Stewart, A(lfred) W(alter) 1880-1947

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STEWART, A(lfred) W(alter) 1880-1947

(J. J. Connington)


Born 1880; died, July 1, 1947; married Jessie Lily Courts, 1916; children: one daughter. Education: Attended University of Glasgow and University of Marburg; University College, London, D.Sc.


Queen's University, Belfast, Ireland, Exhibition scholar, 1903-05, research fellow, 1905-08, lecturer in organic chemistry, 1909-14, professor of chemistry, 1919-44, dean of faculties. University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, lecturer in physical chemistry and radioactivity, 1914-19.


Carnegie fellow, 1905-08.



Death at Swaythling Court, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1926.

The Dangerfield Talisman, Benn (London, England), 1926, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1927.

Murder in the Maze, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1927.

Tragedy at Ravensthorpe, Benn (London, England), 1927, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1928.

The Case with Nine Solutions, Gollancz (London, England), 1928, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1929.

Mystery at Lynden Sands, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1928.

Nemesis at Raynham Parva, Gollancz (London, England), 1929, published as Grim Vengeance, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1929.

The Eye in the Museum, Gollancz (London, England), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1930.

The Two-Tickets Puzzle, Gollancz (London, England), 1930, published as The Two-Ticket Puzzle, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1930.

The Boat-House Riddle, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1931.

The Sweepstake Murders, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1931, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1932.

The Castleford Conundrum, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1932.

Tom Tiddler's Island, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1933, published as Gold Brick Island Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1933.

The Ha-Ha Case, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1934, published as The Brandon Case, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1934.

In Whose Dim Shadow, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1935, published as The Tau Cross Mystery, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1935.

A Minor Operation, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1937.

For Murder Will Speak, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1938, published as Murder Will Speak, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1938.

Truth Comes Limping, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1938.

The Counselor, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1939.

The Four Defenses, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1940.

The Twenty-one Clues, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1941.

No Past Is Dead, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1942.

Jack-in-the-Box, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1944.

Common Sense Is All You Need, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1947.


Stereochemistry, Longman (London, England), 1907.

Recent Advances in Organic Chemistry, Longman (London, England), 1908.

Recent Advances in Physical and Inorganic Chemistry, Longman (London, England), 1909.

A Manual of Practical Chemistry for Public Health Students, Bale & Danielsson (London, England), 1913.

Chemistry and Its Borderland, Longman (London, England), 1914.

Some Physico-Chemical Themes, Longman (London, England), 1922.

(Under pseudonym J. J. Connington) Nordenholt's Millions (novel), Constable (London, England), 1923.

(Under pseudonym J. J. Connington) Almighty Gold (novel), Constable (London, England), 1924.

Alias J. J. Connington (essays), Hollis & Carter (London, England), 1947.


Mystery writer A. W. Stewart, who wrote under the pseudonym J. J. Connington, was best known for his "Driffield/Wendover" crime novels, although he wrote a number of non-series titles, as well. All of his fiction was largely in keeping with the style of fellow British writers such as Freeman Wills Crofts. A distinguishing characteristic of Stewart's work was how he employed his scientific training to add accuracy, especially when it came to medical details such as poisons and blood tests. He also flavored his tales with an occasional dash of the occult and sometimes more physical action—such as car chases—than was typical of his contemporaries.

Stewart's first books contained no series detective. In The Dangerfield Talisman there is not even a murder. Here, the disappearance of a family heirloom, with its dark history closely guarded, is combined with a chess problem against the well-worn background of a country house party. Another notable non-series novel by Stewart is The Eye in the Museum; the title refers to a camera obscura, and this book was for some time considered to be the only appearance of this type of equipment in detective fiction. (The claim has since been invalidated by at least one book, Janet Caird's Murder Reflected.

Despite some success with these non-series books, Stewart is most often remembered as the creator of the "Driffield/Wendover" mysteries. Together, Chief Constable Sir Clinton Driffield and Squire Wendover investigate a considerable number of cases. By giving these two men a somewhat uneasy relationship, Stewart hit upon a unique idea: Unlike Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, it is often unclear who is the detective and who is playing second fiddle in Stewart's books. The two characters frequently disagree, but are thrown together time after time by the fact that murders and strange happenings abound in the county of which Wendover is principal landlord and Driffield is top policeman. Among the many "Driffield/Wendover" cases are Murder in the Maze, The Boat-House Riddle, The Sweepstake Murders, and A Minor Operation.

Although Stewart created another series character, Mark Brand, in books such as The Counselor, it is for the "Driffield/Wendover" books that historians of the genre tend to remember him. While Stewart did not achieve the same level of acclaim and recognition as Crofts, he is nevertheless notable for his depictions of upper-class county life in England, as well as for his ability to lace his stories with ballistics, footprints, maps of the scene, and railway timetables in a meticulous manner.*

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Stewart, A(lfred) W(alter) 1880-1947

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