L. Patrick Greene

A brief biography of adventure writer L. Patrick Greene.


greene_short_stories_25-34greene_short_stories_35-37L(ewis) Patrick "Pat" Greene was born in a small English village in March 1891. At age eighteen he embarked for Africa and from around 1909 through 1912 he served as a Rhodesian civil servant,  as a mounted policeman. "Dealing almost entirely with natives, I learned to speak their language and came to admire them," Greene wrote. "They taught me many things that were good for a youngster to know."

After nearly four years in-country, while on patrol Greene suffered a sunstroke and fell from his mount, striking a large rock, and sustained a back injury that left him unable to move. Local natives transported Greene by foot more than one hundred miles on a poorly-made stretcher to the nearest railroad station to be transferred for treatment. Greene was hospitalized for six months recovering from this fall.

Declared medically unfit for service he was shipped back to England and discharged in 1912. In the fall of 1913 he again left his English homeland bound for the United States. In writing of the early years that followed his arrival in the US, Greene wrote he was a "timekeeper in a New York construction company, life insurance agent, [and] sold stock for a ‘shady' broker—though I did not know it at the time." Living in Boston, Massachusetts, he married and made plans to become an American citizen. Working with a society for the care of children occupied his time for the next several years before he turned to writing.

"The Snakes of Zari" (Adventure, February 8, 1918) appears to be the first appearance in print for L. Patrick Greene. A good relationship emerged from this sale to editor Arthur Sullivant Hoffmann. Greene sold Adventure more than fifty additional stories in the years that followed. His first hand knowledge of Africa also acquired him a position of Assistant Editor on Adventure, a position he kept for three years before embarking on a freelance writing career.

Greene drew upon his personal experience and much of his fiction is set in Africa. His firsthand knowledge of the land, its natives, and their customs paint an accurate picture of the region and its occupants at the time. Often in his work Greene took a sympathetic view to the plight of the natives suffered from their colonial rulers and others who took advantage of them. He also strove to present an accurate and noble depiction of the inhabitants of South Africa, attempting to remove the stereotypes that so often plague the adventure-based fiction of the period.

Over the next three decades Greene turned out a large volume of quality writing for many of the top-of-the-line adventure-based all fiction magazines. In addition to Adventure (which published the earliest stories of The Major,) Short Stories became a steady market for Greene, publishing the bulk of his tales of Aubrey St. John Major. These stories became reader favorites with continual requests for more; even sparking contests for the readers to decide where The Major's next adventure should take place.

The Major-Diamond Buyer, Greene's first hardcover collection appeared in 1924 from Doubleday, Page & Company. His telling dedication reads: "To My Wife who once said: ‘Why don't you write a story.'"

Besides Adventure and Short Stories—Greene's two most recognized fiction markets—his works appeared in Action Stories, Blue Book, Frontier Stories, Popular Fiction Magazine, Danger Trail, Man Stories, Jungle Stories, Red-Blooded Stories For Men, Everybody's Magazine, Popular Magazine, Munsey's, Star Magazine, Boston Sunday Globe Magazine, the British Hutchinson's and 20 Story Book among others.

Greene lived and wrote for a time on Cliff Island, Maine before returning to Great Britain with his wife and two daughters, settling in Bedford.

A temporary end came to Greene's writing career when, already in his late forties he joined the war effort in 1939. He resumed writing after the war, and continued to turn out new fiction.

During his career Greene penned more than 200 works of varying lengths. No fewer than 34 hardcover volumes of his work saw print during his lifetime, including 19 of The Major, many of which collected his ongoing short story adventures woven into novel form.

—Tom Roberts

Black Dog Books has a collection of  stories by L. Patrick Greene currently in development.

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