Best-known pseudonym of UK novelist and biographer Gabrielle Margaret Campbell (1886-1952), who became a prolific writer from 1906 onwards in order to support her extravagant mother and sister and later her growing family (from two marriages). She produced 156 books under many pseudonyms, including George R Preedy, Joseph Shearing, John Winch and Robert Paye. The speed of production meant that some of her works were slight, but this should not be regarded as detracting from the atmosphere or originality of her best. She drew heavily upon reported mysteries and historical events, as well as on her own childhood nightmares and later experiences when she lived in a Haunted Dwelling in London. An early success was Black Magic (1909), a rather shallow novel exploring the influence of Satanism on the Papacy in the Middle Ages (see Fantasies of History). Her best work comprises her Ghost Stories, all of which have a brooding sense of Evil, even when the Ghosts themselves are harmless. Most of these, many with historical settings or Plot Devices, are assembled in The Last Bouquet (coll 1933), The Bishop of Hell (coll 1949) and Kecksies (coll 1976 US), this last from Arkham House. Others are scattered through the collections listed below or tucked away in old magazines, to which she was a prolific contributor. Her best novella-length ghost story is The Devil Snar'd (1932 dos) as Preedy; in more traditional vein is The Fetch (1942 as Shearing; vt The Spectral Bride 1942 US).
MB edited two anthologies of supernatural Horror, Great Tales of Horror (anth 1933) – adapted from The Great Weird Stories (anth 1929 US) ed Arthur Neale – and More Great Tales of Horror (anth 1935), to which she contributed several translations of early Gothic horrors. [MA]
other works: Curious Happenings (coll 1917); The Haunted Vintage (1921); Dark Ann and Other Stories (coll 1927); "Five Winds" (1927); The Knot Garden (coll 1933) as Preedy; Julia Roseing Rave (1933) as Paye; Orange Blossoms (coll 1938) as Shearing.
further reading: The Debate Continues (1939), autobiography, as Margaret Campbell; "Mistress of the Macabre" by Richard Dalby in Fantasy Macabre #7 (1985).
Gabrielle Margaret Campbell