Harwood (born Wynifried [also recorded as Winifred] Margaret Jesse, 1 March 1888 – 6 August 1958) [1] was an English criminologist, journalist and author (she also wrote as Wynifried Margaret Tennyson).

Early life and marriage[edit]

Fryniwyd was the second of three daughters of the Reverend Eustace Tennyson D'Eyncourt Jesse and Edith James, and a great-niece of the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. She married Harold Marsh Harwood (1874–1959), a businessman and theatre manager, in September 1918. "Fryn" is a self-made contraction of "Wynifried".[2]


Her most notable books include A Pin To See the Peepshow (London, W. Heinemann Ltd, 1934; Virago Modern Classics), a fictional treatment of the case of Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters, and Murder & Its Motives (Heinemann, 1924), which divided killers into six categories based on their motivations: those who murder for Gain, Revenge, Elimination, Jealousy, Conviction and Lust of killing. This classification of motive has remained influential.[citation needed]

She contributed many cases to the Notable British Trials series, such as the trial of serial killer John Christie and the controversy surrounding the hanging of his neighbour, Timothy Evans. Her summary of the two trials is extensive, and concludes that Christie was probably the murderer of both Beryl and Geraldine Evans, and that Timothy Evans was innocent of their deaths (Evans was hanged for the murder of his daughter Geraldine, and posthumously pardoned).[citation needed]

She also wrote the neglected classic, The Lacquer Lady (1929), which recounts the true story of how European maid of honour Fanny Moroni helped bring about the fall of the Burmese Royal Family at the end of the nineteenth century.

She reported on the German attacks on Belgium in the First World War for Collier's Weekly.[3][citation needed]

Her story Treasure Trove tells of the rediscovery in modern times of the 30 pieces of silver paid to Judas to betray Jesus Christ and their subsequent malign influence. The novel Tom Fool (Heinemann, 1926) deals with a young man's experiences on sailing ships, and describes shipboard life in some detail.


  1. ^ The record of her birth in Bromley from April–June 1888 gives her name as "Winifred Margaret Jesse", the record of her death in Marylebone gives her name as "Fryniwyd Harwood", see [1].
  2. ^ Susannah Clapp (7 June 1984). "You are my heart's delight: Book review of A Portrait of Fryn: A Biography of F. Tennyson Jesse ". London Review of Books. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Powell". Greatwardifferent.com. Retrieved 3 September 2017.


  • Joanna Colenbrander, A portrait of Fryn: a biography of F. Tennyson Jesse, A. Deutsch, 1984, ISBN 0-233-97572-1.

External links[edit]