Lorna Nicholl Morgan

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Lorna Nicholl Morgan
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Born (1913-08-20) August 20, 1913 (age 108)
New Malden, London, England
DiedNovember 15, 1993(1993-11-15) (aged 80)
OccupationNovelist
NationalityBritish
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Genre
  • Mystery fiction
  • Crime fiction

Lorna Nicholl Morgan was an English writer who published four mystery novels in the 1940s.[1] Her work has been compared to that of Margery Allingham and Dorothy Sayers.[2]

Life

Lorna Nicholl Morgan was born in New Malden, London, on 20 August 1913, the youngest of five sisters. Her father worked as a legal draftsman. In 1954, at the age of 41, she emigrated to the United States, leaving her previous home in London to sail unaccompanied on the S.S. Ryndam from Southampton to New York. On the ship's passenger list, she was described as a novelist.[3] According to Social Security records, she died on 15 November 1993.[4]

Books

Morgan was the author of four mystery novels:[5]

  • Murder in Devils' Hollow (1944, World's Work)
  • Talking of Murder (1945, Harrap)
A review in the Scottish newspaper The Leven Mail praised this story as "fast-moving, ably constructed" and "head and shoulders above the rest of the week's thrillers." The plot concerns a series of crimes at an exclusive London club, which are investigated by Inspector Flash.[2]
  • The Death Box (1946, Macdonald & Co.)
Morgan's third novel (reprinted in 2017) tells the story of a London club-owner, Joe Trayne, who is drawn into a murder mystery by a woman who stops him in the street.[6] A 1947 write-up for the Montrose Review enthused: "The story is crammed full of action, and one unusual feature of the plot is that the body of each victim is is delivered to the house of the next in an antique oak chest!"[7]
  • Another Little Murder (1947, Macdonald & Co.)
Set in Swaledale, North Yorkshire, in the run-up to Christmas, Another Little Murder features a travelling salesperson called Dylis Hughes, who becomes stranded at Wintry Wold, a remote mansion, and ends up investigating the death of the head of the household. A review in The Sketch described it as "[a] breezy story in which one of those bed ridden old men, who are to be found in crime fiction in lonely snow-bound manor houses, is clumsily done to death. Too happy for horror."[8] The book was reprinted as Another Little Christmas Murder in 2016.[9]

Rediscovery

During December 2014, British booksellers reported a resurgence of interest in novels from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, attributed to the British Library's successful reprinting of Mystery in White by Joseph Jefferson Farjeon.[10] More Christmas-themed murder mysteries from the Golden Age were reprinted over the following years, including Morgan's Another Little Murder, which was rechristened Another Little Christmas Murder by its new publishers, Sphere Books, to emphasise its festive setting.[11] Under this title, the book has received mixed reviews, with some readers criticising its link to Christmas as tenuous,[12] and others enjoying its "intricately plotted" nature and describing it as a "classic".[13]

Either way, the commercial performance of Another Little Christmas Murder was such that the publishers decided to reprint The Death Box less than a year later, advertising the fact that it was from the same author on the front cover.[14]

References

  1. "Lorna Nicholl Morgan". Little, Brown Book Group. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Week's Fiction". The Leven Mail: 6. 28 November 1945.
  3. Horsley, Ross. "The Mysterious Ms. Morgan". The Secret Library. Leeds Libraries. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  4. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2015.
  5. "Lorna Nicholl Morgan: UK First Edition Books". Classic Crime Fiction. Goldeneye Rare Books. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  6. "The Death Box". Little, Brown Book Group. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  7. J.B. (3 January 1947). "Literary Causerie". The Montrose Review: 3.
  8. "Books in Brief". The Sketch: 107. 18 February 1948.
  9. "Another Little Christmas Murder". Little, Brown Book Group. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  10. Gallagher, Paul. "Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit". The Independent. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  11. Edwards, Martin. "Forgotten Book - Another Little Christmas Murder". 'Do You Write Under Your Own Name?'. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  12. Annalise, Annisa. "Book Review: Another Little Christmas Murder by Lorna Nicholl Morgan". Reads & Knits. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  13. Britton, Erin. "Twelve Classic Crimes at Christmastime". NB Magazine. AMS Digital Publishing Limited. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  14. "The Death Box". Little, Brown Book Group. Retrieved 24 June 2020.

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