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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: John Kirkwood Leys

Author: John Kirkwood Leys (1847–1909)

Biography: John Kirkwood Leys was born in 1847 in Glasgow, the son of Rev. Peter Leys of Strathaven, Lanarkshire. He attended school in Glasgow, earning an M.A. from the University of Glasgow in 1869. Leys was called to the bar in 1874 and practiced law in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He married twice: his first wife Mary died in 1876 leaving two sons; and his second wife Ellen Holligan (married 1889) and their five children survived him. While in Newcastle, Leys wrote a legal work and A New Natural History of Birds, Beast and Fishes (1886). Thereafter he turned to fiction beginning with The Lindsays: A Romance of Scottish Life (1888). He retired from law, moved to the London area, and dedicated himself to fiction, writing a further eighteen mystery novels. Sometime in later life, Leys converted to Roman Catholicism to the despair of his father. Two of his daughters also followed in the literary line: Mary Dorothy Rose Leys wrote history and Helen Madeline Leys (as "Eleanor Scott") wrote fiction. Leys died in 1909.

Author Tags:

References: British Census (1881); Times (11 November 1909); Wellesley

Fiction Titles:

  1. The Lindsays: A Romance of Scottish Life.  3 vol.  London: Chatto and Windus, 1888.
  2. The Lawyer's Secret.  1 vol.  London: Frederick Warne, 1897.
  3. Under a Mask.  2 vol.  London: Bentley, 1898.
  4. At the Sign of the Golden Horn.  1 vol.  London: George Newnes, 1898.
  5. The Black Terror: A Romance of London.  1 vol.  London: Sampson Low, 1899.
  6. A Suburban Vendetta.  1 vol.  London: C. Arthur Pearson, 1900.
  7. A Sore Temptation.  1 vol.  London: Chatto and Windus, 1901.
  8. The Broken Fetter.  1 vol.  London: Digby, Long, 1905.