Joyce Porter

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Joyce Porter (March 28, 1924 – December 9, 1990)[1] was an English crime fiction author.

Porter created the characters of Eddie Brown, Constance Ethel Morrison Burke, and Wilfred Dover.[2]


In DI Wilfred Dover and his assistant Sergeant MacGregor, she created a template later used successfully, especially by Reginald Hill, in straight 'whodunnits'[citation needed], but Porter's novels, while intricately plotted, were always played for laughs.

Dover was obese, lazy, unhygienic (the only man in the Metropolitan Police Service with underarm dandruff) and bordering on corrupt. MacGregor was keen, clean and ferociously ambitious. However, on the rare occasions he was able to put aside plate, pint-glass and cigarettes long enough to concentrate, Dover usually saw the answer first.

The most intricate plots in Dover 1,2 & "Dover goes to Pott" have twists to satisfy the most insistent "whodunnit" fan, although few will remember the legislature that proves decisive in Dover 2. Despite their light-hearted nature, Porter allowed the books to reflect topical themes: "Dover & the unkindest cut of all" transplants the " Society for Cutting Up Men" from the US to an Essex seaside resort. "Dover beats the band" features a far-right movement at the time that the National Front were gaining prominence in the UK. In many respects Dover 2 presages Alan Bleasdale's "No Surrender". It is set in a small town in Lancashire, riven by sectarianism, but the comparisons to "the troubles" are obvious. Dover & McGregor find the sectarian feuding absurd, from their perspective as Londoners, & annoying, insofar as it prevents them achieving an answer.

The Honourable Constance Ethel Morrison Burke is an upper-class spinster who, armed only with pluck, a deep-rooted hatred of men and her family's enormous financial resources, sallies forth to fight crime with the aid of her devoted 'friend'.

The 'Hon Con' books are even less like straight 'who-dunnits' than the 'Dovers' because while Dover is an experienced copper who has, it becomes clear, a good brain, the 'Hon Con' is an amateur bungler of below-average intelligence. Therefore, her solving each case must be achieved entirely by a happy coincidence.


Detective Chief Inspector Wilfred Dover

  • Dover One (1964)
  • Dover Two (1965)
  • Dover Three (1965)
  • Dover and the Unkindest Cut of All (1967)
  • Dover Goes to Pott (1968)
  • Dover Strikes Again (1970)
  • It's Murder with Dover (1973)
  • Dover and the Claret Tappers (1976)
  • Dead Easy for Dover (1978)
  • Dover Beats the Band (1980)
  • Dover: The Collected Short Stories (1995)

Eddie Brown, The World's Most Reluctant Spy

  • Sour Cream with Everything (1966)
  • The Chinks in the Curtain (1967)
  • Neither a Candle Nor a Pitchfork (1969)
  • Only with a Bargepole (1971)

Constance Ethel Morrison Burke

  • Rather a Common Sort of Crime (1970) (aka Constance Ethel Morrison Burke)
  • A Meddler and Her Murder (1972)
  • The Package Included Murder (1975)
  • Who the Heck is Sylvia? (1977)
  • The Cart Before the Crime (1979)


A number of the Inspector Dover books have been adapted for BBC Radio 4 by Paul Mendelson and star Kenneth Cranham as Dover.[3]

  • Dover Goes to Pott
  • Dover and the Claret Tappers
  • Dover Beats the Band
  • Dover and The Sleeping Beauty (16 January 2010)
  • Dover and the Unkindest Cut of All

And a new story by Paul Mendelson based on the characters

  • Dover and the Smoking Gun (1 October 2001)


  1. ^ "Joyce Porter". Cyberspace Spinner. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  2. ^ van Embden, Nico. "Joyce Porter". Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  3. ^ "search results for Kenneth Cranham Dover". BBC. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 

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