Ursula Torday

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Ursula Joyce Torday
BornUrsula Joyce Torday
(1912-02-19)19 February 1912
London, England, United Kingdom
DiedMarch 6, 1997(1997-03-06) (aged 85)
Pen nameUrsula Torday,
Paula Allardyce,
Charity Blackstock,
Lee Blackstock,
Charlotte Keppel
GenreGothic, romance, mystery
Notable worksWitches' Sabbath
Notable awardsRoNA Award
RelativesEmil Torday (father)

Ursula Torday (/ˈtɔːrd/; 19 February 1912 in London, England – 6 March 1997), was a British writer of some 60 gothic, romance and mystery novels from 1935 to 1982. She also used the pseudonyms of Paula Allardyce (/ˈælərds/), Charity Blackstock, Lee Blackstock, and Charlotte Keppel. In 1961, her novel Witches' Sabbath won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the Romantic Novelists' Association[1]


Early years[edit]

Ursula Joyce Torday was born on 19 February 1912[2] (in some sources wrongly 1888) in London, England, United Kingdom,[3] daughter of mixed parentage,[4] her mother Gaia Rose Macdonald, was Scottish, and her father Emil Torday (1875–1931) was a Hungarian anthropologist, they married on 17 March 1910.

She studied at Kensington High School in London, before she went to Oxford University, where she obtained a BA in English at Lady Margaret Hall College, and later a Social Science Certificate at London School of Economics.[5]

First jobs[edit]

In the 1930s, she published her first three novels under her real name: Ursula Torday.

During World War II, she worked as a probation officer for the Citizen's Advice Bureau. During the next seven years she also ran a refugee scheme for Jewish children, an inspiration for several of her future novels such as The Briar Patch (a.k.a. Young Lucifer); The Children (a.k.a. Wednesday's Children) is her memoir about her work with children of the Holocaust. She worked as a typist at the National Central Library (England and Wales) in London,[5] inspiration for her future novel Dewey Death as Charity Blackstock.[4] She also taught English to adult students.

Writing career[edit]

She returned to publishing in the early 1950s using the pen names of Paula Allardyce or Charity Blackstock (in some cases reedited as Lee Blackstock in the USA) to sign her gothic romance and mystery novels. Later, she also used the pen name Charlotte Keppel. She published her last novel in 1982.

Her novel Miss Fenny (a.k.a. The Woman in the Woods) as Charity (or Lee) Blackstock was nominated for an Edgar Award. In 1961, her novel Witches' Sabbath won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the Romantic Novelists' Association[1]

Ursula Torday died on 6 March 1997, at 85.[6][7]


As Ursula Torday[edit]


  • The Ballad-Maker of Paris (1935)
  • No Peace for the Wicked (1937)
  • The Mirror of the Sun (1938)

As Paula Allardyce[edit]


  • After the Lady (1954)
  • A Game of Hazard (1955)
  • The Doctor's Daughter (1955)
  • Adam and Evelina (1956)
  • The Man of Wrath (1958)
  • Southarn Folly(1957)
  • The Lady and the Pirate (1957) a.k.a. The Vixen's Revenge (US title)
  • Beloved Enemy (1958)
  • My Dear Miss Emma (1958)
  • A Marriage Has Been Arranged (1959)
  • Death My Lover (1959)
  • Johnny Danger (1960) a.k.a. The Rebel Lover (US title)
  • Witches' Sabbath (1961)
  • The Gentle Highwayman (1961) a.k.a. The Rogue's Lady (US title)
  • Adam's Rib (1963) a.k.a. Legacy of Pride (US title)
  • The Respectable Miss Parkington-Smith (1964) a.k.a. Paradise Row (US title)
  • Octavia: Or the Trials of a Romantic Novelist (1965)
  • The Moonlighters (1966) Gentleman Rogue (US title)
  • Six Passengers for the Sweet Bird (1967)
  • Waiting at the Church (1968) a.k.a. Emily (US title)
  • The Ghost of Archie Gilroy (1970) a.k.a. Shadowed Love (US title)
  • Miss Jonas's Boy (1972) a.k.a. Eliza (US title)
  • The Gentle Sex (1974)
  • The Carradine Affair (1976)
  • Miss Philadelphia Smith (1977)
  • Haunting Me (1978)

As Charity Blackstock[edit]


  • Dewey Death (1956)
  • Miss Fenny (1957) a.k.a. The Woman in the Woods (US title)
  • The Foggy, Foggy Dew (1958)
  • The Shadow of Murder (1958) a.k.a. All Men Are Murderers as Lee Blackstock (US title)
  • The Bitter Conquest (1959)
  • The Briar Patch (1960) a.k.a. Young Lucifer as Ursula Torday (US title)
  • The Exorcism (1961) a.k.a. A House Possessed (US title)
  • The Gallant (1962)
  • Mr. Christopoulos (1963)
  • The Factor's Wife (1964) a.k.a. The English Wife (US title)
  • When the Sun Goes Down (1965) a.k.a. Monkey on a Chain (US title)
  • The Knock at Midnight (1966)
  • The Children (1966) a.k.a. Wednesday's Children (US title)--memoir
  • Party in Dolly Creek (1967) a.k.a. The Widow (US title)
  • The Melon in the Cornfield (1969) a.k.a. The Lemmings (US title)
  • The Daughter (1970)
  • The Encounter (1971)
  • The Jungle (1972)
  • The Lonely Strangers (1972)
  • People in Glass Houses (1975)
  • Ghost Town (1976)
  • I Met Murder on the Way (1977) a.k.a. The Shirt Front (US title)
  • Miss Charley (1979)
  • Dream Towers (1980)
  • With Fondest Thoughts (1980)

As Charlotte Keppel[edit]


  • Madam, You Must Die (1974) a.k.a. Loving Sands, Deadly Sands (US title)
  • When I Say Goodbye, I'm Clary Brown (1976) My name is Clary Brown (US title)
  • I Could Be Good to You (1980)
  • The Villains (1980)
  • The Ghosts of Fontenoy (1981)
  • The Flag Captain (1982)

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Awards by the Romantic Novelists' Association, 27 July 2012
  2. ^ a b International Biographical Centre (1990), The World Who's Who of Women, Melrose Press.
  3. ^ Who Was Who Among English and European Authors, 1931–1949, Gale Research Company, 1978, p. 1564
  4. ^ a b Kenneth Ridley Richardson; Robert Clive Willis (1969), Twentieth century writing, Newnes, p. 751
  5. ^ a b James Vinson; D. L. Kirkpatrick (1982), Twentieth-century romance and gothic writers, Gale Research, p. 898
  6. ^ New General Catalog of Old Books and Authors
  7. ^ Ursula Torday at Library of Congress, 27 July 2012
  8. ^ Paula Allardyce at FantasticFiction, 27 July 2012
  9. ^ Charity Blackstock at FantasticFiction, 27 July 2012
  10. ^ Charlotte Keppel at FantasticFiction, 27 July 2012