“Never lets you down” – Evening Standard
Wheatley started writing in 1932 as a diversion from his financial worries at the time. He wrote a full length murder mystery which he sent to his agent, called Three Inquisitive People. This book introduced the Duc de Richleau and his friends who were to become Wheatley’s most popular characters. The Forbidden Territory was the next story he wrote also featuring the Duc de Richleau and that one was immediately accepted by Hutchinson. This adventure story became instantly popular with both the press and the public alike. It was reprinted seven times in seven weeks! Not only that, it was sold and translated by many publishers abroad to make him a global success. Wheatley became an editor in 1939 of the Sunday Graphic but continued writing his novels during the early days of the war, becoming one of the first writers to use real life events at the time as a backdrop to his stories. Wheatley’s sales catapulted him into a bestselling author and were such that also during the 1960s he sold over 1mc copies of his paperbacks in the UK alone.
The film rights to The Forbidden Territory were bought by Alfred Hitchcock but sadly Hitchcock never made the film. However Hammer Horror made both The Devil Rides Out and To the Devil a Daughter which was produced in 1968 and 1976 respectively.
A few quotes on Dennis Wheatley: ‘the best tale of its kind since Dracula’ – this on THE DEVIL RIDES OUT arguably the most famous of Dennis Wheatley’s titles. ‘The greatest adventure writer of his time’, (said the Daily Mail) ‘ one of the most popular storytellers of the Century’ said the Daily Telegraph. Wheatley certainly was a great storyteller – he wrote roughly 60 novels which have recently all been relaunched by Bloomsbury Reader and all are newly available. Wheatley covered various genres, such as black magic, adventure, espionage – indeed Ian Fleming is said to have based his James Bond character initially on one of Wheatley’s characters – Gregory Sallust.