Lewis, Roy 1933–

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Lewis, Roy 1933–

(J.R. Lewis, John Royston Lewis, David Springfield)


Born January 17, 1933, in Rhondda, Glamorganshire, Wales; son of John Harold (a miner) and Ellen Lewis; married Gwendoline Hutchings (a teacher), February, 1955 (divorced, 1984); children: Mark, Yvette, Sarah. Education: University of Bristol, LL.B., 1954; University of Exeter, diploma in education, 1957; called to the Bar, London, England, 1965; University of Durham, M.A., 1978. Hobbies and other interests: Watching rugby on television.


Home—South Stainmore, Westmorland, England.


Teacher and writer. Managing director of publishing companies, including Templar North Publications Limited, Casdec Limited, and Felton Press; Okehampton Secondary School, Devon, England, teacher, 1957-59; Cannock Chase Technical College, Staffordshire, England, lecturer, 1959-61; Cornwall Technical College, Redruth, Cornwall, England, lecturer, 1961-63; Plymouth College of Technology, Devon, England, lecturer, 1963-67; Her Majesty's inspector of schools, Newcastle, England, 1967-75; New College, Durham, England, vice-principal, 1975-81; Wigan College of Technology, Wigan, England, principal, 1981-90. Military service: Royal Artillery, 1954-56.


Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administrators, fellow, 1983; international president, 1988.



A Lover Too Many, Collins (London, England), 1969, World (Cleveland, OH), 1971.

A Wolf by the Ears, Collins (London, England), 1970, World (Cleveland, OH), 1972.

Error of Judgment, Collins (London, England), 1971.

The Fenokee Project, Collins (London, England), 1971.

A Secret Singing, Collins (London, England), 1972.

A Fool for a Client, Collins (London, England), 1972.

Blood Money, Collins (London, England), 1973.

Of Singular Purpose, Collins (London, England), 1973.

A Question of Degree, Collins (London, England), 1974.

Double Take, Collins (London, England), 1975.

A Part of Virtue, Collins (London, England), 1975.

Witness My Death, Collins (London, England), 1976.

Distant Banner, Collins (London, England), 1976.

Nothing but Foxes, Collins (London, England), 1977, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1979.

An Uncertain Sound, Collins (London, England), 1978, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1980.

An Inevitable Fatality, Collins (London, England), 1978.

A Violent Death, Collins (London, England), 1979.

A Certain Blindness, Collins (London, England), 1980, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1981.

A Relative Distance, Collins (London, England), 1981.

Seek for Justice, Collins (London, England), 1981.

Dwell in Danger, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1982.

A Gathering of Ghosts, Collins (London, England), 1982, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1983.

A Limited Vision, Collins (London, England), 1983, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1984.

Once Dying, Twice Dead, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1984.

Most Cunning Workmen, Collins (London, England), 1984, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1985.

A Blurred Reality, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1985.

A Trout in the Milk, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1986.

Premium on Death, Collins (London, England), 1986, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Men of Subtle Craft, Collins (London, England), 1987, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1988.

The Salamander Chill, Collins (London, England), 1988, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989.

A Necessary Dealing, Collins (London, England), 1989.

The Devil Is Dead, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1990.

A Kind of Transaction, HarperCollins (London, England), 1991.

A Wisp of Smoke, HarperCollins (London, England), 1991, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.

A Secret Dying, HarperCollins (London, England), 1992, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.

Bloodeagle, HarperCollins (London, England), 1993, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.

The Cross Bearer, HarperCollins (London, England), 1994, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.

Angel of Death, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.

A Short-Lived Ghost, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.

Suddenly as a Shadow, HarperCollins (London, England), 1997.

The Ghost Dancers, HarperCollins (London, England), 1997.

The Shape-Shifter, HarperCollins (London, England), 1998.

A Form of Death, Allison & Busby (London, England), 2000.

Assumption of Death, Constable (London, England), 2000.

Dead Secret, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2001.

The Nightwalker, Allison & Busby (London, England), 2002.

The Ways of Death, Constable, 2002.

Phantom, Allison & Busby (London, England), 2002.

Dead Man Running, Allison & Busby (London, England), 2003.

Headhunter, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2004.

Grave Error, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2005.

Death Squad, Allison & Busby (London, England), 2007.


Law of the Retailer: An Outline for Students and Business Men, Allman (London, England), 1964, published as Law for the Retailer, Jordan (Bristol, England), 1974.

Cases for Discussion, Pergamon Press (New York, NY), 1965.

An Introduction to Business Law, Allman (London, England), 1965.

Law in Action, Allman (London, England), 1965.

Questions and Answers on Civil Procedure, Sweet and Maxwell (London, England), 1966.

Building Law, Allman (London, England), 1966.

Democracy: The Theory and the Practice, Allman (London, England), 1966.

Managing within the Law, Allman (London, England), 1967.

(With John Anthony Holland) Principles of Registered Land Conveyancing, Butterworth (London, England), 1967.

Company Law, Allman (London, England), 1967.

Revision Notes for Ordinary Level British Constitution, Allman (London, England), 1967.

Civil and Criminal Procedure, Sweet and Maxwell (London, England), 1968.

Landlord and Tenant, Sweet and Maxwell (London, England), 1968.

Outlines of Equity, Butterworth (London, England), 1968.

(With Anne Redish) Mercantile and Commercial Law, Heinemann (London, England), 1969.

Law for the Construction Industry, Macmillan (London, England), 1975.

Administrative Law for the Construction Industry, Macmillan (London, England), 1976.

The Teaching of Public Administration in Further and Higher Education, Joint University Council for Social and Public Administration (London, England), 1979.

The Victorian Bar, 1837-1882, R. Hale (London, England), 1980.

Certain Private Incidents, Templar North (Wigan, England), 1980.

The Victorian Bar, R. Hale (London, England), 1982.

The Maypole, Wigantech (Wigan, England), 1983.


(Under pseudonym David Springfield) The Company Executive and the Law, Heinemann (London, England), 1970.

Writer for radio program Brought to Justice. Contributor to Legal Executive.


Roy Lewis has written numerous nonfiction books but is better known as the author of more than fifty crime novels with several very different protagonists. Many of Lewis's novels feature Inspector Crow of Scotland Yard and are set in the Welsh or English countryside. Crow displays what a Publishers Weekly critic termed a "wry overview of English country life in decline." William Weaver, writing in the St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, called Crow "a likeable, laconic protagonist." Lewis has also written several mysteries about Eric Ward, a police officer who became a lawyer when his eyesight went bad due to glaucoma. "Lewis's novels featuring Ward," wrote a Booklist critic, "are sensitively written and deeply moving." In addition, Lewis has written several novels about a timid archaeologist named Arnold Landon, whose cases involve British historical sites. A Publishers Weekly critic noted that although Landon loses his wits around women, "as an investigator he's canny enough to keep us enthralled." With this handful of recurring protagonists, Lewis has demonstrated his skill at developing characters readers are interested in following. "Lewis's strongest virtues," wrote Weaver, "are his grasp of character—his people are seldom eccentric, but lively, unexpected, even quirkish—and his unfailing sense of place, of atmosphere, whether he is writing about a Welsh building site (Distant Banner), the legal world (A Fool for a Client), or the well-to-do bourgeoisie of Durham."

Library Journal reviewer Rex E. Klett recommended A Form of Death for its "clear, practiced prose, cleverly twisted plotting, sustained tension, and detailed police procedure." Ward is practicing law in what he regards as a pathetic practice, catering to low-life clients. He is left alone when his younger and extremely wealthy wife travels to Singapore on a business trip accompanied by what Klett called "a very attentive corporate lawyer." In her absence, Ward becomes entangled with a troubled, high-class prostitute who is soon murdered. In an effort to save his reputation, Ward begins an investigation that leads him on a deadly trail of drugs and deceit. Marilyn Stasio commented in her review of the book for the New York Times Book Review: "Lewis smartly moves the hero in and out of his bind while making his devotion to his shady waterfront clientele entirely understandable." Emily Melton, writing for Booklist, called the book "a literate, thoughtful examination of human nature combined with a grimly suspenseful police procedural."

Dead Secret finds Landon and his team digging in Northumberland's ancient Pentire Woods. Another team, investigating a peat bog at the edge of Wolfcleugh Woods, finds a desiccated body there. A land-development company looking to plow roads and build houses in the woods owned by Steven Brand-Ruckley comes into conflict with an environmental group. Meanwhile Landon finds another body; this time, it is that of a young student from New Zealand, who is distantly related to Brand-Ruckley. A critic for Kirkus Reviews commented that the book offers an "interesting background and convoluted plot, though not quite enough of likable, curmudgeonly Detective Chief Inspector Culpeper—and a bit too much of nebbishy Arnold."

In The Devil Is Dead, Landon makes a grisly discovery at the site of an abandoned church. It is the body of an intinerant gypsy, horribly butchered and abandoned. Landon is subsequently threatened by the members of a cult known to favor blood sacrifice, but when he contacts the local authorities to discuss his suspicions that the cult members are involved in the killing, his fears are dismissed offhandedly. Landon is later the victim of a horrendous assault. Sybil Steinberg, writing in Publishers Weekly, called The Devil Is Dead an "intelligent, nicely textured mystery [that] gathers speed and races to a thrilling conclusion."

Landon's adventures continue in Bloodeagle, which finds the archaeologist inspecting the excavation site for a new bridge. He is to ensure that no artifacts will be destroyed or disturbed by the construction. Soon, however, the local police turn to him for help with their investigation of a killing that involved a bloody technique known to have been used by the ancient Vikings. As the case is unraveled, the murderer's connections to the Vikings and to a more contemporary group are probed. This "absorbing" novel provides readers with a "surprising but satisfying" resolution, according to Emily Melton in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented less favorably on the book, noting that while many of the author's stories are "crisply plotted," this one is "overwrought." In The Cross Bearer, the author's fiftieth book, Landon and his sidekick, bookstore owner and novelist Jane Wilson, set out in search of an ancient treasure of the Knights Templar, a fourteenth-century order of religious knights.

Arnold Landon's sixteenth adventure, titled Grave Error, finds the timid archaeologist testifying in court about the authenticity of a cauldron, reputed to be a Celtic artifact, that is stolen and sold on the black market. Although Landon finds the cauldron to be authentic, his expertise is undermined by James MacLean, a professor with considerably more personal style than Landon possesses. Landon ends up disgraced. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that while this story's plot is not inherently suspenseful, "the book's strength lies in the relationships among the characters." David Pitt, writing in Booklist, commented that crime and archaeology "continue to mix well" in Lewis's work.

Lewis once told CA: "I maintain an interest in law and now write articles on legal history. Many of these are concerned with scandals in Victorian society. I have also read pieces on law and life in Victorian Northumberland on the radio program Brought to Justice. Fiction remains an escape, but Victorian studies now take up more of my time."



St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, 4th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.


Booklist, April 15, 1979, review of Nothing but Foxes, p. 1274; January 15, 1984, review of A Limited Vision, p. 717; September 1, 1984, review of Once Dying, Twice Dead, p. 26; February 15, 1994, Emily Melton, review of Bloodeagle, p. 1063; March 15, 2001, Emily Melton, review of A Form of Death, p. 1358; February 1, 2006, David Pitt, review of Grave Error, p. 35.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 1983, review of A Limited Vision, p. 1184; April 15, 2001, review of Dead Secret, p. 546; December 1, 2005, review of Grave Error, p. 1258.

Library Journal, April 1, 2001, Rex E. Klett, review of A Form of Death, p. 136; January 1, 2006, Roland Person, review of Grave Error, p. 80.

Listener, December 23, 1976, review of A Distant Banner, p. 853; May 4, 1978, review of An Uncertain Sound, p. 586.

New York Times Book Review, December 19, 1971, review of A Lover Too Many, p. 23; July 26, 1981, Newgate Callendar, review of A Certain Blindness, p. 22; January 16, 1983, Newgate Callendar, review of Dwell in Danger, p. 26; September 18, 1983, review of A Gathering of Ghosts, p. 45; January 15, 1984, Newgate Callendar, review of A Limited Vision, p. 29; April 15, 2001, Marilyn Stasio, review of A Form of Death, p. 20.

Publishers Weekly, January 15, 1979, review of Nothing but Foxes, p. 117; October 2, 1982, review of Dwell in Danger, p. 43; November 11, 1983, review of A Limited Vision, p. 44; June 22, 1984, review of Once Dying, Twice Dead, p. 90; August 31, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Devil Is Dead, p. 51; November 9, 1992, review of A Secret Dying, p. 76; December 6, 1993, review of Bloodeagle, p. 59; December 12, 1994, review of The Cross Bearer, p. 52; December 19, 2005, review of Grave Error, p. 45.

Times Literary Supplement, January 22, 1970, review of A Lover Too Many, p. 93; June 11, 1970, review of A Wolf by the Ears, p. 642; April 30, 1971, review of Error of Judgment, p. 511; December 31, 1971, review of The Fenokee Project, p. 1638; June 15, 1973, review of Blood Money, p. 697; January 25, 1974, review of Of Singular Purpose, p. 88; September 6, 1974, review of A Question of Degree, p. 960; February 6, 1976, review of A Part of Virtue, p. 150; January 7, 1977, review of A Distant Banner, p. 19; May 20, 1977, p. 631; July 18, 1980, review of A Certain Blindness, p. 823; December 31, 1982, review of A Gathering of Ghosts, p. 1448.

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