Image of F. Tennyson Jesse


Lifetime: 1888 - 1958 Passed: ≈ 65 years ago


Author, Criminologist, Journalist


United Kingdom

F. Tennyson Jesse

Fryniwyd Tennyson Jesse Harwood was an English criminologist, journalist and author (she also wrote as Wynifried Margaret Tennyson).

Fryniwyd was the second of three daughters of the Reverend Eustace Tennyson D'Eyncourt Jesse and Edith James, and a great-niece of the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. She married Harold Marsh Harwood (1874–1959), a businessman and theatre manager, in September 1918. "Fryn" is a self-made contraction of "Wynifried".

Her most notable books include A Pin To See the Peepshow (London, W. Heinemann Ltd, 1934; Virago Modern Classics), a fictional treatment of the case of Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters, and Murder & Its Motives (Heinemann, 1924), which divided killers into six categories based on their motivations: those who murder for Gain, Revenge, Elimination, Jealousy, Conviction and Lust of killing. This classification of motive has remained influential.

She contributed many cases to the Notable British Trials series, such as the trial of serial killer John Christie and the controversy surrounding the hanging of his neighbour, Timothy Evans. Her summary of the two trials is extensive, and concludes that Christie was probably the murderer of both Beryl and Geraldine Evans, and that Timothy Evans was innocent of their deaths (Evans was hanged for the murder of his daughter Geraldine, and posthumously pardoned).

She also wrote the neglected classic, The Lacquer Lady (1929), which recounts the true story of how European maid of honour Fanny Moroni helped bring about the fall of the Burmese Royal Family at the end of the nineteenth century.

She reported on the German attacks on Belgium in the First World War for Collier's Weekly.

Her story Treasure Trove tells of the rediscovery in modern times of the 30 pieces of silver paid to Judas to betray Jesus Christ and their subsequent malign influence. The novel Tom Fool (Heinemann, 1926) deals with a young man's experiences on sailing ships, and describes shipboard life in some detail.

Books by F. Tennyson Jesse

The Sword of Deborah Cover image

The Sword of Deborah


"The Sword of Deborah" contains the reflections of a woman journalist visiting women working behind the lines in France during World War I. She writes: "I was glad to have seen all the different convoys I had, because no two had been to me alike, and...

Beggars on Horseback Cover image

Beggars on Horseback

Satire Drama
Short Story Creativity Struggle Art Society Passion Conflicts Ambition

In the vibrant world of bohemian artists and the elite upper class of early 20th-century society, "Beggars on Horseback" by F. Tennyson Jesse unfolds a tale of artistic passion versus societal expectations. Meet Derek Loder, a gifted artist torn betw...

Milky Way Cover image

Milky Way

The Milky Way - F. Tennyson Jesse's first novel - began life as a 1913 magazine serial called The Adventures of Viv. In it, poor-but-plucky Cornish painter/model Vivian Lovel recounts events of her twenty-first year: en route from Penzance to London...

Moonraker Cover image


Young Jackie runs away to sea and before long his ship is captured by pirates. Now sailing with the Moonraker and its captain, Jacky reaches Haiti and ends up fighting with Toussaint L'Ouverture in his struggle to free its enslaved people. Jesse's...