About Archibald Thomas Pechey
Archibald Thomas Pechey
Pen name Valentine Mark Cross
(26 September 1876, West Ham, London - 29 November 1961, Wells, Somerset, England,) often credited simply as Valentine, was a British lyricist and novelist. The pen name Valentine was derived from his mother's family the Vallentins, who were London distillers. Pechey's maternal grandfather Sir James Vallentin (1814–1870) was Knight Sheriff of London, and Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers. By the 1880s Pechey's uncle Grimble Vallentine was running the business in Lambeth. His cousin John Franks Vallentin (1882–1914) was awarded the V.C.
Pechey as 'Valentine' often wrote lyrics in conjunction with composer James W. Tate. Songs written by Valentine include "Love Will Find a Way" and "A Paradise for Two" (both 1917, from The Maid of the Mountains).
Pechey wrote stories, such as "The Adjusters" (1922) and "An Exploit of The Adjusters: The Man Who Scared The Bank" (1929), under the name Valentine. "The Adjusters" and its sequels are about a group of amateur crime fighters with complementary talents, who "adjust" the results of the law, often tricking criminals into trapping themselves using a logical analysis of the crime, so that the guilty are punished and the good are protected, released or compensated. The Adjusters characters are Daphne Wrayne, a sporting society girl; Sir Hugh Williamson, a noted African explorer; James Treviller, a handsome young nobleman; Martin Everest, a handsome lawyer; and Alan Sylvester, an actor.
Pechey married Bijou Sortain Hancock, and was the father of well known television cook Fanny Cradock. His wife’s extravagance and his own susceptibility to gambling left him with sizeable debts. He seems to have tried to avoid the debts by moving around the country. He left Herne Bay in Kent and moved to Swanage in Dorset, then to Bournemouth in Hampshire, where his brother Richard Francis Pechey (1872–1963) had become the Vicar of Holy Trinity Church in 1919. He finally moved to Wroxham in Norfolk, c1927, where his debtors caught up with him and by 1930 he was appearing in Norfolk's bankruptcy court faced with debts of £3,500.
Once out of debt, Pechey moved to Somerset, switched his pseudonym to Mark Cross and wrote over 45 crime novels under that name between 1934 and 1961, many of them about the Adjusters. The novels include the thrillers "The Shadow of the Four" and "Who killed Henry Wickenstrom". Pechey also drew the cover art for some stories.
The Shadow of the Four (1934) The Grip of the Four (1934) The Hand of the Four (1935) The Mark of the Four (1936) The Way of the Four (1936) The Four Strike Home (1937) Surprise for the Four (1937) The Four Get Going (1938) The Four Make Holiday (1938) Challenge to the Four (1939) The Four at Bay (1939) Find the Professor (1940) It Couldn't Be Murder (1940) How Was it Done (1941) Murder in the Pool (1941)
The Green Circle (1942)
The Mystery of Gruden's Gap (1942) Murder as Arranged (1943) Murder in the Air (1943) Murder in Black (1944) The Mystery of Joan Marryat (1945) The Secret of the Grange (1946) The Strange affair at Greylands (1948) Missing from His Home (1949) Other Than Natural Causes (1949) On the Night of the 14th (1950) Who Killed Henry Wickenstrom (1951) The Jaws of Darkness (1952) The Black Spider (1953) The Circle of Freedom (1953) The Strange Case of Pamela Wilson (1954)
The Best Laid Schemes (1955)
Murder Will Speak (1954) In the Dead of Night (1955) The Mystery of the Corded Box (1956) When Thieves Fall Out (1956) Desperate Steps (1957) Foul Deeds Will Arise (1958) Over Thin Ice (1958) Not Long to Live (1959) Third Time Unlucky (1959) When Danger Threatens (1959) Once Too Often (1960) Wanted for Questioning (1960) Once Upon a Crime (1961) Perilous Hazard (1961)
1.^ a b Who Was Who, Volume 6: 1961-1970. London: A&C Black Ltd. 1971 2.^ GRO Register of Births: DEC 1876 4a 119 W. HAM - Archibald Thomas Pechey 3.^ GRO Register of Deaths: DEC 1961 7c 282 WELLS - Archibald T. Pechey, aged 85 4.^ GRO Register of Marriages: JUN 1908 4a 161 W. HAM - Archibald Thomas Pechey = Bijou Sortain Hancock
List of Mark Cross books Information about the Adjusters
Name Pechey, Archibald Thomas Date of birth 26 September 1876 Place of birth London, England Date of death 29 November 1961 Place of death Wells, Somerset, England