Dennis Wheatley’s first published novel was The Forbidden Territory, a thriller set in Russia, published in 1933. It was an immediate success, being reprinted seven times in seven weeks and the film rights were bought by Alfred Hitchcock. This was the start of a spectacular literary career.
Wheatley’s main output, was adventure novels, many in a series of linked works set in an historical or thematic setting, which had been methodically researched. So the ‘Roger Brook’ series is set in the French Revolution with interactions between his characters and historic individuals and events, whilst the ‘Roger Day’ series are based around espionage. He also wrote short stories, historical works and autobiographical accounts.
In the 1930s Wheatley devised a series of mysteries as case files including evidence and testimonials, which the reader could use as evidence to solve the case before opening an envelope revealing the answer.
Each was a realistic dossier, with ‘real’ police reports, witness statements and clues – bits of hair, fingerprints, bloodstained material and so on. Readers could go through them, decide who was the culprit, and then break a seal on the back of the dossier, and find out if they were right.
Murder off Miami, published in 1936, was the first of four Crime Dossiers Wheatley produced with his friend Joe Links.
He also created a number of board games.
The gallery below contains more information about his novels, dossiers and board games.