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A.J. Cronin Books In Order

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Publication Order of Dr. Finlay Books

Short Stories From Dr Finlay's Casebook (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
Doctor Finlay of Tannochbrae (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Hatter's Castle (1931)Description / Buy at Amazon
Three Loves (1932)Description / Buy at Amazon
Grand Canary (1933)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Stars Look Down (1935)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Citadel (1937)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vigil in the Night (1939)Description / Buy at Amazon
Beyond This Place (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Valorous Years (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Keys of the Kingdom (1941)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Green Years (1944)Description / Buy at Amazon
Adventures of a Black Bag (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shannon's Way (1948)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Spanish Gardener (1950)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crusader's Tomb (1955)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Thing Of Beauty (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Northern Light (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Judas Tree (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Song of Sixpence (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Pocketful of Rye (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Minstrel Boy (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Desmonde (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lady with Carnations (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gracie Lindsay (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Plays

Jupiter laughs. A play in three acts (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Innkeeper's Wife (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Great Unsolved Crimes (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Adventures In Two Worlds (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

A.J. Cronin was a Scottish author of nonfiction, literature and fiction novels. He is famously known for his novel The Citadel published in 1937. The book tells a story of a doctor of welsh origins who quickly climbs the ladder of success in London. Cronin closely included this scene as a Medical Inspector of Mines and later working as a doctor in Harley Street. The novel promoted what was then regarded as controversial new ideas related to medical ethics and also inspired the formation of National Health Service.

Cronin also published another mining-related book; The Stars Look Down set in the North East of England. This novel was adapted into a film version produced in 1939 and television adaptation in an Italian and British version produced in 1971 and 1975 respectively. Hatter’s Castle was adapted into a 1942 British film noir produced Isadore Goldsmith starring Deborah Kerr, Robert Newton, Emlyn William and James Mason. Additionally, The Citadel was adapted into a 1938 British film by the same name. King Vidor directed the film, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer distributed the movie in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Country Doctor, Cronin’s novella was made as a long-running BBC TV and radio series by the name Dr. Finlay’s Casebook.

Cronin was born in Cardross, Scotland. He was the only child of a Catholic father Patrick Cronin and a Protestant mother, Jessie Cronin. At the age of seven years, his father died from tuberculosis, and as a result, Cronin and his mother relocated to Dumbarton in Glasgow.

Cronin was not only a brave student who won many prizes, but he was also an excellent athlete and a footballer as well. From a tender age, he was an avid golfer and enjoyed participating in sports throughout his life. His family later relocated to Yorkhill, Glasgow where he joined St. Aloysius College. While in college, Cronin actively participated in playing football, an experience he shares in one of his last novels.

Cronin’s writing career all began in 1930 after he was diagnosed with a chronic duodenal ulcer. He was instructed to take six months of complete rest on a milk diet. It was during this time that he was able to indulge himself in his lifelong desire to be an author. He composed his debut novel Hatter’s Castle in three months. The book was a success and skyrocketed Cronin’s career as an author, and as a result, he switched to full-time writing and never returned to practicing medicine.

Many of Cronin’s novels were bestsellers during their days and have been translated into over dozen languages. Some of his books touch some aspects of his medical career and mixes realism, social criticism, and romance. His works mainly focus on the moral conflict that exists between people and the society as his main characters pursue justice for the common man.

A surprisingly fast writer, Cronin wrote on average 5000 words per day having carefully planned details of his plots in advance. The author also contributed to many essays and stories for various international publication, and during the WWII, he served in the British Ministry of Information but not limited to writing articles, and participating in radio broadcasts.

The Citadel

First published in 1937, The Citadel upon its release was groundbreaking mainly due to its focus on the theme of medical ethics. The book has been attributed with laying the foundation in Great Britain for the formation of the National Health Service a decade after it was first published. In the United States, the novel won the National Book Award.

In 1924, Andrew Manson, a newly qualified doctor arrived in Scotland to work as an assistant to Doctor Page in Drineffy, a fictional Welsh town. He soon discovers that doctor Page is invalid and that he has to do all the work for peanut wage. Shocked by the poor conditions he finds, he strives to improve matters and manages to receive the support of Dr. Phillip Denny, a semi-alcoholic who Mason later discovers that has taken as an assistant doctor after falling from grace.

Resigning from his job, Manson finds a job as an assistant in a miner’s medical scheme in a neighboring coal mining town. He later marries Christine Barlow, a teacher. Christine assists her husband with his research, and while eager to improve the lives of his patients, Manson dedicates lots of his hours to research in his field of lung disease. His research is granted MRCP, and after it’s published, it allowed an MD, and as a result, he gains a post with the Mines Fatigue Board based in London but resigns half a year later to set up a private practice.

Driven by the thought of easy money from his affluent clients rather than the principles of his profession, Manson drifts from away from his wife and gets involved with pampered private patients and surgeons. After a patient dies because of a surgeon’s negligence, Manson abandons his career and seeks to mend the broken relationship with his wife.

The Citadel is a story of falling apart and then getting back up again. It is wonderfully narrated, with great characters and lots of the ins and outs.

The Keys of the Kingdom

First published in 1941, and spanning six decades, The Keys of the Kingdom is a story about Father Francis Chisholm, a Scottish Catholic priest who desperately struggles to establish a mission in China. Bedeviled by a tragic event in his youth, as a missionary, Francis endures years of hardships mostly characterized by plague, famine, and the war in the Chinese province where is assigned. But through a life led by compassion and tolerance, the priest finally earns the respect of the Chinese and his fellow clergy who mistrusted him with his high minded, kindly and courageous ways.

Despite the conflicting events in The Keys of the Kingdom, the central concept behind the story seems to be pointing to a way of peace, treating your brother with love regardless of how you’re treated. The plot is well crafted, and each chapter connects well to the next- the characters are wonderfully created and wonderfully connects with the readers from the first page to the last.

Book Series In Order » Authors » A.J. Cronin

4 Responses to “A.J. Cronin”

  1. Paulo: 12 months ago

    As a teenager I discovered Cronin in my school library, read all the available, made him known to my colleagues.
    My English teacher believed my colleagues read them but didn´t believe I did, because I delivered the books almost the next day (and English wasn’t my native language).
    All my kids are avid book readers, in their English learning process Cronin was a must, one of them is a doctor and due to our NHS issues “The Citadel” comes up many times.

  2. Anne: 1 year ago

    I received “The Cronin Omnibus” on my 15th birthday and wasn’t seen till I finished it my mother told me!
    That was in the late 1950’s
    “the Hatters Castle was the one that never left me!

  3. Sutherland: 2 years ago

    I agree a wonderful author. I first read some of his books in the early 70’s. I am now retracing my steps to read them again and also the ones I omitted at that time.

  4. Juddy: 3 years ago

    We should be reading A.JCronin’s books today!


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