A shot rang out from Quinns, a shop in Mayfair dealing in antiques and precious stones. John Mannering - alias the Baron - had been showing some diamonds to an amiable-looking young man. However, looks can be deceiving, as the young man seized the jewels and shot the Baron in the head before fleeing. Now Mannering was lying gravely ill in Westminster Hospital, undergoing an emergency operation. Scotland Yard were on the case, but did they didn't have much to go on....
Born in Surrey, England in 1908 into a poor family in which there were nine children, John Creasey grew up to be a true master story teller and international sensation. His more than 600 crime, mystery and thriller titles have now sold 80 million copies in 25 languages. These include many popular series such as Gideon of Scotland Yard, The Toff, Dr Palfrey and The Baron. Creasey wrote under many pseudonyms, explaining that booksellers had complained he totally dominated the 'C' section in stores.
Never one to sit still, Creasey had a strong social conscience, and stood for Parliament several times, along with founding the One Party Alliance which promoted the idea of government by a coalition of the best minds from across the political spectrum. He founded the British Crime Writers' Association, which to this day celebrates outstanding crime writing. The Mystery Writers of America bestowed upon him the Edgar Award for best novel and then in 1969 the ultimate Grand Master Award.
In book 19 of John Creasey's The Baron series, John Mannering is in his shop Quinns, showing off some precious jewels to a young man who steals the diamonds and shoots Mannering in the head. The near-fatal blow leaves Mannering, also known as the Baron, in a hospital as Scotland Yard futilely attempts to nab his assailant. Creasey's novel is an intriguing mystery that has the Baron going undercover to retrieve his stolen jewels, and Philip Bird gives a multifaceted performance; his marvelous smokiness is captivating, and it cleverly transforms when giving voice to Creasey's stable of colorful characters.
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