Image of Fred M. White


Lifetime: 1859 - 1935 Passed: ≈ 89 years ago





Fred M. White

Fred Merrick White wrote a number of novels and short stories under the name "Fred M. White" including the six "Doom of London" science-fiction stories, in which various catastrophes beset London. These include The Four Days' Night (1903), in which London is beset by a massive killer smog; The Dust of Death (1903), in which diphtheria infects the city, spreading from refuse tips and sewers; and The Four White Days (1903), in which a sudden and deep winter paralyses the city under snow and ice. These six stories all first appeared in Pearson's Magazine, and were illustrated by Warwick Goble. He was also a pioneer of the spy story, and in 2003, his series The Romance of the Secret Service Fund (written in 1899) was edited by Douglas G. Greene and published by Battered Silicon Dispatch Box.

Fred Merrick White was born in 1859 in West Bromwich, a small town near Birmingham, England. The record of his birth indicates that he was born in the June quarter and that his first name was actually "Fred" — not, as is often assumed, "Frederick". His second name, "Merrick", was the maiden name of his mother, Helen, who married his father, Joseph, in West Bromwich in the September quarter of 1858.

At the time of the 1861 census Joseph and Helen White were living with their son at 18 Carters Green, West Bromwich. The census record gives Joseph's occupation as "solicitor's managing clerk." Ten years later the family was living in Hereford, a county town in West England.

Before becoming a full-time writer, White followed in his father's footsteps, working as a solicitor's clerk in Hereford. By the time of the 1881 census, Joseph White, Sr., was a fully-fledged solicitor and was now quite prosperous. In 1891 White was working full-time as a journalist and author, presumably earning enough to support himself and his mother, Helen, who, in the census record for that year figures as the head of the household in the Barton Road villa. In the June quarter of the following year, 1892, White married Clara Jane Smith. The wedding took place at King's Norton, Worcestershire, and the couple had two children.

In the 1911 census, Fred M. White, aged 52, and his wife Clara were living at Uckfield, a town in East Sussex. During the First World War, White's sons served as junior officers in The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. In November 1915 the elder boy, Sydney Eric, was gazetted as a Second Lieutenant (on probation).

The First World War and his sons' war-time experiences evidently influenced White's writing during and after this conflict. His novel 'The Seed of Empire' (1916) describes some of the early trench warfare in great detail and the places and events are historically accurate. A number of novels published in the 1920s concern the social changes caused by the war and the difficulties of ex-soldiers in fitting back into normal civilian life.

Fred and Clara spent their final years in Barnstaple in the County of Devon, an area which provided the backdrop for his novels The Mystery of Crocksands, The Riddle of the Rail and The Shadow of the Dead Hand. White died in Barnstaple in December 1935, his wife, Clara Jane, died in March 1940.

Books by Fred M. White

The Yellow Face Cover image

The Yellow Face

Crime Fiction
Family Murder Mystery Society Leader Melodies Smoking

A murdered body, horribly disfigured and bearing a striking resemblance to the man on the poster, vanishes from a police-station.

The Corner House Cover image

The Corner House

Crime Non-Fiction Novel Psychology
Mystery Thriller Betrayal Domestic Dangerous Immersive Secret Twists Intriguing Hidden Motives

a thrilling novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This gripping tale takes readers on a suspenseful journey filled with mystery, intrigue, and unexpected twists. Written by Fred M. White, a renowned author known for his mastery of the s...

The Doom of London Cover image

The Doom of London

Adventure Fiction Novel
Action Historical Fiction Determination Life London Disaster Threat

In the heart of London, a city pulsating with life and brimming with ambition, a chilling omen looms, casting a long shadow over the bustling metropolis. Fred M. White's captivating tale, "The Doom of London," plunges us into a world teetering on the...

Mystery of the Four Fingers Cover image

Mystery of the Four Fingers

A fabulously rich gold mine in Mexico is known by the picturesque and mysterious name of The Four Fingers. It originally belonged to an Aztec tribe, and its location is known to one surviving descendant. Surprises, strange and startling, are conceale...

Mystery of the Ravenspurs Cover image

Mystery of the Ravenspurs

The Ravenspurs have for generations resided quietly in prosperity and comfort at their seaside castle. But the clan is suddenly besieged with strange happenings which are dwindling the population of the family to only a few which remain, and those fe...