Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Thrillers of "Glint Green"

Between 1931 and 1933, four novels appeared under the deliberately odd pseudonym "Glint Green." Hutchinson, the publisher of all four books, made no bones about the books being pseudonymous. In fact, they used it as a promotional gimmick.  The four novels are all detective thrillers featuring Inspector Fred Wield, and they are in sequence, Strands of Red ... Hair! (1931), Devil Spider (1932), BeautyA Snare (January 1933), and Poison Death (July 1933).  All four novels are very rare. The only one I have read is the second, Devil Spider, in which Inspector Wield searches for the clever murderer of Sir Arthur Andrews, whom Wield calls a "Devil Spider."  Printed on the cover of Devil Spider the pseudonym is given in quotation marks, with a parenthetical notice: "Pseudonym of a Famous Author Writing in a New Vein." On the half title, the publisher's blurb reads in part:

With Strands of Red ... Hair, the mysterious "Glint Green" achieved an initial success in his (or her) entry into the realms of detective fiction. It would be interesting to know if any of "Glint Green's" readers formed theories as to his (or her) real identity. So much we know, that he (or she) is a writer who, having achieved immense success in one field of fiction, has ventured into another and does not wish to confuse the two. Devil Spider is "Glint Green's" second thriller, and a very sprightly, entertaining affair it is. The web spread by the Devil Spider catches the butterfly wings of Penelope and very nearly entangles the whole of her life's happiness. 

I do not know when the real identity behind the pseudonym was revealed, but the British Museum Catalogue give the authoress as Margaret Peterson.  Peterson (1883-1933) was a very successful writer of popular novels for women, most of which are forgotten today. One of her later books, Moonflowers (1926) is set in central Africa and centers upon a murderess whom some firmly believe to be a vampire, while others equally firmly believe her murders are completely non-supernatural.  The authoress manages to maintain an ambivalence through the very end of the book, without a firm resolution to one side or the other (though their are hints...).  Devil Spider is an engaging and competent detective thriller of its time.  Margaret Peterson's authorship of the "Glint Green" books is not disclosed in her entry for Who's Was Who, nor were the books mentioned in her obituary in The Times (30 December 1933). The U.S. Copyright registers do give the authorship of the "Glint Green" novels as Margaret Fisher, "Fisher" being Margaret Peterson's married name.


  1. Doug, a very enjoyable write-up. Is Devil Spider worth a modern reprint by the British Library? I can't tell. Shifting topics: Why do you say "authoress"? That seems distinctly old-fashioned, not to say slightly demeaning. I think all those feminized words have gone out of favor, with the possible exception of the high romantic "aviatrix."--md

    1. Hi Michael: I myself am not that up on detective thrillers of the past or present to say whether Devil Spider would stand up to reprinting. As per the old-fashioned use of "authoress" I was answering the "his (or her)" comments by the publisher in a similar lingo. I mean nothing patronizing, but I will say that many modern author names provide no clue to gender, and whether that's a good thing or not I don't know. Just today I came across someone (from the 1930s) named Blair Taylor. Man or woman I don't know. British or American I also don't know. But when the date associated with the name is given as "10/I/35" I really wonder if that means 10 January or October 1. I think it's the former. Language can be precise, and I think it's a loss when we lose specificity of meaning.

  2. I agree with Douglas about specificity. I don't want to see everything written in a manner that would be approved of by The Guardian!