Novelist and journalist. Born in High Street, West Bromwich. He recalled his upbringing in Recollections (1908) where "...there was the most exquisite green fringe to that fire-rotted, smoke-stained, dirty mantle of a Black Country." At the age of twelve he left school and went to work in his father's printing office which introduced him to the allied craft of journalism. He wrote pieces for the Wednesbury Advertiser and reported on police court matters for the Birmingham Morning News from his early teens until, aged nearly 18, he went to London, "to complete his education in the business". Despite his early success in journalism, "the business" refers to that of printing and he got a job in the Unwin Bothers print works. After only a few months here, he enlisted in the army and his regiment was sent to Ireland. This was obviously not to his liking and was able to secure an early discharge after a year.
These influences decided his future as a journalist, notably reporting on military conflict, and as a novelist and lecturer. As special correspondent for The Times and The Scotsman he reported on the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-8. From 1881 to 1886 he lived in Belgium and France, later touring Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada as a lecturer.
David Christie Murray wrote around thirty novels which were written in a journalistic style and he drew heavily upon his experiences as a newspaper reporter for his plots. As a journalist he was noted for his qualities in descriptive writing and he had no difficulty transferring these skills to his fictional writing. He often depicted Staffordshire country life, particularly the unique setting of Cannock Chase and the surrounding countryside. Some of his best work can be found in the novels Joseph's coat (1881), Val Strange (1882) and Aunt Rachel (1886)
Those works available in the West Midlands Creative Literature Collection are marked by an asterisk (*):-
Aunt Rachel (1886) *
By the gate of the sea (1883)
Capful o' nails *
In direst peril *
Joseph's coat (1881)
A life's atonement (1879)
Rainbow gold (1885)
Val Strange (1882)
Experiment in autobiography (1894)
The making of a novelist (1894)
A novelist's notebook (1887)
A sample chapter and the complete text of the following are available on this website.
Follow the link to the Walsall Local History Centre which has a good collection of books by David Christie Murray.
Page created 3 September 2002 and last
updated 7 January 2003
For your literary enquiries and comments please see the Who to contact page.
Please read the general terms and conditions and about accessibility on this site, including the use of the UK government accesskeys system.