SYMONS, JULIAN (1912–1994), British writer and critic. Born in London, the son of a Polish-born Jewish auctioneer, Symons left school at 14 and became one of the best-known writers and critics of detective stories of his day. Beginning with The Thirty-First of February (1950), Symons wrote many detective novels such as The Man Who Killed Himself (1967) and Death's Dark Face (1990). He also produced histories of the detective story such as the influential Bloody Murder (1972). Symons also wrote numerous biographies and works on recent history. From 1958 he was chairman of the Crime Writers Association and, from 1976 to 1985, succeeded Agatha Christie as president of the Detection Club. His elder brother, ALPHONSE JAMES ALBERT SYMONS (A.J.A. Symons, 1900–1941), was a noted book collector who founded the First Edition Club and, in 1930, The Book-Collectors' Quarterly. In 1934 he wrote The Quest For Corvo, a study of the literary eccentric Baron Corvo. A.J.A Symons died of heart failure at the age of 41.
ODNB; J. Symons, A.J.A. Symons: His Life and Speculations (1950).
[William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.