C.H.B. (Clifford Henry Benn) Kitchin was born in Yorkshire in 1895. He attended Exeter College, Oxford, and published his first book, a collection of poems, in 1919. His first novel, Streamers Waving, appeared in 1925, and he scored his first success with the mystery novel Death of My Aunt (1929), which has been frequently reprinted and translated into a number of foreign languages.
Kitchin was a man of many interests and talents, being called to the bar in 1924 and later amassing a small fortune in the stock market. He was also, at various times, a farmer and a schoolmaster, and his many talents included playing the piano, chess, and bridge. He was also an avid collector of antiques and objets d'art.
Kitchin was a lifelong friend of L. P. Hartley, with whose works Kitchin’s were often compared, and was also a friend and mentor to Francis King, who later acted as Kitchin’s literary executor. In his introduction to the Valancourt edition of Kitchin’s The Book of Life, King recalls meeting Kitchin after the two wrote fan letters to one another in 1958 that crossed in the mail: King had written in praise of Ten Pollitt Place, while Kitchin’s letter had expressed admiration for the younger novelist’s The Man on the Rock (1957). King wrote, ‘[B]y the time that I met him, his fate was that of many elderly, once famous writers in England. Instead of lead reviews, he now got two or three paragraphs at the bottom of a page. Increasingly critics would apply the dread word “veteran” to him, much to his annoyance.’ This frustration is echoed in his novel Ten Pollitt Place, where Kitchin portrays himself in the character of the aging novelist Justin Bray.
Kitchin, who was gay, lived with his partner Clive Preen, an accountant, from 1930 until Preen’s death in 1944. C.H.B. Kitchin died in 1967.
Other Books By This Author
Crime at Christmas
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