John Palmer (author)

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John Leslie Palmer
Born4 September 1885
Paddington, London
Died5 August 1944

John Leslie Palmer (4 September 1885, Paddington, London[1] – 5 August 1944) was an English author. Under his own name, he wrote extensively about early English actors and about British literary figures. He also wrote fiction under the collaborative pseudonyms Francis Beeding, Christopher Haddon, David Pilgrim and John Somers.[2]

As "Francis Beeding", he and Hilary Saint George Saunders co-authored The House of Dr. Edwardes. The novel was later used as the basis for the Hitchcock film Spellbound.

The Beeding pseudonym was kept secret from its start in 1920, until in 1925 Saunders delivered a lecture about his writing methods, as Francis Beeding, while Palmer heckled from the audience. Saunders invited Palmer to the platform, and the dual authorship was revealed.[3]


He wrote biographies of Molière, Ben Jonson, George Bernard Shaw, and Rudyard Kipling. He also wrote books on Shakespears's comic and political characters.


Palmer and Saunders used the collective pseudonym "Francis Beeding" for more than thirty novels, including:

  • The Seven Sleepers (1925)
  • The Little White Hag (1926)
  • The Hidden Kingdom (1927)
  • The House of Dr. Edwardes (1927)
  • The Six Proud Walkers (1928). Also serialised in Lancashire Evening Post as Six Proud Walkers (1929). (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • The Five Flamboys (1929) (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • Pretty Sinister (1929) (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • The League of Discontent (1930) (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • The Four Armourers (1930) (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • Death Walks in Eastrepps (1931)
  • The Three Fishers (1931) (Ronald Briercliffe series)
  • Take It Crooked (1931) (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • The Two Undertakers (1933) (Ronald Briercliffe and Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • The Emerald Clasp (1933)
  • The One Sane Man (1934) (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • Mr Bobadil (1934)
  • The Norwich Victims (1935)
  • Death in Four Letters (1935)
  • Nine Waxed Faces (1936) (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • The Eight Crooked Trenches (1936). Also published as Coffin for One. (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • No Fury (1937)
  • The Erring Under-Secretary (1937). Serialised in Answers as A Wife Too Many between 12 January and 2 February 1935. (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • Hell Let Loose (1937) (Ronald Briercliffe and Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • Murder Intended (1938)
  • The Black Arrows (1938) (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • The Big Fish (1938)
  • The Ten Holy Horrors (1939) (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • Eleven Were Brave (1940) (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • Not a Bad Show (1940). Also published as Secret Weapon. (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • The Twelve Disguises (1942) (Colonel Alastair Granby series)
  • There Are Thirteen (1946) (Colonel Alastair Granby series)

As "David Pilgrim", the duo wrote historical novels:

  • So Great A Man (1937), a historical novel about Napoleon.[4]
  • No Common Glory (1941) about the adventures of one of Charles II's illegitimate sons.[5]
  • The Grand Design (1943), sequel to No Common Glory.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Author and Book Info .com - The Companion to Online and Offline Literature
  3. ^ Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 18.
  4. ^ Daniel D. McGarry, Sarah Harriman White, Historical Fiction Guide: Annotated Chronological, Geographical, and Topical List of Five Thousand Selected Historical Novels. Scarecrow Press, New York, 1963 (p. 264).
  5. ^ McGarry and White, 1963 (p. 150).

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