Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bernard Toms

Here’s a nice photo of a rather louche looking Bernard Toms, Welsh author of a couple of trash fiction novels in the 1960s. Toms was born in Newport but later moved to London where he went on to join the Met. After nine years in the force he decided to become a private detective. After jacking that in he returned to Wales to become a writer. He lived at Orchard House in the village of Llandenny.

His first novel, George Arbuthnott Jarrett (1965), is a Freudian tale of a schizophrenic who veers from acts of Id-like dissipation, including attending kinky sex parties in Hampstead, to bouts of moral outrage as his finger-wagging Super-Ego takes hold. The battle rages until: “their relationship is finally resolved in a climax of hideous, almost intolerable force.” The book didn’t sell particularly well and is now a charity shop rarity.

His other novel The Strange Affair (1966) was much more successful. Evidently drawing on his experiences in the Met it recounts the story of an idealistic copper, PC Strange, who goes off the rails. Or as the Sun put it: “(a) scorchingly topical tale of gangster violence and police corruption.” Toms managed to sell the film rights to Paramount for £8K and received a further £2K when it was made. The film, released in 1968, starred Michael York and Susan George.

What became of Bernard Toms after that I’m none too sure.