Andrews, John (Malcolm) 1936-
ANDREWS, John (Malcolm) 1936-
PERSONAL: Born August 21, 1936, in Manchester, England; son of Ernest (an engineer) and May (Whiteley) Andrews; married Geraldine Lacey (a picture restorer), March 25, 1961; children: Simon Charles. Education: St. John's College, Cambridge, M.A., 1958.
ADDRESSES: Home—Carriers Oast, Northiam, Sussex TN31 6NH, England. Agent—Teresa Chris, 43 Musard Rd., London W6 8NR, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Design engineer, 1958-63; export manager, 1963-70; management consultant, 1970-76; international marketing manager, 1976-90; machinery broker, 1990—.
MEMBER: Crime Writers Association, Society of Authors.
NOVELS; UNDER NAME JOHN MALCOLM
A Back Room in Somers Town, Collins (London, England), 1984, Scribner (New York, NY), 1985.
The Godwin Sideboard, Collins (London, England), 1984, Scribner (New York, NY), 1985.
The Gwen John Sculpture, Collins (London, England), 1985, Scribner (New York, NY), 1986.
Whistler in the Dark, Scribner (New York, NY), 1986.
Gothic Pursuit, Scribner (New York, NY), 1987.
Mortal Ruin, Scribner (New York, NY), 1988.
The Wrong Impression, Scribner (New York, NY), 1990.
Sheep, Goats and Soap, Scribner (New York, NY), 1991.
A Deceptive Appearance, Scribner (New York, NY), 1992.
The Burning Ground, HarperCollins (London, England), 1993.
Hung Over, HarperCollins (London, England), 1994, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.
Into the Vortex, HarperCollins (London, England), 1996, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Simpson's Homer, Allison & Busby (New York, NY), 2002.
Circles & Squares, Allison & Busby (New York, NY), 2003.
Mortal Instruments, Allison & Busby (New York, NY), 2003.
OTHER; UNDER NAME JOHN ANDREWS
The Price Guide to Antique Furniture, Antique Collectors Club (Woodbridge, Suffolk, England), 1969, new edition published as British Antique Furniture, 1989.
The Price Guide to Victorian Furniture, Antique Collectors Club (Woodbridge, Suffolk, England), 1970.
The Price Guide to Victorian, Edwardian, and 1920s Furniture, Antique Collectors Club (Woodbridge, Suffolk, England), 1980, new edition published as Victorian and Edwardian Furniture, 1992.
The ACC Guide to the Antique Furniture of the Western World, Antique Collectors Club (Woodbridge, Suffolk, England), 1996.
Contributor of short stories, under name John Malcolm, to anthologies, including A Suit of Diamonds, Collins (London, England), 1990; Midwinter Mysteries, Scribner (New York, NY), 1991; and Winters Crimes 24, Macmillan, 1992.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Rogues Gallery.
SIDELIGHTS: John Andrews applies his expert knowledge of antiques and art to his sophisticated mystery novels, which involve the theft of valuable collectibles. His detective character is Tim Simpson, a "tough young art expert with an easily kindled temper," as Newgate Callendar described him in the New York Times Book Review. Simpson repeatedly finds himself involved in cases of theft, forgery, and fraud.
The fictional Simpson works for a British bank as a specialist in art investment. In the first book to feature him, A Back Room in Somers Town, Tim travels all the way to Brazil in order to track down the perpetrators of a web of fraud and murder. Along the way, he encounters "more physical punishment from altercations with criminals than the average boxer would expect to encounter in a lifelong career," Judith Rhodes stated in St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers.
Tim's frequent run-ins with violence are a source of concern to his girlfriend, Sue Westerman, and his employer, Jeremy White. Sue, who eventually marries Tim, frequently works with him in her position as an administrative assistant at London's Tate Gallery. Another foil is provided for the detective in the form of his friend Nobby Roberts, a professional policeman who is constantly irritated by Tim's amateur snooping. "But violence, although endemic in these books, is in fact a lesser feature than the wealth of information on antiques and fine art. Malcolm's obvious love of, and expertise in, the art and artifacts of his chosen period permeate the stories," commented Rhodes, who credited the author with creating "genuine atmosphere" and illustrating the close relationships between various artistic movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
In Hung Over, Tim is angered to find that his bank has purchased a mediocre collection of paintings, apparently to help out one of its best customers, who is struggling with financial difficulties. The murder of an art dealer friend of Tim's seems to be unrelated, but as time progresses he realizes there is a sinister link between the two events. His investigation makes for "a delightful tale, full of wit and charm," that will appeal to any mystery lover, but most especially to "Anglophiles and art lovers," recommended a Booklist reviewer. A Publishers Weekly reviewer added: "The novel's taut ending is a thing of beauty."
Into the Vortex is marked by "dry wit, subtle wordplay, and literate references," all woven into a tale of a murder connected to a Wyndam Lewis painting, according to Rex E. Klett in Library Journal. Simpson's Homer is another "intelligent, well-plotted story," in the estimation of a Publishers Weekly reviewer, as Tim and Sue investigate reports that an old friend of Tim's has become mentally unbalanced. That friend soon turns up dead, as do two of his associates. The adventures continue in Circles & Squares, a book that "proves that this series ages as profitably as the works of art it features," reported Jenny McLarin in Booklist. This time the art that figures prominently in the narrative is that of William and Ben Nicholson, whose styles were very unalike. "Malcolm manipulates plot twists as deftly as a skilled artist wields a paintbrush. His graceful prose and obvious but unobtrusive knowledge of fine art and the finishing touches to an outstanding mystery," concluded McLarin.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Booklist, August, 1995, Emily Melton, review of Hung Over, p. 1932; May 1, 2003, Jenny McLarin, review of Circles & Squares, p. 1550.
Library Journal, September 1, 1995, Rex E. Klett, review of Hung Over, p. 212; June 1, 1997, p. 154; May 1, 1985, Lynette Friesen, review of A Back Room in Somers Town, p. 82; January, 1987, Jo Ann Vicarel, review of Whistler in the Dark, p. 111; November 1, 1992, Rex E. Klett, review of A Deceptive Appearance, p. 121; Regan Robinson, review of Sheep, Goats, and Soap, p. 144.
Listener, July 19, 1984.
New York Times Book Review, June 8, 1986, p. 34; March 15, 1987, Newgate Callendar, review of Whistler in the Dark, p. 24; November 1, 1987, Newgate Callendar, review of Gothic Pursuit, p. 34.
Observer (London, England), August 26, 1984.
Publishers Weekly, September 6, 1985, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Godwin Sideboard, p. 58; February 28, 1986, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Gwen John Sculpture, p. 118; November 28, 1986, Sybil Steinberg, review of Whistler in the Dark, August 7, 1987, Sybil Steinberg, review of Gothic Pursuit, p. 437; June 24, 1998, Sybil Steinberg, review of Mortal Run, p. 97; July 6, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Wrong Impression, p. 61; November 22, 1991, review of Sheep, Goats and Soap, p. 40; October 12, 1992, review of A Deceptive Appearance, p. 67; August 7, 1995, p. 445; March 4, 2002, review of Simpson's Homer, p. 59.
Punch, May 30, 1984.