A short while ago I posted a blog entry about a group of authors whose deaths had recently been noted. One of those authors was Andrew Spiller, about whom I knew nothing at the time, except for the list of mystery fiction he wrote, which you’ll find by following the link.


   To learn more, I first emailed John Herrington:


   I tried a Google search for Spiller and/or Inspector Mallard, and found … nothing. Another author like Brian Flynn, perhaps, popular only because he wrote a lot of books and for very little other reason?



  Hi Steve,

   I wouldn’t disagree. I have managed to borrow a couple of his books though inter library loans and they are nothing special.

   Have discovered that he was working for the British-American Tobacco Company in 1950. He is like a lot of writers of the 1940s and 1950s, who stopped writing by the end of the 1950s. A lot of the smaller publishing companies were disappearing (or being bought up) and perhaps he realised that there was no longer a market for his books. This happened to the likes of ‘Ernest Dudley’ who stopped writing crime around the same time because there was no money in it.



   Then arrived a welcome email from Jamie Sturgeon:


   Did John mention that Andrew Spiller worked for British American Tobacco and his wife’s name was Marie? Please see attached scans, including two more covers in DJ.





   Then from Victor Berch, who has managed to delve deeply into Andrew Spiller’s traveling days:


   Remember my mentioning that database which contained information on aliens and citizens entering the US? Well, I decided to poke in Andrew Spiller’s name and to my surprise two hits came up. I wasn’t too sure I had the right Andrew Spiller, but when I spotted his birthplace of Bridport, I knew I had the right person. So, here are some of the details from those records that I gathered from the ships’ manifests:

   On his first trip to the US, Andrew Spiller came aboard the SS Olympic which left Southampton, Eng on Feb. 25, 1925 and arrived in New York March 4, 1925. From this manifest, it stated that he was in transit to visit his cousin, C. James, in New Zealand. He was listed as an advertising agent for the British American Tobacco Co, Ltd (which, by the way is still in operation). His age at the time was given as 35 years old. He was 5’9 1/2″ with brown hair and grey eyes.

   On his second trip, he came aboard the SS Aquitania, which left Southampton, Eng on April 28, 1928 and arrived in New York May 4, 1928. Spiller was still listed as advertising manager for the British American Tobacco Co., Ltd and was going to stay in the US for 60 days.

   On this record he was required to give the name and address of his nearest kin, which was Mrs. A. Spiller, 26 Heathfield Rd., Acton, W. 3 , London. These records seem to predate his writing period.




   And so there you are. Bits and pieces of a life of a mystery writer who’s become obscure and all but forgotten now, but who was very prolific in his time.

   For a gallery of even more covers, provided by Jamie Sturgeon, I’ve set up a separate website here.