Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace was an English writer.
Born into poverty as an illegitimate London child, Wallace left school at 12. Joining the army at 21, he was a war correspondent during the Second Boer War for Reuters and The Daily Mail. Struggling with debt, he left South Africa, returned to London and began writing thrillers to raise income, publishing books such as The Four Just Men. Drawing on time as a reporter in the Congo, covering the Belgian atrocities, Wallace serialised short stories in magazines, later publishing collections such as Sanders of the River. He signed with Hodder and Stoughton in 1921 and became an internationally recognised author.
After a disastrous bid to stand as Liberal MP for Blackpool in the 1931 general election, Wallace moved to Hollywood, where he worked as a script writer for RKO studios. He died suddenly from undiagnosed diabetes, during the initial drafting of King Kong.
A prolific writer, one of Wallace's publishers claimed that a quarter of all books then read in England were written by him.