Buchanan, Marie 1922-
BUCHANAN, Marie 1922-
(Clare Curzon, Rhona Petrie)
PERSONAL: Born 1922, in Hastings, England; daughter of William (a civil servant), and Rosina Beldersou; married Jimmy Duell; children: Karen, Lois, Fergus. Ethnicity: "A typical British mongrel: British, Welsh, and Viking ancestry." Education: University of London, B.A. (with honors), 1944, and associateship of King's College, 1944. Politics: "Conservative with liberal outlook." Religion: Christian. Hobbies and other interests: Paintings, portaits, and abstracts in oils; landscapes in watercolor; travel; cooking; and dining out.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o David Grossman Literary Agency, 118B Holland Park Ave., London W11 4UA, England.
CAREER: Writer. Has worked as interpreter, translator, language teacher, lecturer, probation officer, and social secretary in various European countries.
MEMBER: Crime Writers Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Herodotus Award for best first international historical mystery, 1999.
NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM RHONA PETRIE
Death in Deakins Wood, Gollancz (London, England), 1963, Dodd (New York, NY), 1964.
Murder by Precedent, Gollancz (London, England), 1964.
Running Deep, Gollancz (London, England), 1965.
Dead Loss, Gollancz (London, England), 1966, reprinted, Black Dagger Crime, 1999.
Foreign Bodies, Gollancz (London, England), 1967.
Maclurg Goes West, Gollancz (London, England), 1968.
Despatch of a Dove, Gollancz (London, England), 1969.
Come Hell and High Water (story collection), Gollancz (London, England), 1970.
Thorne in the Flesh, Gollancz (London, England), 1971.
NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM MARIE BUCHANAN
Anima, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1972, published as Greenshards, Gollancz (London, England), 1972.
An Unofficial Breath, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1973.
The Dark Backward, Coward (New York, NY), 1975.
Morgana, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1977.
The Countess of Sedgwick, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1980.
NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM CLARE CURZON
A Leaven of Malice, Collins (London, England), 1980.
Special Occasions, Collins (London, England), 1981.
Trail of Fire, Collins (London, England), 1987.
Shot Bolt, Collins (London, England), 1988.
The Face in the Stone, Collins (London, England), 1989.
Flawed Light, Severn House (Sutton, Surrey, England), 2003.
The Glass Wall, Gardners Books (Eastbourne, England), 2005.
"LUCY SEDGWICK" TRILOGY; UNDER PSEUDONYM CLARE CURZON
Guilty Knowledge, Thomas Dunne (New York, NY), 2000.
Colour of Blood, Severn House (Sutton, Surrey, England), 2000.
Dangerous Practice, Severn House (Sutton, Surrey, England), 2002.
"DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDENT MIKE YEADINGS" SERIES; UNDER PSEUDONYM CLARE CURZON
I Give You Five Days, Collins (London, England), 1983.
Masks and Faces, Collins (London, England), 1984.
The Trojan Hearse, Collins (London, England), 1985.
The Quest for K, Collins (London, England), 1986.
Three-Core Lead, Collins (London, England), 1988, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1990.
The Blue-eyed Boy, Collins (London, England), 1990, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1991.
Cat's Cradle, HarperCollins (London, England), 1991, St. Martin's (New York, NY) (New York, NY), 1992.
First Wife, Twice Removed, Little, Brown (London, England), 1992, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1993.
Death Prone, Little, Brown (London, England), 1992, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1994.
Nice People, Little, Brown (London, England), 1993, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1995.
Past Mischief, Little, Brown (London, England), 1994, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1996.
Close Quarters, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1997.
All Unwary, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1998.
Cold Hands, Thomas Dunne (New York, NY), 2001.
Don't Leave Me, Severn House (Sutton, Surrey, England), 2001, Thomas Dunne (New York, NY), 2002.
Body of a Woman, Thomas Dunne (New York, NY), 2003.
A Meeting of Minds, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 2004.
Last to Leave, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Edge.
SIDELIGHTS: Marie Buchanan is best-known for her popular mystery novels written under the pseudonym Clare Curzon and featuring Detective Superintendent Mike Yeadings. Buchanan once told CA: "Having started with [writing] crime as Rhona Petrie, and 'gone straight' as Marie Buchanan, [I] have returned to crime as Clare Curzon, [my] interest lying not in the debased professional criminal but in the human creature pushed too far by intolerable pressures."
The "Mike Yeadings" books fall into the police procedural tradition, in which realistic police officers are shown methodically investigating crime. In The Blue-eyed Boy Yeadings and his team investigate the murder of a young man from a prominent family whose behind-the-scenes personality was in sharp contrast to his golden-boy demeanor. As Publishers Weekly critic Sybil Steinberg noted, "Carefully and immediately portraying both the investigated and the investigators, Curzon delivers a superior procedural."
In First Wife, Twice Removed, Yeadings and his men are called to the scene when a divorcee dies after eating a food sample anonymously mailed to her. The death of a young Dutch girl seems at first unrelated, but Yeadings soon finds an unlikely connection between the two crimes. A Publishers Weekly critic described the novel as a "grimly realistic drama." In Past Mischief, Yeadings investigates a hit-and-run accident in which a young woman is almost killed, then discovers that two of the woman's friends have recently been found dead. Writing in Booklist, reviewer Emily Melton asserted, "Curzon's competent writing and keen understanding of the human psyche—plus an ingenious plot and a cast of fascinating characters—add up to a story that's sure to be a favorite among procedural fans."
Writing under the Curzon pseudonym, Buchanan tackles in Cold Hands what a Publishers Weekly critic called "one of the rarest crimes found in detective fiction: counterfeiting." The book finds female detective Rosemary Zyezinski undercover, investigating the counterfeit money mystery. Booklist critic David Pitt noted that Buchanan "alternate[s] effectively between dark, serious drama and lighter, comical goings-on." The result, according to Pitt, is a novel that is "smooth, professional, and entirely engaging." Buchanan's alternating perspectives in Body of a Woman show her adept abilities at creating interesting, complicated characters. The book's point of view shifts between the killer to the investigators to the murdered victim herself. Booklist critic Ilene Cooper commented that Buchanan "is at her best portraying very different characters, all of whom seem very real, even the sickest of the group."
Apart from the "Mike Yeadings" series, Buchanan has authored a trilogy of novels set in the early twentieth century featuring a woman named Lucy Sedgwick. In the first novel, Guilty Knowledge, Buchanan examines the lives of two women, Lady Isabelle Delmayne, and her sister-in-law, Eugenie, countess Crowthorne, who together share a horrible secret. When a murdered man is found on the family estate, both women's lives could be changed forever. Lucy is introduced in this novel as Isabelle's daughter and her story continues into the second book, The Colour of Blood. The final book in the series, Dangerous Practice, finds Lucy married to a psychotherapist whose patient attempts suicide. Lucy suspects foul play, and begins her own investigation, which could have fatal consequences. Booklist critic Melton called Lucy "a delightful heroine," adding that Dangerous Practice "is both entertaining and thought-provoking, with equal doses of murder mystery and social commentary on the customs and mores of early-twentieth-century London society."
Buchanan describes herself as an avid reader but one who dislikes category fiction, appreciating form but despairing of formula. She says she particularly admires the work of Carl Jung, Marcel Proust, William Faulkner, Arthur Koestler, Arthur Guirdham, and Jean Rhys. In the literary sense, she hopes never to "arrive, but for long to remain hopefully traveling." Buchanan told CA that, as a student, her subjects were European languages and psychology, two aspects of communication she feels provide the fabric and the theme of her novels. She added that her goal is to "write with greater compassion and less cleverness."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Detecting Women, Third edition, Purple Moon Press (Dearborn, MI).
St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, 4th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Booklist, May 15, 1996, Emily Melton, review of Past Mischief, p. 1572; February 1, 1997, p. 927; January 1, 2001, David Pitt, review of Cold Hands, p. 923; June 1, 2002, Emily Melton, review of Dangerous Practice, p. 1690; May 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of The Body of a Woman, p. 1540.
Drood Review of Mystery, January, 2001, review of Cold Hands, p. 17.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2001, review of Don't Leave Me, p. 1723; June 1, 2002, review of Dangerous Practice, p. 771; April 15, 2003, review of The Body of a Woman, p. 574.
Library Journal, August, 2000, Rex E. Klett, review of Guilty Knowledge, p. 166; March 1, 2001, review of Cold Hands, p. 134; February 1, 2002, Rex E. Klett, review of Don't Leave Me, p. 136; July, 2002, Rex E. Klett, review of Dangerous Practice, p. 126; August, 2003, Rex E. Klett, review of Flawed Light, p. 140.
New York Times Book Review, September 21, 1975; July 2, 1995; April 1, 2001, review of Cold Hands, p. 17.
Publishers Weekly, March 22, 1991, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Blue-eyed Boy, p. 73; April 6, 1992, review of Cat's Cradle, p. 54; April 26, 1993, review of First Wife, Twice Removed, p. 59; May 1, 1995, review of Nice People, p. 46; June 19, 2000, review of Guilty Knowledge, p. 63; February 19, 2001, review of Cold Hands, p. 72; January 21, 2002, review of Don't Leave Me, p. 68; June 17, 2002, review of Dangerous Practice, p. 46.
Times Literary Supplement, May 12, 1972.
Woman's Journal, March, 1999, review of Guilty Knowledge, p. 18.
Books 'n' Bytes Web site, http://www.booksnbytes.com/ (February 16, 2004), "Clare Curzon."
Mystery Reader Web site, http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (May 14, 2001), Jennifer Monahan Winberry, review of Cold Hands.