Ellis Peters is the pen-name of Edith Pargeter, and it was under the name of Ellis Peters she wrote her 'Cadfael' mysteries. The following text is taken from the West Midlands 'Literary Heritage' website. The complete text can be found on their Homepage.
Edith Pargeter was born September 1913 at Horsehay, Shropshire. Her father was a clerk at a local ironworks. Edith attended Dawley Church of England School and the Coalbrookdale High School for Girls. Through her mother, she grew to love the history and countryside of Shropshire, her home for almost all of her life.
Before World War II she worked as a chemist's assistant at Dawley. During this time she started writing seriously for publication while gathering useful information on medicines that she would draw upon later when tackling crime stories. Her first published novel was 'Hortensius, friend of Nero' (1936), a rather dry tale of martyrdom that was not a great success but she persevered and 'The city lies foursquare' (1939) was much more warmly received.
During the war she worked in an administrative role with the Women's Royal Navy Service in Liverpool, a relatively brief period away from Shropshire, and for her devotion to duty she received the British Empire Medal. Many more novels appeared at this time, including 'Ordinary people' (1941) and 'She goes to war' (1942), the latter based on her own wartime experiences. The 'Eighth champion of Christendom' appeared in 1945 and from now on she was able to devote all her time to writing. She was particularly proud of her 'Heaven Tree' trilogy, which appeared between 1961 and 1963, which had as a backdrop the English Welsh borderlands in the twelfth century.
It was not until 1951 she tackled a mystery story with 'Fallen into the pit', the first appearance of Sergeant George Felse as the investigating police officer. Her other great character, and the one for which the author will continue to be known the world over, Brother Cadfael, was to follow many years later. The first appearance of this monk at Shrewsbury Abbey was in 'A morbid taste for bones' (1977) and he mixed his herbs and unravelled mysteries in this atmospheric setting for a further nineteen novels. This kept the author very busy for the remaining 18 years of her life, to the virtual exclusion of all other work.
The name "Ellis Peters" was adopted by Edith Pargeter to clearly mark a division between her mystery stories and her other work. Her brother was Ellis and Petra was a friend from Czechoslovakia. A frequent visitor to the country, Edith Pargeter had begun her association and deep interest in their culture after meeting Czechoslovakian soldiers during the war. This was to lead to her learning the language and translating several books into English.
She won awards for her writing from both the British Crime Writers Association and the Mystery Writers of America. She was also awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire), an honorary Masters Degree from Birmingham University and the Gold Medal of the Czechoslovak Society for Foreign Relations. There is a memorial to her in Shrewsbury Abbey in the form of a stained-glass window by the reknowned glass designer, Jane Grey.
After her death in October 1995, The Times published a full obituary that declared that here was "a deeply sensitive and perceptive woman....an intensely private and modest person " whose writing was "direct, even a little stilted, matching a self-contained personality".
|Afterglow and nightfall||1977||Brothers of Gwynedd #4|
|Assize of the dying||1958|
|Black is the colour of my true-love's heart||1966||George Felse #6||As Ellis Peters|
|Bloody field by Shrewsbury, A||1972|
|Brother Cadfael's penance||1994||Brother Cadfael #20||As Ellis Peters|
|City lies four-square, The||1938|
|City of gold and shadows||1973||George Felse #12||As Ellis Peters|
|Coast of Bohemia||1950||Non-Fiction|
|Confession of Brother Haluin, The||1988||Brother Cadfael #15||As Ellis Peters|
|Dead man's ransom||1984||Brother Cadfael #9||As Ellis Peters|
|Death and the joyful woman||1962||George Felse #2|
|Death mask||1959||As Ellis Peters|
|Death to the landlords||1972||George Felse #11||As Ellis Peters|
|Devil's novice, The||1983||Brother Cadfael #8||As Ellis Peters|
|Dragon at noonday||1975||Brothers of Gwynedd #2|
|Eighth champion of Christendom, The; Lame crusade||1945||Christendom #1|
|Excellent mystery, An||1985||Brother Cadfael #11||As Ellis Peters|
|Fair young phoenix, The||1948|
|Fallen into the pit||1951||George Felse #1|
|Flight of a witch||1964||George Felse #3||As Ellis Peters|
|Funeral of Figaro||1962||As Ellis Peters|
|Grass widows tale, The||1967||George Felse #7||As Ellis Peters|
|Green branch, The||1962||Heaven Tree #2|
|Heaven tree, The||1961||Heaven Tree #1|
|Heretic's apprentice, The||1989||Brother Cadfael #16||As Ellis Peters|
|Hermit of Eyton Forest, The||1987||Brother Cadfael #14||As Ellis Peters|
|Holiday with violence||1952|
|Holy Thief, The||1992||Brother Cadfael #19||As Ellis Peters|
|Horn of Roland, The||1974||As Ellis Peters|
|Hortensius: Friend of Nero||1936|
|Hounds of Sunset, The||1976||Brothers of Gwynedd #3|
|House of Green Turf, The||1969||George Felse #8||As Ellis Peters|
|Knocker on Death's Door, The||1970||George Felse #10||As Ellis Peters|
|Leper of Saint Giles, The||1981||Brother Cadfael #5||As Ellis Peters|
|Lily Hand and Other Stories, The||1965|
|Marriage of Meggotta, The||1979|
|Means of Grace||1956|
|Monk's-Hood||1980||Brother Cadfael #3||As Ellis Peters|
|Morbid Taste for Bones, A||1977||Brother Cadfael #1||As Ellis Peters|
|Most Loving Mere Folly||1953|
|Mourning Raga||1969||George Felse #9||As Ellis Peters|
|Never Pick Up Hitch-Hikers||1976||As Ellis Peters|
|Nice Derangement of Epitaphs, A||1965||George Felse #4||As Ellis Peters|
|One Corpse Too Many||1979||Brother Cadfael #2||As Ellis Peters|
|Pilgrim of Hate, The||1984||Brother Cadfael #10||As Ellis Peters|
|Piper on the Mountain, The||1966||George Felse #5||As Ellis Peters|
|Potter's Field, The||1989||Brother Cadfael #17||As Ellis Peters|
|Rainbow's End||1978||George Felse #13||As Ellis Peters|
|Rare Benedictine, A||1988||As Ellis Peters|
|Raven in the Foregate, The||1986||Brother Cadfael #12||As Ellis Peters|
|Reluctant Odyssey||1946||Christendom #2|
|Rose Rent, The||1986||Brother Cadfael #13||As Ellis Peters|
|Saint Peter's Fair||1981||Brother Cadfael #4||As Ellis Peters|
|Sanctuary Sparrow, The||1983||Brother Cadfael #7||As Ellis Peters|
|Scarlet Seed||1963||Heaven Tree #3|
|She Goes to War||1942|
|Soldier at the Door, The||1954|
|Summer of the Danes, The||1991||Brother Cadfael #18||As Ellis Peters|
|Sunrise in the West||1974||Brothers of Gwynedd #1|
|This Rough Magic||1953|
|Virgin in the Ice, the||1982||Brother Cadfael #6||As Ellis Peters|
|Warfare Accomplished||1947||Christendom #3|
|Will and the Deed, The||1960||As Ellis Peters|
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