Brian Cleeve

Life
1921-2003 [Brian Talbot Cleeve]; b. Essex, of Limerick parents; settled in Dublin in mid-1950; journalist, novelist, scriptwriter; author of thrillers often giving glum view of modern Dublin; fiction incls. Far Hills (1953); Assignment to Vengeance (1961), Dark Blood, Dark Terror (1966), Exit from Prague (1970), Cry of Morning: A Novel of Modern Ireland (1971); The Dark Side of the Sun (1973) and A Woman of Fortune, his first first novel in 15 years, the life of a shop assistant, actress and landlady over 70 year, mirroring the life of Dublin; omitted his own titles from his Dictionary of Irish Writers (1985). DIL OCIL

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Works
Short Fiction, The Horse Thieves of Ballsaggert (Cork: Mercier Press 1966). Novels, Far Hills (London: Jarrolds 1953); Portrait of My City (London: Jarrolds 1953); Birth of a Dark Soul (London: Jarrolds 1953), rep. in America as The Night Winds (Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1954); Assignment to Vengeance (London: Hammond 1961; Corgi 1963); Death of a Painted Lady (London: Hammond 1962; Mayflower 1966); Death of a Wicked Servant (London: Hammond 1963); Vote X for Treason (London: Collins 1964); Dark Blood, Dark Terror (London: Hammond 1966); Violent Death of a Bitter Englishman (NY: Random House 1967; London: Corgi 1969); Exit from Prague (London: Corgi 1970), pub. in America as Escape from Prague (NY: Pinnacle Books 1973); Cry of Morning, A Novel of Modern Ireland (London: Michael Joseph 1971; Corgi 1971); Tread Softly in This Place (London: Cassell 1972; rep. Corgi 1973); The Dark Side of the Sun (London: Cassell 1973); A Question of Inheritance (London: Cassell 1974); A Woman of Fortune (Dingle: Brandon 1993), 255pp.

Miscellaneous, A Dictionary of Irish Writers, Vol. 1 (Cork: Mercier 1967), Vol. 2 (Cork: Mercier 1969), Vol. 3 (Cork: Mercier 1971), with Ann Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers, rev. edn., 1 vol. (Dublin: Lilliput 1985). Also, A View of the Irish (London: Buchan & Enright 1983).

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Commentary
The Irish Times (22 March 2003), Obituary; d. aetat. 81; Horse Thieves of Ballysaggart (1966), short stories; Cry of Morning (1971), Tread softly on this Place (1972); b. Thorpe Bay, Essex, 22 Nov. 1921; son of Limerick parents, Charles Cleeve and Josephine (née Talbot); ed. Selwyn House, Broadstairs, St. Edward’s Oxford, Univ. of S. Africa, and UCD; ran away to sea at 17 and joined crew of Queen Mary ; merchant seaman in WWII, on Dutch, British and Irish ships; recruited to British Intelligence on shore leave in Lison, 1943 (“the real James Bond stuff”); converted to Catholicism, aetat. 20; settled in Dublin , 1945; m. Veronica McAdie (d.1999); sold jewellery and wrote fiction; moved to London with wife and dg., 1947; travelled to S. Africa via Sweden and W. Indies; settled at Johannesburg; sold horoscopes and perfume; S. Africa rep. for Skoda; issued The Far Hills (1952) and Birth of a Dark Soul (1954), the latter dealing with apartheid and resulting in his explusion; returned to Dublin; story accepted by Saturday Evening Post ; contrib. num. stories to Post, many translated in France, Germany and Scandanavia; commenced writing TV plays; joined RTE, 1962; presented Broadsheet and Headlines and Deadlines; dropped from Discovery series because of perceived “Ascendancy” accent (‘Is it not permissable to speak as Parnell spoke?’ acc. Quidnunc/Irish Times); left Seven Days team in 1971 after transfer of programme to newsroom; broadcasting career ended in 1973; embraced mysticism; returned to Catholic Church and wrote works of metaphysical fiction, The House on the Rock and The Seven Mansions (both 1980) and The Fourth Mary (1982); metaphysical writings on internet; issued Dictionary of Irish Writers (1967-72; 2 nd edn with Anne M. Brady (1988); A Woman of Fortune (1993); PhD at UCD, 1956; twice épée champion of Ireland; survived by dgs. Berenice and Tanga.

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References
Helena Sheehan, Irish Television Drama (1987) lists RTE directed films, Girl from Mayo, The, Brian Cleeve, adapt. Carolyn Swift/Bill Skinner (1969).

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Notes
Brandon Press (Cat. 1994) lists A Woman of Fortune (1993), supplies summary: journalist attending court goes on to record life of woman, over 70 years of Irish life; her tenement-owning grandmother; her involvement with fit-up theatre; her running of hotels and making fortunes; lost to a gigolo; the two socialist men in her life; wide canvas. Also cites Irish Times review [n.d.]: ‘An engrossing description of the transition of Dublin life from the Puritanism of the 1930s to the surface-deep liberalism of more recent times’ [ISBN 0 86322 162 9].

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