Birth of A.E.W. Mason, author and Liberal MP for Coventry 1906-10

Alfred Edward Woodley Mason was born in Camberwell and educated at Dulwich College and Trinity College, Oxford. Starting his career as an actor – he appeared in the premiere production of Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man in 1894 – he later turned to writing and was the author of over 30 books including The Four Feathers (1902) and Fire Over England (1936). His series of novels featuring French Detective Inspector Hanaud are supposed to have been a template for Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. Selected to fight the Conservative held seat of Coventry for the 1906 election, he gained the seat for the Liberals with a majority of just over 1000 votes. He served one term, standing down in January 1910. During World War One Mason served in the Manchester Regiment and the Royal Marines, later working in naval intelligence where he travelled to Spain and Mexico setting up counter espionage networks on behalf of the UK government. Mason died in London in November 1948 aged 83.