Frederick Merrick White

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Frederick Merrick White (1859–1935) wrote a number of novels and short stories under the name "Fred M. White" including the six 'Doom of London' science-fiction stories, in which various catastrophes beset London. These include The Four Days' Night (1903), in which London is beset by a massive killer smog; The Dust of Death (1903), in which diphtheria infects the city, spreading from refuse tips and sewers; and The Four White Days (1903), in which a sudden and deep winter paralyses the city under snow and ice. These six stories all first appeared in Pearson's Magazine, and were illustrated by Warwick Goble. He was also a pioneer of the spy story, and in 2003, his series The Romance of the Secret Service Fund (written in 1899) was edited by Douglas G. Greene and published by Battered Silicon Dispatch Box.

Life[edit]

Fred Merrick White was born in 1859 in West Bromwich, a small town near Birmingham, England. The record of his birth indicates that he was born in the June quarter and that his first name was actually "Fred" — not, as is often assumed, "Frederick." His second name "Merrick" was the maiden name of his mother, Helen, who married his father, Joseph, in West Bromwich in the September quarter of 1858.[1]

At the time of the 1861 census Joseph and Helen White were living with their son at 18 Carters Green, West Bromwich. The census record gives Joseph's occupation as "solicitor's managing clerk." Ten years later the family was living in Hereford, a county town in West England.

Before becoming a full-time writer, White followed in his father's footsteps, working as a solicitor's clerk in Hereford. By the time of the 1881 census, Joseph White, Sr., was a fully-fledged solicitor and was now quite prosperous. In 1891 White was working full-time as a journalist and author, presumably earning enough to support himself and his mother, Helen, who, in the census record for that year figures as the head of the household in the Barton Road villa. In the June quarter of the following year, 1892, White married Clara Jane Smith. The wedding took place at King's Norton, Worcestershire, and the couple had two children.

In the 1911 census, Fred M. White, aged 52, and his wife Clara were living at Uckfield, a town in East Sussex. During the First World War, White's sons served as junior officers in The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. In November 1915 the elder boy, Sydney Eric, was gazetted as a Second Lieutenant (on probation).

The First World War and his sons' war-time experiences evidently influenced White's writing during and after this conflict. His novel 'The Seed of Empire' (1916) describes some of the early trench warfare in great detail and the places and events are historically accurate. A number of novels published in the 1920s concern the social changes caused by the war and the difficulties of ex-soldiers in fitting back into normal civilian life.

Fred and Clara spent their final years in Barnstaple in the County of Devon, an area which provided the backdrop for his novels 'The Mystery of Crocksands', 'The Riddle of the Rail' and 'The Shadow of the Dead Hand'. White died in Barnstaple in December 1935, his wife, Clara Jane, died in March 1940.

Works[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • A Golden Argosy (1886)
  • By Order of the League (1886)
  • The Old Secretaire: A Christmas Story (1887)
  • The Silver Stream (1888)
  • Naboth's Vineyard (1889)
  • A Daughter of Israel, (1892)
  • In Trust (1892)
  • The Robe of Lucifer (1896)
  • The White Battalions (1900)
  • Tregarthen's Wife: A Cornish Story (1901)
  • Blackmail (1903)
  • The Cardinal Moth (1903)
  • Craven Fortune (1904)
  • The Weight of the Crown (1904)
  • A Shadowed Love (1905)
  • My Lady Bountiful (1905)
  • The Corner House: or, A Web of Deception (1905)
  • The Crimson Blind; or, the Mystery of the Crimson Blind (1905)
  • The Psalm Stone (1905)
  • The Ends of Justice (1906)
  • The House of the Schemers (1906)
  • The Law of the Land (1906)
  • The Nether Millstone (1906)
  • The Slave of Silence (1906)
  • The Yellow Face (1906)
  • Behind the Mask; or, A Fatal Dose (1907)
  • The Cardinal Moth; or, the Accused Orchid (1907)
  • The Edge of the Sword (1907)
  • The Five Knots (1907)
  • The Four Fingers; or, the Mystery of the Four Fingers (1907)
  • The Lonely Bride; or, The White Bride (1907)
  • The Lord of the Manor (1907)
  • The Midnight Guest: A Detective Story (1907)
  • The Open Door (1907)
  • A Queen of the Stage (1908)
  • Paul Quentin (1908)
  • The Bubble Reputation (1908)
  • The Scales of Justice; or, Secret of the Moat House (1908)
  • The Sundial (1908)
  • A Crime on Canvas (1909)
  • A Maker of Millions (1909)
  • Netta, the Story of Sin (1909)
  • The Garden O'Dreams (1909)
  • The Golden Rose (1909)
  • Un viaje trágico, lit. "A Tragic Journey" (1909)
  • A Front of Brass (1910)
  • A Mummer's Throne (1910)
  • Hard Pressed (1910)
  • Love, the Foe (1910)
  • Paul, the Sage (1910)
  • The White Bride; or, The Lonely Bride (1910)
  • The White Glove (1910)
  • A House of Sorrows (1911)
  • Dropped from the Fast Express, or A Daughter's Sacrifice (1911)
  • Jim Crowshaw's Mary (1911)
  • The Brand of Silence (1911)
  • The Man Called Gilray (1911)
  • The Mystery of the Ravenspurs; or, The Black Valley (1911)
  • The Secret of the Sands (1911)
  • Claxton's Mill (1912)
  • Powers of Darkness (1912)
  • A Royal Wrong (1913)
  • A Secret Service (1913)
  • Lady Clara (1913)
  • The House of Mammon (1913)
  • The Sentence of the Court (1913)
  • Number Thirteen (1914)
  • The Day; or, the Passing of A Throne (1914)
  • The Lady in Blue (1915)
  • The Man Who Found Christmas (1915)
  • Ambition's Slave (1916)
  • The Seed of Empire (1916)
  • A Society Jezebel (1917)
  • A Harbour of Refuge (1918)
  • The Case For the Crown (1918)
  • The Salt of the Earth (1918)
  • The Argus Eye (1919)
  • The Wings of Victory (1919)
  • Lady Edna's Awakening (1920)
  • The Happy Exile (1920)
  • The Honour of His House (1920)
  • The Leopard's Spots (1920)
  • The Man Who Was Two (1921)
  • The Councillors of Falconhoe (1922)
  • The Mystery of Room 75 (1922)
  • A Deal in Letters (1923)
  • The Green Bungalow (1923)
  • The Mystery of Crocksands (1923)
  • The Turn of the Tide (1923)
  • The Devil's Advocate (1924)
  • The Golden Bat (1924)
  • The Fight for the Child (1925)
  • The House on the River (1925)
  • The Man With the Vandyk Beard (1925)
  • The Price of Silence (1925)
  • The Riddle of the Rail (1926)
  • The Shadow of the Dead Hand (1926)
  • The King Diamond (1927)
  • The Grey Woman; or, Sinister House (1928)
  • A Broken Memory (1929)
  • The Phantom Car (1929)
  • A Clue in Wax (1930)
  • Found Dead (1930)
  • On the Night Express (1930)
  • Queen of Hearts c. (1930)
  • The Man Who Knew (1932)
  • Secret of the River (1934)
  • The Blue Daffodil (1934)
  • New Century Calendar Clue (1948)

Short Fiction[edit]

  • The Doom of London (1903)
  • The Crimson Blind (1905)
  • The Cardinal Moth (1905)
  • The Slave of Silence (1906)
  • The Weight of the Crown (1906)
  • The Midnight Guest (1907)
  • The Yellow Face (1907)
  • The Nether Stone (1907)
  • The Sundial (1908)
  • The Five Knots (1908)
  • The Mystery of the Four Fingers (1908)
  • The Mystery of the Ravenspurs (1911)
  • Hard Pressed (1913)

References[edit]

External links[edit]