Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Oliver Growden and crime fiction

I was updating my GROWDEN and GROWDON family history files, trying to tie up some (well, rather a lot, actually) loose ends, when I came across this bibliography of crime fiction with the following entry Crime Fiction IV - Allen J. Hubin:

GROWDEN, OLIVER H(ENRY WARDROP). 1866-1923. Born in Dunedin, New Zealand; died in Melbourne, Australia.
I found that rather intriguing.

If I have understood the purpose of the web site, it means that he was an author of crime fiction, something I did not know.

What I do know is that his death was somewhat mysterious, and might itself have formed part of the plot of a murder mystery.

A Google search brought up the information that he was the author of Matthew Redmayne: a New Zealand romance, and it seems that there are some copies on sale at Amazon. It was apparently first published in 1892, and, perhaps not surprisingly for the time, justified British imperialism and the land wars in New Zealand.

According to GoodReads the book has recently been reprinted, but nobody seems to have read or reviewed it there.

According to newspaper reports his body was found in the Yarra River, at Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia, on 15 April 1923, and was eventually identified as belonging to him, and the inquest reached a verdict of suicide, though it said he was not of unsound mind.

His wife was Annie Theresa Growden, and she died in 1949. When he went to Australia he lost touch with his New Zealand family, and they did know what had happened to him. It seems that he and his wife had no children.