Tenant for Death (1937) was the debut crime novel by ´Cyril Hare´, nom de plume of Alfred Gordon Clark and one of the best-loved names in English ´Golden Age´ crime writing.
Two young estate agent´s clerks are sent to check an inventory on a house in Daylesford Gardens, South Kensington. Upon arrival, they find an unlisted item - a corpse. Furthermore, the mysterious tenant, Colin James, has disappeared. In a tale which uncovers many of the seedier aspects of the world of high finance, Hare also introduces his readers to the formidable Inspector Mallett of Scotland Yard.
Upon the novel´s first publication the Times Literary Supplement praised Tenant for Death as ´a most ingenious story´ while the Spectator celebrated its ´wit, fair play, and characterization´ and also declared that ´a new star has risen´.
Cyril Hare was the pseudonym for the distinguished lawyer Alfred Alexander Gordon Clark. He was born in Surrey, in 1900, and was educated at Rugby and Oxford. A member of the Inner Temple, he was called to the Bar in 1924 and joined the chambers of Roland Oliver, who handled many of the great crime cases of the 1920s. He practised as a barrister until the Second World War, after which he served in various legal and judicial capacities including a time as a county court judge in Surrey.
Hare´s crime novels, many of which draw on his legal experience, have been praised by Elizabeth Bowen and P.D. James among others. He died in 1958 - at the peak of his career as a judge, and at the height of his powers as a master of the whodunit.