Jeffries, Roderic 1926–

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Jeffries, Roderic 1926–

(Peter Alding, Jeffrey Ashford, Hastings Draper, Roderic Graeme, Graham Hastings, Roderic Graeme Jeffries)

PERSONAL: Born October 21, 1926, in London, England; son of Graham Montague (a writer) and Lorna Helene Jeffries; married Rosemary Powys Woodhouse, March 13, 1958; children: Xanthe Kathleen, Crispin John. Education: Attended the University of Southampton School of Navigation, 1942–43; Gray's Inn, barrister-at-law. Hobbies and other interests: Shooting, training gun dogs, vintage Bentleys, travel, gardening, drinking local wines when in Spain.

ADDRESSES: Home—Mallorca, Spain.

CAREER: British Merchant Navy, 1943–49, began as an apprentice, became third officer; called to the Bar and practiced law, 1952–54; writer, 1954–

MEMBER: Paternosters.


Evidence of the Accused, Collins (London, England), 1961, British Book Center (New York, NY), 1963.

Exhibit No. Thirteen, Collins (London, England), 1962.

Police and Detection, Brockhampton Press (Leicester, England), 1962, published as Against Time!, Harper (London, England), 1963.

The Benefits of Death, Collins (London, England), 1963, Dodd (New York, NY), 1964.

An Embarrassing Death, Collins (London, England), 1964, Dodd (New York, NY), 1965, Black Dagger (Bath, England), 2006.

Dead against the Lawyers, Dodd (New York, NY), 1965.

Police Dog, Brockhampton Press (Leicester, England), 1965.

Death in the Coverts, Collins (London, England), 1966.

A Deadly Marriage, Collins (London, England), 1967.

Police Car, Brockhampton Press (Leicester, England), 1967, published as Patrol Car, Harper (London, England), 1967.

A Traitor's Crime, Collins (London, England), 1968.

River Patrol, Harper (London, England), 1969.

Dead Man's Bluff, Collins (London, England), 1970.

Police Patrol Boat, Brockhampton Press (Leicester, England), 1971.

Trapped, Harper (London, England), 1972.

The Riddle in the Parchment, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1976.

The Boy Who Knew Too Much, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1977.

Eighteen Desperate Hours, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1979.

The Missing Man, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1980.

Voyage into Danger, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1981.

Peril at Sea, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1983.

Sunken Danger, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1985.

Meeting Trouble, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1986.

The Man Who Couldn't Be, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1987.

Dead against the Lawyers, Black Dagger Crime (Bath, England), 2003.


Mistakenly in Mallorca, Collins (London, England), 1974.

Two Faced Death, Collins (London, England), 1976.

Troubled Deaths, Collins (London, England), 1977.

Murder Begets Murder, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1978.

Just Deserts, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1980.

Unseemly End, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1981.

Deadly Petard, Collins (London, England), 1983.

Three and One Make Five, Collins (London, England), 1984.

Layers of Deceit, Collins (London, England), 1985.

Almost Murder, Collins (London, England), 1986.

Relatively Dangerous, Collins (London, England), 1987.

Death Trick, Collins (London, England), 1988.

Dead Clever, HarperCollins (London, England), 1989.

Too Clever by Half, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1990.

A Fatal Fleece, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Murder's Long Memory, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.

Murder Confounded, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.

Death Takes Time, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.

An Arcadian Death, HarperCollins (London, England), 1995.

An Artistic Way to Go, HarperCollins (London, England), 1996.

A Maze of Murders, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.

An Enigmatic Disappearance, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2000.

An Artful Death, Collins (London, England), 2000, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2002.

The Ambiguity of Murder, St. Martin' Minotaur (New York, NY), 2001.

Definitely Deceased, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2001.

Seeing Is Deceiving: An Inspector Alvarez Mystery, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2002.

An Intriguing Murder, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2003.

An Air of Murder, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2003.

A Sunny Disappearance, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2005.

Murder Delayed, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2006.

Murder Needs Imagination, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2007.


Brandy Ahoy!, Hutchinson (London, England), 1951.

Where's Brandy?, Hutchinson (London, England), 1953.

Brandy Goes a Cruising, Hutchinson (London, England), 1954.


Concerning Blackshirt, Hutchinson (London, England), 1952.

Blackshirt Wins the Trick, Hutchinson (London, England), 1953.

Blackshirt Passes By, Hutchinson (London England), 1953.

Salute to Blackshirt, Hutchinson (London, England), 1954.

The Amazing Mr. Blackshirt, Hutchinson (London, England), 1955.

Blackshirt Meets the Lady, Hutchinson (London, England), 1956.

Paging Blackshirt, John Long (London, England), 1957.

Blackshirt Helps Himself, John Long (London, England), 1958.

Double for Blackshirt, John Long (London, England), 1958.

Blackshirt Sets the Pace, John Long (London, England), 1959.

Blackshirt Sees It Through, John Long (London, England), 1960.

Blackshirt Finds Trouble, John Long (London, England), 1961.

Blackshirt Takes the Trail, John Long (London, England), 1962.

Blackshirt on the Spot, John Long (London, England), 1963.

Call for Blackshirt, John Long (London, England), 1963.

Blackshirt Saves the Day, John Long (London, England), 1964.

Danger for Blackshirt, John Long (London, England), 1965.

Blackshirt at Large, John Long (London, England), 1966.

Blackshirt in Peril, John Long (London, England), 1967.

Blackshirt Stirs Things Up, John Long (London, England), 1969.


Wiggery Pokery, W.H. Allen (London, England), 1956.

Wigged and Gowned, W.H. Allen (London, England), 1958.

Brief Help, W.H. Allen (London, England), 1961.


Twice Checked, R. Hale (London, England), 1959.

Deadly Game, R. Hale (London, England), 1961.


Counsel for the Defence, John Long (London, England), 1960.

Investigations Are Proceeding, John Long (London, England), 1961, published as The D.I., Harper (London, England), 1962.

The Burden of Proof, Harper (London, England), 1962.

Will Anyone Who Saw the Accident …, Harper (London, England), 1963.

Enquiries Are Continuing, John Long (London, England), 1964, published as The Superintendent's Room, Harper (London, England), 1965.

The Hands of Innocence, John Long (London, England), 1965, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1966.

Consider the Evidence, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1966.

Hit and Run, Arrow Books (London, England), 1966.

Forget What You Saw, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1967.

Grand Prix Monaco, Putnam (New York, NY), 1968.

Prisoner at the Bar, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1969.

Grand Prix Germany, Putnam (New York, NY), 1970.

To Protect the Guilty, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1970.

Bent Copper, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1971.

Grand Prix United States, Putnam (New York, NY), 1971.

A Man Will Be Kidnapped Tomorrow, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1972.

Grand Prix Britain, Putnam (New York, NY), 1973.

The Double Run, Walker & Co. (New York, NY, 1973.

Dick Knox at Le Mans, Putnam (New York, NY), 1974.

The Color of Violence, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1974.

Three Layers of Guilt, John Long (London, England), 1975.

Slow Down the World, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1976.

Hostage to Death, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1977.

The Anger of Fear, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1978.

A Recipe for Murder, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1979.

The Loss of the Culion, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1981.

Guilt with Honour, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1982.

A Sense of Loyalty, Collins (London, England), 1983, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1984.

Presumption of Guilt, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1984.

An Ideal Crime, Collins (New York, NY), 1985, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1986.

A Question of Principle, Collins (London, England), 1986, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1987.

A Crime Remembered, Collins (London, England), 1987, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1988.

The Honourable Detective, HarperCollins (London, England), 1988, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989.

A Conflict of Interests, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989.

An Illegal Solution, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1990.

Deadly Reunion, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Twisted Justice, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.

Judgement Deferred, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.

The Bitter Bite, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.

The Price of Failure, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.

Loyal Disloyalty, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Web of Circumstances, Severn House (Sutton, England), 1998.

The Cost of Innocence, Severn House (Sutton, England), 1999.

Honest Betrayal, Severn House (Sutton, England), 1999.

Looking-Glass Justice, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2000.

Murder Will Out, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2001.

A Truthful Injustice, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2002.

A Fair Exchange Is Robbery, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2002.

Evidentially Guilty, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2004.

Deadly Corruption, Severn House (Sutton, England), 2005.


The C.I.D. Room, John Long (London, England), 1967, published as All Leads Negative, Harper (London, England), 1967.

Circle of Danger, John Long (London, England), 1968.

Murder among Thieves, John Long (London, England), 1969, McCall (New York, NY), 1970.

Guilt without Proof, John Long (London, England), 1970, McCall (New York, NY), 1971.

Despite the Evidence, John Long (London, England), 1971, Saturday Review Press (New York, NY), 1972.

Call Back to Crime, John Long (London, England), 1972.

Field of Fire, John Long (London, England), 1973.

The Murder Line, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1974.

Six Days to Death, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1975.

Murder Is Suspected, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1978.

Ransom Town, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1979.

A Man Condemned, R. Hale (London, England), 1981.

Betrayed by Death, R. Hale (London, England), 1982.

One Man's Justice, R. Hale (London, England), 1983.

ADAPTATIONS: Several of Jeffries's books have been adapted for films, television, radio, and audio cassettes.

SIDELIGHTS: Roderic Jeffries began his career by writing books featuring his father's character, Blackshirt, a popular detective whose adventures have appeared in print for many decades. In time Jeffries branched out and began to write a variety of mystery novels under several different names. His most popular character is Inspector Enrique Alvarez of the Spanish island resort of Mallorca, "a middleaged man with a bit of a middleaged spread [who] takes a diligent, unhurried approach to solving crime," according to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly.

Alvarez's cases usually concern British tourists who are enjoying their holidays in the Spanish sun when they get entangled in murderous affairs. In Death Takes Time, for example, Alvarez must investigate the odd deaths of three English visitors. One has fallen from her terrace, another dies from a heroin overdose, and the third is found dead of gunshot wounds. A blackmail plot and a seemingly impossible timetable for the murders adds to the mystery, which Alvarez solves with what a Publishers Weekly critic called an "easy charm."

A Maze of Murders, the twenty-first Inspector Alvarez mystery, "features a particularly clever and intricate story line with enough murder, blackmail, and double-crosses to keep the pages turning rapidly," in the estimation of Booklist reviewer Stuart Miller. The inspector's personality is explored in greater depth than usual, as well; he muses about the changes that tourism has brought to his home, and about his mixed feelings toward those changes. He is also romantically drawn to the young cousin of one of his key suspects, and this situation reveals to readers why the inspector has never married. Miller rated this book a "must read" for established fans of Alvarez and "a wonderful introduction" for those new to the series.

An Enigmatic Disappearance drew praise from numerous reviewers. In this mystery, Alvarez investigates the disappearance of a beautiful young woman who is the wife of a fussy, impotent, much older man. Did she leave of her own accord? Alvarez at first assumes that she did, but when he discovers that the missing woman's husband had a similar incident in his past involving a previous wife—which included a murder and a large insurance premium—he realizes that things are more serious than they at first seemed. A Publishers Weekly critic wrote: "This is another small gem in a series that never fails to amuse."

Retired Bolivian diplomat Guido Zavala is found dead in his swimming pool in The Ambiguity of Murder, and the murder is soon connected to drug dealing. Alvarez also discovers that the dead man's young wife was having an affair with a gambler who owed her husband money. Jennifer Monahan Winberry noted in a review for Mystery Reader online that, although Jeffries has written many previous novels in this series, the author "has not allowed his job to jade his outlook on things, and he is just as determined not to settle for any answer, but to seek out the truth."

An Artful Death finds Alvarez hoping that Keith Vickers is missing due to accident or suicide, but when his body comes to the surface in a local cove, it is clear that there has been foul play and the inspector must act. When Alvarez questions a British cabinet minister, with whom the dead man had quarreled, he enrages his superior, Chief Salas. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that Alvarez "has a Columbo-like capacity for fooling people into underestimating him."

A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that in Definitely Deceased, "the pace is deliberate, the path to the solution is serpentine and Alvarez is suavely charming as he doggedly pursues justice." This story finds Alvarez attempting to clear Miguel Munar of a smuggling charge, but the witness who may confirm his innocence turns up dead with a missing hand and head. Police Chief Salas orders that the case be taken over by Inspector Fuster, who would like to show up Alvarez.

Seeing Is Deceiving: An Inspector Alvarez Mystery begins on Good Friday, with Alvarez giving up his cognac and women, which soon has him in a poor state of mind. He has two cases to solve, one the death of bank employee Robina Wade, and the other the death of Marcial Ramos, whose body and motorcycle are found at the bottom of a ravine. The latter case becomes more interesting when Alvarez discovers that Ramos had been a peeping Tom.

An Intriguing Murder features the drowning death of Scott "Dinty" Muir, a ladies man who once broke the heart of Zara Locke, daughter of British expatriates Laura and Keir, in whose pool the body is found. Muir, who was a hemophiliac, was stabbed. Zara committed suicide because of the failed romance, and now the Lockes become come suspects. When Alvarez finds nearly a million euros in Muir's office safe, marked with the initials of a government official, he suspects bribery may be involved. Other characters include Muir's beautiful blonde date, who flirts with Alvarez, gossipy Adela, and the Muir servants, Pablo and Elena. "Brisk and brimming with irony, with a handsomely satisfying solution for the armchair detective," concluded a Kirkus Reviews contributor.

Alvarez is suspended from his job in An Air of Murder when Lady Gerrard complains to Salas about Alvarez's investigation of the murder of her servant, Dora, especially when the suspect seems to be her employer's brother-in-law.

Alvarez continues to enjoy his life—taking naps and sipping cognac and coffee—in A Sunny Disappearance until the trophy wife of British yachtsman Maurice Rook reports him missing, following the loss of their wealth when a property deal falls through. Alvarez suspects that the couple may have faked his drowning in order to collect on a million-dollar insurance policy, but his theory dissolves when the decomposed body of the man washes up on shore. Now he suspects that it may have been murder, but as he continues his investigation, Alvarez becomes smitten with the victim's niece, who herself may have had motives. Emily Melton in Booklist praised Jeffries's "deft plotting, delightful protagonist, laugh-aloud humor."

In Murder Delayed, the British police are trying to track down Michael Faber, who swindled his company and left the country, presumably for Mallorca. Alvarez is assigned the case and reluctantly pursues it, looking for a single man not clearly described on an island full of expatriates and tourists. His chase is interrupted by a romantic interlude, enjoyment of his favorite pleasures, and a murder. "Deliciously arch as ever," commented a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "Alvarez ends up clearing the case in a way that's as satisfying as it is improbably logical."



Booklist, September 15, 1993, review of Murder Confounded, p. 131; November 1, 1994, review of Death Takes Time, p. 480; December 15, 1995, review of An Arcadian Death, p. 688; June 1, 1997, review of An Artistic Way to Go, p. 1666; January 1, 1998, Stuart Miller, review of A Maze of Murders, p. 782; April 15, 1998, review of A Maze of Murders, p. 1366; May 1, 2001, Stuart Miller, review of The Ambiguity of Murder, p. 1634; July, 2001, Stuart Miller, review of Definitely Deceased, p. 1987; November 15, 2002, Barbara Biel, review of An Artful Death, p. 580; January 1, 2003, Emily Melton, review of An Intriguing Murder, p. 855; March 15, 2004, Stuart Miller, review of An Air of Murder, p. 1271; February 1, 2005, Emily Melton, review of A Sunny Disappearance, p. 946; February 1, 2006, Emily Melton, review of Murder Delayed, p. 33.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1993, review of Murder Confounded, p. 967; October 15, 1994, review of Death Takes Time, p. 1372; May 15, 1997, review of An Artistic Way to Go, p. 764; December 1, 1997, review of A Maze of Murders, p. 1742; May 1, 2002, review of Seeing Is Deceiving: An Inspector Alvarez Mystery, p. 619; February 15, 2003, review of An Intriguing Murder, p. 273; February 1, 2005, review of A Sunny Disappearance, p. 152; April 1, 2006, review of Murder Delayed, p. 326.

Library Journal, December, 1995, review of An Arcadian Death, p. 163; August, 2001, Debra Mitts, review of Definitely Deceased, p. 170.

Publishers Weekly, July 19, 1993, review of Murder Confounded, p. 238; November 21, 1994, review of Death Takes Time, p. 71; November 17, 1997, review of A Maze of Murders, p. 56; July 17, 2000, review of An Enigmatic Disappearance, p. 178; March 19, 2001, review of The Ambiguity of Murder, p. 79; July 2, 2001, review of Definitely Deceased, p. 56; June 10, 2002, review of Seeing Is Deceiving, p. 45; December 2, 2002, review of An Artful Death, p. 37; April 3, 2006, review of Murder Delayed, p. 45.

Rapport, number 4, 1996, review of An Arcadian Death, p. 25.


Mystery Reader, (December 26, 2006), Jennifer Monahan Winberry, review of The Ambiguity of Murder.

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Jeffries, Roderic 1926–

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