Arthur Cecil Gask (10 July 1869 – 25 June 1951), dentist and novelist, was born on 10 July 1869 at St Marylebone, London, fourth of five children of Charles Gask, merchant, and his wife Fanny, née Edis.
Gask, accompanied by his second wife, their two sons, and by a daughter of his first marriage, emigrated to Adelaide, South Australia in 1920, where he set up practice as a dentist. He was among the first in the city to carry out extractions with gas.
He began writing crime fiction while waiting for his patients and in 1921 paid for the publication of his first novel, The Secret of the Sandhills, which was an immediate success, which he partly attributed to generous reviews by S. Talbot Smith.
Over a period of thirty years Gask wrote over thirty books as well as contributing short stories to The Mail in Adelaide. Most of his novels described the activities of a detective, Gilbert Larose, in solving crimes. Gask’s work was translated into several European languages, serialised in newspapers and broadcast on radio. He also wrote short stories.
Bertrand Russell, also an admiring reader, called to see Gask at Gask’s home in Walkerville, an Adelaide suburb, when he was in Adelaide in August 1950.Gask was reported to have been delighted when, within a few hours after his arrival in Adelaide, Lord Russell called in and spent about an hour and a half with him. Russell confided that he was a reader of Mr. Gask’s books in England, and said that now they were so near to each other he felt he really must make his acquaintance. Lord Russell was 78 at the time and Arthur Gask was 81.
Gask’s sister, Lilian Gask, was also a writer.
Arthur Gask died on 25 June 1951, in an Adelaide private hospital.
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