The first biography of Freeman and his great investigator, In Search
of Dr. Thorndyke, was published in Ohio in 1971 by Bowling Green University
Press and greeted with enthusiasm. The founder and editor of The Armchair
Detective, Allen J. Hubin, wrote in the New York Times: "Norman Donaldson's
study of R. Austin Freeman and his scientist-detective ... is a brilliant
achievement that leaves precious little for future commentators. Mr. Donaldson's
style is fresh and lucid, his control of chronology exemplary, his approach
affectionate but still objective, his judgments incisive and soundly reasoned,
his attention to detail remarkable ... Mr. Donaldson, himself a chemist, treats
most expertly the scientific element in Freeman's fiction, and truly does
justice to both Freeman and Thorndyke."
This revised edition has taken advantage of developments during the past quarter century, including the publication of Mayo's biography (see Volume xi below) and also the memoirs of Dorothy Bishop Moriarty, a childhood pupil of Freeman's whose mother had close, possibly intimate, relations with our author. Essays in The Thorndyke File by Thorndyke scholars, including John H. Dirckx, Michael G. Heenan, Howard Brody, Oliver Mayo and Donaldson himself are referred to at appropriate points in the revised text, and the biographer's "A Freeman Postscript" (1973) has been incorporated as a final chapter.