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Edwy Searles Brooks

Brooks was born in Hackney in 1889. He sold his first story at the age of 17 for the princely sum of 30 shillings but struggled to establish himself as an author. His breakthrough came in 1910 when Percy Griffiths asked him to write a serial for the Gem. For the 1972 Collector's Digest Bob Blythe wrote a fascinating article entitled 'The Struggle is Ending' based on correspondence between Brooks and H. A. Hinton of the Amalgamated Press. You can read the article here

Brooks is best known for his Nelson Lee stories which appeared in the Nelson Lee Library. Nelson Lee was a famous detective originally invented by Maxwell Scott in 1894. He featured in a number of Amalgamated Press publications before being given his own library in 1915. Brooks immediately submitted stories for this publication and within a short period of time was writing all the stories. In 1917 Nelson Lee and his assistant Nipper went undercover to St Franks school and they stayed there with Nelson Lee becoming a schoolmaster and Nipper as captain of the fourth. 

Brooks married in 1918 and he and his wife Francis worked as a team turning out Nelson Lee stories for the next twenty years or so before moving into the adult hardback market.

Brooks died suddenly in 1965 and his wife (being of poor health herself) died in 1968. Michael Bailey has kindly provided a scanned copy of an extremely moving letter from Mrs Frances Brooks to a collector Edward Ramsey, discussing the life and death of her husband. You can read the letter here. Michael has also supplied scans of a series of letters sent from ESB to enthusiast Laurence Elliot. You can read them here.

The links from the table below point to publication that have had at least one issue scanned. The listings are based on The Nelson Lee Library and Bibliography of the writings of Edwy Searles Brooks by Robert C. Blythe, revised by Mark Caldicott 1995. You will find Mark's website here. For more information on ESB and his works I would recommend visiting the St Frank's section of the Greyfriars Index.

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Boys' Friend Library Nelson Lee Library Schoolboys' Own Library
Union Jack Nugget Library Monster Library
  Boys' Magazine