Thu 30 Apr 2009
Introduction: David Hume was the primary pen name of J(ohn) V(ictor) Turner, 1900-1945, an English author of several dozen mystery and detective novels not only under his own name and as Hume, but also as Nicholas Brady.
He has come up for discussion several times on this blog, the first being this review I wrote of Requiem for Rogues. This post also contains a complete bibliography for Mr. Turner, taken from Al Hubin’s Crime Fiction IV.
This followup post discusses several of Mr. Turner’s many series characters as well as a little more about his life, accumulated from several sources, including a portrait of him taken from the back cover of one of his books.
One additional post included more on Mr. Turner, with quite a bit of information provided by Bill Pronzini. Also announced was the creation of a webpage to display the covers of many of Mr. Turner’s books, found here.
These posts are all two years old, so by all means go back and (re)read them before continuing. Last Monday, I received an email from Judith Gavin, who said “John Victor Turner, was the middle of the three brothers, in a family of six children. My Grandmother was married to the oldest brother.” She also provided me with several paragraphs of information about Mr. Turner, aka David Hume.
Since some of what she included in her first email was perhaps not sufficiently verified to be placed online, Judith has kindly rewritten it and has agreed to allow me to post the following in its stead:
John Victor Turner was one of six children, and the second of three boys in a family who moved to Stone in Staffordshire, having previously lived in the Wythenshaw area of Manchester. (There seems to be no record of why the family moved from Manchester to Stone.)
The three Turner boys were Alfred, John (but the family usually referred to him as Jack as much as they called him John, the two names were interchangeable most of the time) and the youngest son was Joseph Turner, Joe to all the family.
Alfred, the eldest son went to the War front on his 16th birthday and although he survived he was devastated by shell shock, the shadows of which gripped him throughout his life leaving him unable to hold down regular employment and making drink a constant companion.
The second son, writer John Victor, would have been 16 in 1916 (his service years and regiment have yet to be confirmed). He secured employment on a local paper in Warwick (or it may be Stoke, to be confirmed) then several years later travelled to work in London as crime reporter on The Daily Herald Newspaper in Fleet Street where it is true that he was known for his network of associates, his contacts in the criminal underworld going regularly to live along side them.
It is probable, however, that few of his underworld contacts knew that he had a younger brother, Joseph, who had also travelled to live and work in London – as a police officer, eventually rising to a senior rank in Scotland Yard.
John Victor (Jack) married twice. His first wife, with whom he had a daughter, died when she drowned in the canal in Stone,
(Details of names of first wife etc to follow when clarified further.) It was many years later when he married again, to a woman believed to be originally from Scotland, and they had a son. (Again details of name etc to follow when clarified further.)
The timing of JV Turner’s death in 1945 may have caused some to speculate that he may have sustained injuries in the Second World War. This was not the case. The cause of death has always been rather glossed over as something of a mystery in the family, not because it was thought to be sinister or suspicious, or heroic, but because it may have been linked to TB which was “hushed up” by the family partly because it was notifiable and contagious, but also as it was associated with poor living conditions etc.
The above information was supplied by my mother, Mrs Ann Hume Gregory (Nee Turner), daughter of Flora May Turner, (Nee Tully) who was married to the eldest Turner son, Alfred, before they separated in 1950. Flora May Turner (Nee Tulley) was also a first cousin to the Turner brothers.