CHAPTER THREE

International Best-Selling Author

1936-1951

from ghost writer

to multi-million bestseller

Peter’s first ‘professional’ piece of writing was at the age of 14, when he won a literary competition in a boys’ magazine (the prize was half a guinea, and he asked the editor why it couldn’t be the full one). At 17 he started writing skits for stage stars George Carney and Bransby Williams. Reggie decided to give up his law career, to his mother’s regret, to write full-time for the theatre, but this promising start was interrupted by the First World War.

In 1953, two years after the death of Peter Cheyney, Gerald Vernier adapted Dangerous Curves for the stage and summed up the appeal of the author in his programme notes:

THE FABULOUS PETER CHEYNEY

Peter Cheyney died in the knowledge that he retained an immense public who revelled in his incomparable gift for story-telling. His legion of admirers still read avidly the books that poured from his vivid and inexhaustible imagination. His characters were drawn from life with a sure hand and a discerning eye. He spoke their language, knew their queer codes, mixed at his ease among them in the strange half-lights and shadows of the underworld he knew so well. Lemmy Caution, the hard bitten, wise-cracking F.B.I. man; the sinister Ernie Guelvada with his knife; the inscrutable Mr. Quayle; the debonoir Shaun Aloysius O’Mara, and , perhaps the most popular of all, the tough, ironic Slim Callaghan, are all characters from the Cheyney collection known throughout the world.

The dazzling Cheyney women are famous. No other writer has succeeded in portraying glamour so brilliantly. From their high-heeled shoes to the tops of their shapely heads, it is easy to visualise these lovely and exquisitely dressed ‘dames’ who are so entrancing to look at and, sometimes, so vicious and evil underneath.

Peter Cheyney still lives through the medium of his books...

Perhaps Peter Cheyney was talking about the same woman in Your Deal, My Lovely, when he wrote “I am tellin’ you that the south view of this dame from the east when she is walkin’ north would make a blind man turn to hard liquor.”

CHAPTER THREE

International Best-Selling Author

1936-1951

from ghost writer

to multi-million bestseller

© 2020 Adrian Sensicle.

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