Joseph Smith Fletcher (7 February 1863 - 30 January 1935) was a British journalist and writer. He wrote about 200 books on a wide variety of subjects, both fiction and non-fiction. He was one of the leading writers of detective fiction in the "Golden Age".
Fletcher was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, son of a clergyman. He was educated at Silcoates School in Wakefield. After some study of law, he became a journalist. His first books published were poetry, and he then moved on to write numerous works of both historical fiction and history, many dealing with Yorkshire. He was made a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. In 1914 he wrote his first detective novel and went on to write over a hundred, latterly featuring private investigator, Ronald Camberwell.
Pippany Webster, handy-man and only labourer to Abel Perris, the small farmer who dragged a bare living out of Cherry-trees, the little holding at the top of the hill above Martinsthorpe, came lazily up the road from the village one May afternoon, leading a horse which seemed as fully inclined to laziness as Pippany himself. Perris had left home for a day or two, and had apportioned his man a certain fixed task to accomplish by the time of his return: Pippany, lid it so pleased him, might have laboured steadily at it until that event happened. And for the whole of the first day and half of the next he had kept himself to the work, but at noon on that second day it was borne in upon him that one of the two horses, which formed the entire stable of the establishment, required shoeing, and after eating his dinner, he had led it down the hill to the smithy near the cross-roads in Martinsthorpe. There, and in the kitchen of the Dancing Bear, close by, where there was ale and tobacco and gossip, he had contrived to spend the greater part of the afternoon. He would have stayed longer amidst such pleasant surroundings, but for the fact that supper-time was approaching.
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