The Crime Readers' Association

Spotlight on Mark Ellis

26th April 2015


Mark was born in 1953 and grew up in Swansea. After studying law at Cambridge and being called to the Bar, he embarked on a roller-coaster business career which culminated with him being a founding partner of a start-up computer services business which was sold for over $250 million in 2000.

Mark had always had ambitions to write fiction and after the sale of his business he took the opportunity to pursue those ambitions. The creation of the Frank Merlin series set in World War II London is the result.

“Like all children born in the fifties and sixties, I grew up under the shadow of what our parents lived through in the Second World War. My father served in the wartime navy and died a young man in consequence of illness contracted on African service. My mother, who was fifteen at the outbreak of the war, told stories of watching the heavy bombardment of Swansea from the safe vantage point of a hill in Llanelli, and of coming up to wartime London from Wales to trip the light fantastic at tea dances under the bombs and doodlebugs.

In consequence I have always been fascinated by WW2 and in particular the Home Front. What particularly interests me is the fact that while the nation itself was engaged in a heroic endeavour, ordinary life, although often under extraordinary circumstances, went on. Crime is, of course, part of ordinary life and crime certainly carried on in wartime Britain. Some crimes even flourished under the different conditions-the blackout offered great criminal opportunities as did the shortages, rationing and the black market. Murder, robbery, theft and rape were rife and the Blitz provided scope for widespread looting. This was an intriguing, harsh and cruel world. This is the world of Frank Merlin.”

Mark currently has two books in the DCI Frank Merlin series. Merlin is an Anglo-Spanish Police detective and he is first featured in Princes Gate (2011). DCI Merlin investigates murders at Joseph Kennedy’s US Embassy. He returns in  Stalin’s Gold to help solve the mystery of a missing Polish RAF pilot, inadvertently stumbling upon a deadly international treasure hunt.

If you want to learn more about Mark please visit his website

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