Ellis Peters (Edith Pargeter) – profile and books

Ellis Peters is one of the pen names of Edith Mary Pargeter. Her other pen names include: John Redfern, Jolyon Carr, and Peter Benedict.

Edith Mary Pargeter, OBE, BEM was born 28 September 1913 and died 14 October 1995. She was born in Horsehay, Shropshire, England and lived her entire life in Shropshire. She had Welsh ancestry and loved the history of both the English/Welsh border and Shropshire, so most of her novels are set in this area and many illustrate the difference between English and Welsh culture. Her novels include both modern and historical fiction, with easy to follow but very interesting plots.

In the 1930s, Pargeter worked as a pharmacist’s assistant, gaining a knowledge of medicines which she uses in later novels. During World War II, she was in the Women’s Royal Navy Service “wrens” and was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM). After the war she spent time in Czechoslovakia and learned about the Czech language and culture. She translated Czech traditional stories and poetry into English.

Edith Pargeter’s most famous series of books, written under the pen name Ellis Peters, is the Brother Cadfael series, which has been filmed for the BBC Mystery series. The unlikely sleuth in this medieval series is an aging monk of Welsh ancestry and crusading background. His calm quiet nature, slight irreverence for his church, knowledge of herbs and fighting background assist him in solving crimes within and out of his monastery of St Peter and St Paul in Shrewsbury.

Edith Pargeter’s novels:

As Edith Pargeter:

  • The Heaven Tree Trilogy
    • The Heaven Tree (1960)
    • The Green Branch (1962)
    • The Scarlet Seed (1963)
  • The Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet
    • Sunrise in the West (1974)
    • Dragon at Noonday (1975)
    • Hounds of Sunset (1976)
    • Afterglow and Nightfall (1977)
  • Other:
    • Hortensius, Friend of Nero (1936)
    • Iron-Bound (1936)
    • The City Lies Four-Square (1939)
    • Ordinary People (1941)
    • She Goes to War (1942)
    • The Eighth Champion of Christendom (1945)
    • Reluctant Odyssey (1946)
    • Warfare Accomplished (1947)
    • The Fair Young Phoenix (1948)
    • By Firelight/ By This Strange Fire (1948)
    • The Coast of Bohemia (1950) (non-fiction)
    • Lost Children (1951)
    • Holiday With Violence (1952)
    • Most Loving Mere Folly (1953)
    • The Rough Magic (1953)
    • The Soldier at the Door (1954)
    • A Means of Grace (1956)
    • The Assize of the Dying (1958) (short stories)
    • A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury/The Bloody Field (1972)
    • The Marriage of Meggotta (1979)

As Ellis Peters:

  • George Felse and Family
    • Fallen into the Pit (1951)
    • Death and the Joyful Woman (1961)
    • Flight of a Witch (1964)
    • A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs/Who Lies Here? (1965)
    • The Piper on the Mountain (1966)
    • Black is the Colour of my True Love’s Heart (1967)
    • The Grass-Widow’s Tale (1968)
    • The House of Green Turf (1969)
    • Mourning Raga (1969)
    • The Knocker on Death’s Door (1970)
    • Death to the Landlords! (1972)
    • City of Gold and Shadows (1973)
    • Rainbow’s End (1978)
  • Other
    • Death Mask (1959)
    • The Will and the Deed/ Where There’s a Will (1960)
    • Funeral of Figaro (1962)
    • The Horn of Roland (1974)
    • Never Pick Up Hitchhikers! (1976)

As John Redfern:

  • The Victim Needs a Nurse (1940)

As Jolyon Carr:

  • Murder in the Dispensary (1938)
  • Freedom for Two (1939)
  • Masters of the Parachute Mail (1940)
  • Death Comes by Post (1940)

As Peter Benedict:

  • Day Star (1937)


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