Maria Leighton

1869-1941 [Marie [Mrs Robert Flora Barbara; née Connor]; b. Clifden, Co. Galway; dg. capt. in Royal Irish Fusiliers; ed. Calais, published 3-decker Beauty’s Queen (1884) at 15, a mishmash of romantic and religious passion; similar romances were A Morganatic Marriage (1885); Sweet Magdalen, ‘only a love story’ (1887); Husband and Wife (1888); The Triumph of Manhood (1889); m. Robert Leighton, author and journalist with Harmsworth, 1889, at 20; wrote 30 serials for Harmsworth journals; collaborated with Robert on Convict 99 (1898), a sensational novel and powerful anti-prison tract, their best-known work, set in Grimley Prison where Laurence Gray is convicted of embezzlement and murder on false charges; graphic and credible depictions of life in jail, with emphasis on corporal punishment by the ‘cat’; In the Shadow of Guilt (1901); In the Plotter’s Web (1937), but effectively given up serious writing by early 1920s. BL 79. SUTH

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