Monday, January 25, 2016

Darrel Crombie

Darrel Crombie (b. New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, 1915; d. New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, 2001)

“Darrel Crombie” was the pseudonym of Joseph Fraser Darby, the son of Joseph Edwin Darby (1882-1965), a British-born Canadian accountant, and his wife, a school-teacher, Marion Louise Fraser (1883-1965), who were married in New Glasgow on 4 September 1914.

Darby, as “Darrel Crombie,” published very little, but small-press publisher Donald M. Grant thought very highly of him.  Grant published his only-known short story, “Wings of Y’vren” in the anonymously-edited paperback anthology, Swordsmen and Supermen (1972).  A short essay titled “Ghosts Walk . . .” is a memoir of Darby reading Talbot Mundy as a youth.  It appeared in Grant’s Talbot Mundy: Messenger of Destiny (1983). 

According to Grant, Darby studied writing for more than two years in the mid to late 1930s via a correspondence course with Arthur Sullivant Hoffmann (1876-1966), who had been the editor of Adventure during its glory years 1912-1927.  Grant also notes that Darby “began to crack the British market with poetry and fiction. But World War II rolled around, and a hopeful start was erased in a day.” Darby gave up writing creatively for more than twenty-five years (though he worked for years as a journalist).  Through the late 1960s and early 1970s he worked on a trilogy to be titled The Priestess of the Silver Star, but he never finished it.  In the mid-1970s, after Grant was shown an unpublished El Borak story by Robert E. Howard titled “Three-Bladed Doom,” he passed it on to Crombie for re-writing.  Crombie reworked this into a 102 page typescript under the title of “Lair of the Hidden Ones,” but again he never finished it. 

Darby’s pen-name took the “Dar” from his last name, expanding it to Darrel, and Crombie came from his summer home in Abercrombie, just outside of New Glasgow in Nova Scotia. 

*I’m grateful to Nagzie Harb of Nova Scotia for supplying some information on Darby.

No comments:

Post a Comment