When Hugo Charteris’s first novel, the haunting A Share of the World, was published in 1953 to the praise of Rosamond Lehmann (who helped to get it published), Peter Quennell, Evelyn Waugh, and Francis Wyndham (Charteris’s relation and consistent supporter), the author, just turned thirty-one, seemed set for lasting fame. It hasn’t worked that way in the almost five decades since his death of cancer in 1970, aged only forty-seven.

Nowadays, few people seem to know his name. This is true among not only the ever-growing majority who pay little attention to novels and novelists, but also the enlightened minority who do. The obscurity is at odds with the rich admiration shown in Charteris’s time by many of his contemporaries. Alan Ross, for forty years The London Magazine’s editor, found Charteris “one of...


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