James Hadley Chase

James Hadley Chase

James Hadley Chase is a pseudonym for British author Rene Brabazon Raymond (December 24,1906February 6, 1985) who also wrote under the names James L. Docherty, Ambrose Grant, and Raymond Marshall.


Chase, a London-born son of a British colonel serving in the colonial Indian Army who intended his son to have a scientific career, was initially raised at the King's School, Rochester, Kent and later studied in Calcutta. He left home at the age of 18 and became at different times a broker in a bookshop, a children's encyclopedia salesman, and a book wholesaler before capping it all with a writing career that produced more than 80 mystery books. In 1933, Chase married Sylvia Ray, who gave him a son.

During World War II he served in the Royal Air Force, eventually achieving the rank of Squadron Leader. Chase edited the RAF Journal together with David Langdon with several stories from it published after the war in the book "Slipstream". [ [http://jameshadleychase.free.fr/bio.htm Biography ] ]

Chase moved to France in 1956 and then to Switzerland in 1961, living a secluded life in Corseaux-Sur-Vevey, north of Lake Geneva, from 1974. He eventually died there peacefully on February 6, 1985.


Following the US Great Depression (1929-1939), the Prohibition, and the gangster culture during this period, and after reading James M. Cain's novel "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1934), he decided to try his own hand as a mystery writer. He had read about the American gangster Ma Barker and her sons, and with the help of maps and a slang dictionary, he composed in six weeks "No Orchids for Miss Blandish". The book achieved remarkable popularity and became one of the best-sold books of the decade. It was a stage play in London's West End, was filmed in 1948 and in 1971 was remade by Robert Aldrich as "The Grissom Gang".

From the war period dates Chase's unusual short story "The Mirror in Room 22", in which he tried his hand outside the crime genre. It was set in an old house, occupied by officers of a squadron. The owner of the house had committed suicide in his bedroom, and the last two occupants of the room have been found with a razor in their hands and their throats cut. The wing commander tells that when he started to shave before the mirror, he found another face in it. The apparition drew the razor across his throat. The wing commander says, "I use a safety razor, otherwise, I might have met with a serious accident—especially if I used an old-fashioned cut-throat." The story was published under the author's real name in the anthology Slipstream in 1946.

In 1946, Graham Greene, who was a very good friend of Chase's, selected a Chase novel, "More Deadly Than the Male" (written under the pseudonym Ambrose Grant), for publishing under the Bloomsbury logo.

Chase wrote most of his books using a dictionary of American slang, detailed maps, encyclopedias, and reference books on the American underworld. Most of the books were based on events occurring in the United States, even though he never really lived in the United States, save for two brief visits to Miami and New Orleans. In 1943, the Anglo-American crime author Raymond Chandler successfully claimed that Chase had lifted whole sections of his works in "Blonde's Requiem".Raymond Chandler, a biography. Tom Hiney 1997 [ISBN 0-7011-6310-0] ] Chase's London publisher Hamish Hamilton forced Chase to publish an apology in "The Bookseller".

In several of Chase's stories the protagonist tries to get rich by committing a crime — an insurance fraud or a theft. But the scheme fails and leads to a murder and finally to a cul-de-sac, in which the hero realizes that he never had a chance to keep out of trouble. Women are often beautiful, clever, and treacherous; they kill unhesitatingly if they have to cover a crime. His plots typically centre around dysfunctional families, and the final denouement justifies the title!

Unlike Agatha Christie's novels, in almost none of his novels do the readers have to guess the killer. The reader knows who the killer is from the very beginning, yet the beauty of his books were that Chase always kept the reader on their tiptoes, guessing "what happens next?". This was actually the byword in most of this novels.

In many of his novels, women, treacherous as they are, play a significant part. The protagonist falls in love with them and is prepared to kill someone at her behest, so he could get her. Only when he has killed, does he realize that the woman was actually using him to get someone killed.

He was wildly popular in Asia and Africa. He also enjoyed success in France and Italy where more than twenty of his books were made into movies. Joseph Losey's film version of Chase's thriller EVE (1945), made in 1962, was cut by the producers, the Hakim brothers. In the story Stanley Baker played by a British writer, Tyvian, who is obsessed by a cold-hearted femme fatale, Eve (Jeanne Moreau). "Do you know how much this weekend's going to cost me?" he asks Eve. "Two friends, thirty thousand dollars …and a wife." He was also extremely popular in the Soviet Union during and after the perestroika years around 1990–1993.

elected works

*1939 - "No Orchids For Miss Blandish" (filmed in 1948, 1971 and 1978)
*1939 - "The Dead Stay Dumb"
*1939 - "He Won't Need It Now"----
*1940 - "Twelve Chinks And A Woman"
*1940 - "Lady, Here's Your Wreath"
*1941 - "Get A Load Of This"
*1941 - "Miss Callaghan Comes To Grief" (filmed in 1959)
*1944 - "Miss Shumway Waves A Wand" (filmed in 1962 and 1995)
*1944 - "Just The Way It Is"
*1945 - "Eve" (filmed in 1962)
*1946 - "More Deadly Than The Male"
*1946 - "I'll Get You For This" (filmed in 1950)
*1946 - "Make The Corpse Walk"
*1946 - "Blonde's Requiem"
*1946 - "Last Page"
*1947 - "No Business Of Mine"
*1948 - "The Flesh Of The Orchid"
*1948 - "Trusted Like The Fox"
*1949 - "You're Lonely When You're Dead"
*1949 - "The Paw In The Bottle"
*1949 - "You Never Know With Women"----
*1950 - "Twelve Chinamen and A Woman"
*1950 - "Figure It Out For Yourself"
*1950 - "Lay Her Among The Lillies" (filmed in 1965)
*1950 - "Mallory"
*1951 - "Why Pick On Me"
*1951 - "Strictly For Cash"
*1951 - "But A Short Time To Live"
*1951 - "In A Vain Shadow"
*1952 - "The Double Shuffle"
*1952 - "The Wary Transgressor"
*1952 - "The Fast Buck"
*1953 - "I'll Bury My Dead"
*1953 - "The Things Men Do"
*1953 - "This Way For A Shroud"
*1954 - "Mission To Venice" (filmed in 1964)
*1954 - "Safer Dead"
*1954 - "The Sucker Punch" (filmed in 1958)
*1954 - "Tiger By The Tail" (filmed in 1957)
*1955 - "You've Got It Coming"
*1955 - "Mission To Siena"
*1955 - "The Pickup"
*1955 - "Ruthless"
*1956 - "There's Always A Price Tag"
*1956 - "You Find Him, I'll Fix Him"
*1957 - "The Guilty Are Afraid"
*1957 - "Never Trust A Woman"
*1958 - "Not Safe To Be Free"
*1958 - "Hit And Run" (filmed in 1986)
*1958 - "The Case Of The Strangled Starlet"
*1959 - "Shock Treatment"
*1959 - "The World In My Pocket" (filmed in 1961)----
*1960 - "Come Easy, Go Easy" (filmed in 1962)
*1960 - "What's Better Than Money"
*1961 - "A Lotus For Miss Quon" (filmed in 1967)
*1961 - "Just Another Sucker" (filmed in 1998)
*1962 - "I Would Rather Stay Poor" (filmed in 1974)
*1962 - "A Coffin From Hong Kong" (filmed in 1964)
*1963 - "Tell It To The Birds" (filmed in 1987)
*1963 - "One Bright Summer Morning"
*1964 - The Soft Centre
*1965 - "The Way the Cookie Crumbles"
*1965 - "This Is For Real"
*1966 - "You Have Yourself A Deal" (filmed in 1967)
*1966 - "Cade"
*1967 - "Well Now, My Pretty"
*1967 - "Have This One On Me"
*1968 - "An Ear To The Ground"
*1968 - "Believed Violent" (filmed in 1990)
*1969 - "The Whiff Of Money"
*1969 - "The Vulture Is A Patient Bird"----
*1970 - "There's A Hippie On The Highway"
*1970 - "Like A Hole In The Head"
*1971 - "An Ace Up My Sleeve" (filmed in 1976)
*1971 - "Want To Stay Alive" (filmed in 1990)
*1972 - "Just A Matter Of Time"
*1972 - "You're Dead Without Money"
*1973 - "Have A Change Of Scene"
*1973 - "Knock, Knock! Who's There"
*1974 - "So What Happens To Me"
*1974 - "Goldfish Have No Hiding Place"
*1974 - "Three Of Spades"
*1975 - "The Joker In The Pack"
*1975 - "Believe This, You'll Believe Anything"
*1976 - "Do Me A Favour, Drop Dead"
*1977 - "I Hold The Four Aces"
*1977 - "Meet Mark Girland"
*1977 - "My Laugh Comes Last" (filmed in 1995)
*1978 - "Consider Yourself Dead"
*1979 - "You Must Be Kidding"
*1979 - "A Can Of Worms"----
*1980 - "You Can Say That Again"
*1980 - "Try This One For Size" (filmed in 1989)
*1981 - "Hand Me A Fig Leaf"
*1982 - "Have A Nice Night"
*1982 - "We'll Share A Double Funeral"
*1983 - "Not My Thing"
*1984 - "Meet Helga Rolfe"
*1984 - "Hit Them Where It Hurts"


External links

* [http://orwell.ru/library/reviews/chase/english/e_bland "Raffles and Miss Blandish"] , review of "No Orchids for Miss Blandish" by George Orwell
* [http://perso.orange.fr/chase/ "James Hadley Chase, Life and work"]
* [http://koti.mbnet.fi/rudanko/chase.htm "Biography of James Hadley Chase"]
* [http://www.davidhigham.co.uk/html/Clients/Chase "Author - James Hadley Chase"] , brief on James Hadley Chase by his literary representatives David Higham Associates
* [http://perso.orange.fr/chase/interwiews.html "James Hadley Chase Interviews"] , Excerpts from Robert Deleuse's on James Hadley Chase
* [http://www.rootsweb.com/~lkawgw/readbrit.htm "Brief Bio on selected British Authors"]
* [http://www.jameshadleychase.blogspot.com "Mohamed Watfa’s site"]
* [http://www.jottings.ca/john/kelly/sbar1.html "Some Orchids for James Hadley Chase"]

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