Nicolas Blake

Franklin Library Nicolas Blake books

The Beast Must Die - Library of Mystery Masterpieces - 1990


Nicolas Blake biography

Nicolas Blake was the pseudonym adopted by Cecil Day-Lewis, born on April 27, 1904, in Ballintubbert, County Laois, Ireland. Day-Lewis, a distinguished poet and British Poet Laureate, also pursued a parallel career as a crime fiction writer under the name Nicolas Blake. His life and work encompassed a rich tapestry of literature, academia, and public service. Day-Lewis received his education at Sherborne School and later at Wadham College, Oxford, where he developed his love for poetry. His early literary career was marked by his involvement with the influential literary group known as the Oxford Wits, which included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, and Louis MacNeice.

As a poet, Cecil Day-Lewis achieved significant acclaim for his collections, including Overtures to Death (1938) and The Magnetic Mountain: Poems New and Collected (1933). He was appointed as the British Poet Laureate in 1968, a position he held until his death. In addition to his achievements in poetry, Day-Lewis made a notable contribution to the world of crime fiction under the pen name Nicolas Blake. His detective novels, featuring the amateur sleuth Nigel Strangeways, combined elements of mystery, psychological insight, and literary flair. Notable works in this genre include A Question of Proof (1935), Thou Shell of Death (1936), and The Beast Must Die (1938). Day-Lewis's transition between poetry and detective fiction showcased the versatility of his literary talents. Beyond his literary pursuits, he also had a distinguished academic career, teaching at various institutions, including the University of Oxford.

Cecil Day-Lewis's personal life was marked by its share of complexities, including his marriage to the actress Jill Balcon and his involvement in leftist political activities. His commitment to social issues and his involvement in public service, including his work with the Ministry of Information during World War II, added another layer to his multifaceted life. Cecil Day-Lewis passed away on May 22, 1972, leaving behind a legacy that encompassed both the poetic and the mysterious realms of literature. His contributions to both genres continue to be appreciated by readers, with his detective novels providing a distinctive bridge between the worlds of highbrow poetry and popular crime fiction.


The Beast Must Die

Frank Cairnes, a popular detective writer who now embarks on a real-life crime of his own, determined to hunt down the runaway motorist who killed his small son Martin.

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