Edwy Searles Brooks

IntroBritish writer
Was Author 
From United Kingdom 
Type Literature 
Birth 11 November 1889 
, London
Death 2 December 1965 

(aged 76 years)
Star sign Scorpio

Edwy Searles Brooks (11 November 1889 – 2 December 1965) was a British novelist who also wrote under the pen-names Berkeley Gray, Victor Gunn, Rex Madison, and Carlton Ross. Brooks was born in Hackney, London. He is believed to have written around 40 million words.

Life and work

Brooks published his first short story, “Mr Dorien’s Missing £2000”, in July 1907, when he was seventeen. His first major breakthrough came in 1910, when the paper The Gem gave him an assignment to publish a serial named “The Iron Island”, the main character being Frank Kingston.

In 1912, he wrote his first Sexton Blake stories and in 1915, started writing stories for the Nelson Lee Library, becoming the lead writer of the detective series after which the publication was named. In 1917 he started the St. Frank’s series in that paper, the stories for which he is best remembered. Additional serial assignments followed, including those featuring Clive Derring and Sexton Blake. In 1918, he launched the character of Rupert Waldo, an early superhero.

In 1918, he married Frances Goldstein, who became his assistant and collaborator through the years. The two took great pride in delivering clean manuscripts for publication throughout their careers. They became a cornerstone of the Amalgamated Press imprints.

The magazines that had published his stories started running into financial trouble in the 1930s, and Brooks started publishing hardcover novels for the adult market in 1938 with the first novel in the Norman Conquest series under the pseudonym of Berkeley Gray. He also published stories and novels as Victor Gunn featuring Ironsides Cromwell. He may have also continued publishing stories through D C Thomson & Co. Ltd, a Dundee-based rival of Amalgamated that was less affected by paper shortage.

His serialized novels included the Norman Conquest and Ironsides Cromwell stories. Dare-Devil Conquest formed the basis for the 1954 movie Park Plaza 605 starring Tom Conway.