Challenge to the Reader: Crime Writers and Their Other Jobs: A Quiz

Due to a book I am currently reading I have been pondering the many and varied jobs writers have had before or whilst penning their many works. Much internet wandering later and it seems that there are many crime writers out there who have had quite surprising jobs. Suffice to say I thought it would great fun to turn this internet procrastinating into some productive, so here is a quick quiz where all you have to do is match the author to the job. Submit your answers in the comment section below and answers will go up on Friday. Good luck!




  1. I think I don’t know these because I don’t CARE what else they all did as long as they wrote mysteries for ME!! (That’s what comes from hanging around too much with Gen X’ers!) Here’s what I do know:

    Dorothy Sayers – Advertising Copy Writer
    Agatha Christie – Pharmacy Dispenser
    John Rhode – Engineer
    Ngaio Marsh – Stage Manager
    Henry Wade – wasn’t he high sheriff of Buckinghamshire??
    Lots of these folks were playwrights – Christie is the most successful female playwright of all time – but I don’t think you meant that . . .

    I know Josephine Tey was a gym teacher, but you didn’t put her there.

    Oh, and Helen McCloy was an art critic, but I cheated and looked that up because I like McCloy so much I don’t want to appear stupid about her.

    Others will do SOOOO much better, but who else can do a spot-on impression of Sylvester the Cat AND Tweety Bird?!?!?

    Liked by 1 person

    • A spot-on impression of Sylvester the Cat AND Tweety Bird! You should be on Britain’s Got Talent! Shrewd guessing indeed. I suppose I have a been a little bit sneaky with some of these jobs because as you say more than one person could qualify for some, but with the other jobs there is only one person who qualifies.


  2. Very cool idea. My combination of knowledge, half-remembered hapenstance, deduction based on their novels, and outright guesses:

    Berkeley – Journalist
    Christie – Pharmacy dispenser
    Sayers – Advertising Copywriter
    Crofts – Engineer (on the railways, surely…!)
    Bude – Apple picker (I remember him having lots of weird jobs)
    Penny – Crossword setter
    Afford – Playwright (mostly for radio)
    Innes – Lecturer (probably, given his pompous, lecturing sleuth)
    Wallace – WW1 war correspondent
    Rhode – Propagandist for MI7
    Macdonald – Horse trainer for the Army
    Marsh – Stage manager (I know she put on a lot of plays…)
    Palmer – Teacher
    Stout – Yeoman on Roosevelt’s yacht (I hope)
    Wade – High Sheriff of Buckighamshire
    Crispin – Composer

    Liked by 1 person

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