Interview with Professor Tim Crook- biographer of Alexander Wilson

How did you become involved in researching Alexander Wilson? A childhood friend and professional colleague in Drama, Richard Shannon, invited me to have lunch with his father, the poet and actor, Mike Shannon in the vaults of the Royal Society of Arts in 2005. Richard knew I was an academic researcher and at the time…

The mysterious life of Alexander Wilson 1893-1963

Alexander Joseph Patrick Wilson was born in Dover on the 24th October 1893. He had Irish ancestry. His father, also called Alexander, was a sergeant in the British Army’s Hospital Corps and his mother Annie was a publican’s daughter from Carlow, Ireland. His grandfather Hugh was one of the founder members of the British Army’s…

The writing career of Alexander Wilson

Beginnings and First Novels Alexander Wilson first enjoyed success with writing novels in 1927. Longmans, Green and Company, based in Paternoster Row in the City of London, agreed to publish the first two Wallace of the Secret Service novels: ‘The Mystery of Tunnel 51’ and ‘The Devil’s Cocktail.’ At the time Wilson was working as…

Christmas in Wallace of the Secret Service novels

Christmas features in two Wallace of the Secret Service novels by Alexander Wilson. In ‘The Devil’s Cocktail’ (published in 1928)  the British Secret Service agent, Captain Hugh Shannon, sent to India to combat a deadly plot by Soviet Agents, is summoned on Christmas Day to be told to leave his role as a Professor of…

Wallace Intervenes – Sexpionage and Adolf Hitler 1939

Wallace Intervenes was published in 1939 shortly after people in Great Britain realised that the Munich agreement was not going to prevent another war with Germany. With the striking dust-wrapper cover of the Nazi Swastika Alexander Wilson’s ‘Best Spy Story’ has the British Secret Service sending a male honeytrap to infiltrate the intimacy and heart…

Chronicles of the Secret Service – three Wallace spy stories in one in 1940

Chronicles of the Secret Service was first published by Herbert Jenkins in 1940.  This is how they  explained ‘What This Story Is About’: Such novels as Wallace of the Secret Service, Get Wallace, His Excellency Governor Wallace and Wallace Intervenes have achieved their extraordinary wide sales not only because they are thrillers of the front…

Wallace at Bay – Secret Service war against terrorists in London 1938

‘Wallace at Bay’ is about gripping counter-intelligence operations taking place in and around the Little Venice area of Maida Vale- in streets and locations wholly familiar to Alexander Wilson during the last 1930s. This is a novel that gives the reader an evocative and realistic experience of being on the streets of London in 1938….

Microbes of Power – deadly espionage in Cyprus 1937

“Microbes of Power” is a pioneering espionage novel analysing the threat to world peace posed by biological weapons. It was unique in the Secret Service thriller genre of the 1930s to explore the threat posed by using bacteria and viruses in war. The novel also stood out for offering positive representation of women intelligence agents…

His Excellency Governor Wallace – Secret Service battle in Hong Kong in 1936

Alexander Wilson’s 1936 Wallace of the Secret Service novel switches the dramatic fight to preserve the British Empire by Sir Leonard Wallace to what was then the highly lucrative colony of Hong Kong- on lease from China. Herbert Jenkins explained ‘What This Story Is About’: Although some months separated the publications of Alexander Wilson’s rousing…

Get Wallace! Alexander Wilson’s fourth Secret Service novel published in 1934

‘Get Wallace’ firmly established Alexander Wilson’s fictional British Secret Service as something English speaking readers could identify with. It was rapidly becoming an imaginative force policing the world and keeping people safe from the evils of organised crime. The first publisher Herbert Jenkins explained ‘What This Story Is About’ Sir Leonard Wallace, the famous chief…

Wallace of the Secret Service – third espionage volume published 1933

‘Wallace of the Secret Service’ was the first Alexander Wilson espionage novel featuring Sir Leonard Wallace and his global imperial counter-intelligence service published by Herbert Jenkins in 1933. Such was its popularity the volume went into a second imprint in 1939. Its success can be attributed to the structure of ten self-contained stories and adventures…