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The Clue of the Twisted Candle by Edgar Wallace, which was first published in 1918.

The story centres around the noted mystery writer, John Lexman, who is suspected of murder and is sent to Broadmoor Prison. Fortunately for Lexman he is a close friend of Meredith, who sets about attempting to establish the facts of the case to prove his friend's innocence.

The title was produced in 1960 by Merton Park Studios as part of the second-feature film series, The Tales of Edgar Wallace, which starred Bernard Lee as Scotland Yard's Assistant Commissioner of Police, Thomas Xavier Meredith. The series achieved something of a cult status on British television, enjoying numerous re-runs and is now available to buy on DVD.

This eBook is published by rabbit & snail and is part of their Unabridged Classics series.

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Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace was a prolific English journalist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter who is accredited with 175 novels and 24 plays.

He was born on 1 April 1875  to the popular actress Polly Richards, but was given up for adoption nine days later to Dick Freeman, a Biliingsgate Market fish porter.

He started his career on London's Fleet Street at the age of eleven, selling newspapers at Ludgate Circus, where a plaque can now be seen marking his astonishing contribution as a writer.

Interestingly, Wallace is believed to have been the first British radio sports reporter. On 6 June 1923 he reported on the Epsom Derby horse race for the British Broadcasting Company, the predecessor of the BBC we know today.

He moved to Hollywood in 1931, where he initially worked rewriting scripts, but later made one of his landmark contributions when he wrote the first draft of the screenplay for the RKO picture King Kong. However, he died on 10 February 1932 and did not see the film go into production.

He was noted throughout his life with the speed with which he would write. He put this down to the twenty sugary cups of tea he drank and the four packets of cigarettes that he consumed each day. One anecdote about his writing speed was that if anyone ever called his house on the telephone and was told that he could not speak to them because he was writing, the reply would often be; "that's fine, I'll wait".

In January 1932 Wallace began to complain of severe headaches. He was diagnosed a few days later with diabetes, which doctors were surprised had not taken a more telling toll on his health, in particular his sight. Within a few weeks of the headaches starting Wallace had died. His body was taken back to the UK, where flags in Fleet Street were lowered to half and the bell at St Bride's, the journalists' chapel, were rung in memorial to him. He was buried in Fern, near Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire, England.


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    The Clue of the Twisted Candle

    Quite a good story,although, by the time the villain was dispatched, it wasn't difficult to surmise the scenario and the perpetrator, if not the exact means (how the candles were used - clever!)


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