Peter Cheyney

Peter Cheyney

Known For: Writing · Birthday: 1896-02-22 · Deathday: 1951-06-26 (55 years old)

19 Movies


Reginald Evelyn Peter Southouse-Cheyney (22 February 1896 – 26 June 1951), known as Peter Cheyney, was a British crime fiction writer who flourished between 1936 and 1951. Cheyney is perhaps best known for his short stories and novels about agent/detective Lemmy Caution, which, starting in 1953, were adapted into a series of French movies, all starring Eddie Constantine (however, the best known of these – the 1965 science fiction film Alphaville – was not directly based on a Cheyney novel).Although out of print for many years, Cheyney's novels have never been difficult to find second-hand. Several of them have recently been made available as e-books.

Personal Life.

From all accounts, Cheyney lived much like his characters, working too hard, living the fast and careless life with a breathtaking abandon that eventually caught up with him. In addition to his literary skills, "he was a fencer of repute, a golfer, a crack pistol-shot, and a jiu-jitsu expert."Cheyney joined the New Party (set up by Sir Oswald Mosley and precursor to the later British Union of Fascists or BUF) in 1931, heading its youth detachment, which protected public meetings.Cheyney was married three times: in 1919 to the stage actress Dorma Leigh, in 1934 to Kathleen Nora Walter Taberer, and in 1948 to Loretta Theresa Singer. He had no children.

Early Life.

Peter Cheyney was born in Whitechapel 1896, the youngest of five children, and educated at the Mercers' School in the City of London. He began to write skits for the theatre as a teenager, but this ended when the First World War began. In 1915 he enlisted in the British Army as a volunteer, in 1916 was wounded on active service and published two volumes of poetry, Poems of Love and War and To Corona and Other Poems. The next year, 1917, his military service ended.Starting in the late 1920s, Cheyney worked for the Metropolitan Police as a police reporter and crime investigator. Until he became successful as a crime novelist, he was often quite poor. It is said that he got his start through a bet; when Cheyney remarked that anyone could write a book in the idiom of the American thriller, he was wagered five pounds that he could not. Cheyney sold his first story as the result of this bet.
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