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The Clue of the New Pin
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Edgar Wallace was born illegitimately in 1875 in Greenwich and adopted by George Freeman, a porter at Billingsgate fish market. At eleven, Wallace sold newspapers at Ludgate Circus and on leaving school took a job with a printer. He enlisted in the Royal West Kent Regiment, later transferring to the Medical Staff Corps, and was sent to South Africa. In 1898 he published a collection of poems called The Mission That Failed, left the army and became a correspondent for Reuters. Wallace became the South African war correspondent for The Daily Mail. His articles were later published as Unofficial Dispatches and his outspokenness infuriated Kitchener, who banned him as a war correspondent until the First World War. He edited the Rand Daily Mail, but gambled disastrously on the South African Stock Market, returning to England to report on crimes and hanging trials. He became editor of The Evening News, then in 1905 founded the Tallis Press, publishing Smithy, a collection of soldier stories, and Four Just Men. At various times he worked on The Standard, The Star, The Week-End Racing Supplement and The Story Journal. In 1917 he became a Special Constable at Lincoln's Inn and also a special interrogator for the War Office. His first marriage to Ivy Caldecott, daughter of a missio

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