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April 18 , 2010

The Daffodil Mystery



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The Admirable Carfew

Gregory Carfew is 'an unparalleled master of descriptive'. Felix Carfew 'writes a vile hand'. There is a new boy on the desk at The Megaphone and it is Felix who is handed the envelope. Finding himself on Ambassador Greishen's special train, then on a steamer to Ostend, Felix recklessly exploits the opportunity. At 3.00 a.m. Gregory gets an urgent…

The Daffodil Mystery by Edgar Wallace, was first published in 1920.

When Mr Thomas Lyne, poet, poseur and owner of Lyne's Emporium insults a cashier, Odette Rider, she resigns. Having summoned detective Jack Tarling to investigate another employee, Mr Milburgh, Lyne now changes his plans. Tarling and his Chinese companion refuse to become involved. They pay a visit to Odette's flat. In the hall Tarling meets Sam, convicted felon and protege of Lyne. Next morning Tarling discovers a body. The hands are crossed on the breast, adorned with a handful of daffodils

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Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace was a prolific English journalist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter who is accredited with 175 novels and 24 plays.

He was born on 1 April 1875  to the popular actress Polly Richards, but was given up for adoption nine days later to Dick Freeman, a Biliingsgate Market fish porter.

He started his career on London's Fleet Street at the age of eleven, selling newspapers at Ludgate Circus, where a plaque can now be seen marking his astonishing contribution as a writer.

Interestingly, Wallace is believed to have been the first British radio sports reporter. On 6 June 1923 he reported on the Epsom Derby horse race for the British Broadcasting Company, the predecessor of the BBC we know today.

He moved to Hollywood in 1931, where he initially worked rewriting scripts, but later made one of his landmark contributions when he wrote the first draft of the screenplay for the RKO picture King Kong. However, he died on 10 February 1932 and did not see the film go into production.

He was noted throughout his life with the speed with which he would write. He put this down to the twenty sugary cups of tea he drank and the four packets of cigarettes that he consumed each day. One anecdote about his writing speed was that if anyone ever called his house on the telephone and was told that he could not speak to them because he was writing, the reply would often be; "that's fine, I'll wait".

In January 1932 Wallace began to complain of severe headaches. He was diagnosed a few days later with diabetes, which doctors were surprised had not taken a more telling toll on his health, in particular his sight. Within a few weeks of the headaches starting Wallace had died. His body was taken back to the UK, where flags in Fleet Street were lowered to half and the bell at St Bride's, the journalists' chapel, were rung in memorial to him. He was buried in Fern, near Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire, England.

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