Archibald Thomas Pechey – Biography

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Archibald Thomas Pechey (September 26, 1876 in West Ham, Essex – November 29, 1961 in Wells, Somerset, England) is often credited simply as Valentine, was an English lyricist and novelist. The pseudonym of Valentine derives from the family of his mother, the Vallentins, who were distillers of London. Pechey’s maternal grandfather, Sir James Vallentin (1814-1870) was Knight Sheriff of London and Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers. In the 1880s, Pechey’s uncle, Grimble Vallentine, ran the business in Lambeth. His cousin John Franks Vallentin (1882-1914) received the V.C.

Pechey as “Valentine” often wrote lyrics along with composer James W. Tate. The songs written by Valentine include “Love Will Find a Way” and “A Paradise for Two” (both from 1917, from The Maid of the Mountains).

Pechey wrote stories, such as “The Adjusters” (1922) and “An Exploitation of the Adjusters: The Man Who Scared the Bank” (1929), under the name of Valentine. “The Adjusters” and their aftermath are about a group of amateur crime fighters with complementary talents, who “adjust” the results of the law, often tricking criminals to catch them using a logical crime analysis, so that the culprits they are punished and the good ones are protected, liberated or compensated. The Adjuster characters are Daphne Wrayne, a girl from the sports society; Sir Hugh Williamson, a prominent African explorer; James Treviller, a handsome young nobleman; Martin Everest, a handsome lawyer; and Alan Sylvester, an actor.

Pechey married Bijou Sortain Hancock, and was the father of the well-known television cook Fanny Cradock. The extravagance of his wife and his own susceptibility to gambling left him with considerable debts. It seems that he tried to avoid debts by moving around the country. He left Herne Bay in Kent and moved to Swanage in Dorset, then to Bournemouth in Hampshire, where his brother Richard Francis Pechey (1872-1963) became the vicar of the Church of the Holy Trinity in 1919. He finally moved to Wroxham in Norfolk, c1927, where its debtors reached it and by 1930 it appeared in the bankruptcy court of Norfolk with debts of £ 3,500.

Once without a debt, Pechey moved to Somerset, changed his pseudonym to Mark Cross and wrote more than 45 detective novels with that name between 1934 and 1961, many of them about the Adjusters. The novels include the thrillers The Shadow of the Four and Who Killed Henry Wickenstrom. Pechey also drew the cover of some stories.

Archibald Thomas Pechey’s Novels List

The Shadow of the Four (1934)
The Grip of the Four (1934)
The Hand of the Four (1935)
The Mark of the Four (1936)
The Way of the Four (1936)
The Four Strike Home (1937)
Surprise for the Four (1937)
The Four Get Going (1938)
The Four Make Holiday (1938)
Challenge to the Four (1939)
The Four at Bay (1939)
Find the Professor (1940)
It Couldn’t Be Murder (1940)
How Was it Done (1941)
Murder in the Pool (1941)
The Green Circle (1942)
The Mystery of Gruden’s Gap (1942)
Murder as Arranged (1943)
Murder in the Air (1943)
Murder in Black (1944)
The Mystery of Joan Marryat (1945)
The Secret of the Grange (1946)
The Strange affair at Greylands (1948)
Missing from His Home (1949)
Other Than Natural Causes (1949)
On the Night of the 14th” (1950)
Who Killed Henry Wickenstrom (1951)
The Jaws of Darkness (1952)
The Black Spider (1953)
The Circle of Freedom (1953)
The Strange Case of Pamela Wilson (1954)
The Best Laid Schemes (1955)
Murder Will Speak (1954)
In the Dead of Night (1955)
The Mystery of the Corded Box (1956)
When Thieves Fall Out (1956)
Desperate Steps (1957)
Foul Deeds Will Arise (1958)
Over Thin Ice (1958)
Not Long to Live (1959)
Third Time Unlucky (1959)
When Danger Threatens (1959)
Once Too Often (1960)
Wanted for Questioning (1960)
Once Upon a Crime (1961)
Perilous Hazard (1961)





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