Born in Washington in 1947, Lawton began his working life as a housepainter and gardener in the early 1960s. Settling in England he had a brief and unspectacular career in London publishing and by the mid 1980s was a documentary producer at the newly-created Channel 4. In 1993 he settled in New York, and in 1995 won a WH Smith award for his third book Black Out. He went back into television in England in 1997, and by 1999 had dropped off the TV and books map completely. He returned in 2001 with Riptide, which was snapped up by Columbia Pictures. For most of the 21st century, so far, he has tended to be elusive and itinerant, residing in England, the USA and Italy. He last appeared in New York, in 2008, with a reading in Greenwich Village. Earlier the same year he was named in the Daily Telegraph (London) as one of '50 Crime Writers To Read Before You Die.'
Many of the Biography pages within Lawton's books have a decidedly tongue-in-cheek bent with hobbies listed as the cultivation of the onion and obscure varieties of potato, growing leeks. His residence on the Penguin Books website is listed as high up in the English hills, but spends part of the year in New York City and pretends it is balance. He is reputed to be reclusive, rarely giving interviews. The name is a pseudonym and the photograph on publishers' websites is believed to be his younger brother William.
The novels within the Frederick Troy series revolve around the life of the protagonist Frederick (Freddie) Troy, the son of a Russian immigrant father and newspaper publisher and a detective for Scotland Yard. Troy is independently wealthy. The rights to this character were purchased by Columbia Pictures.
The novels begin with Troy investigating murders during the Blitz (Black Out), and then during the visit of Krushchev (Old Flames) and then in a scenario analagous to the Keeler/Profumo affair (A Little White Death). At the end of the third book, Troy (by now a Commander in Scotland Yard) leaves the force. Riptide returns to World War II, and is set before Black Out. Blue Rondo is set in a scenario analagous to the Krays.
Black Out (1995)
Old Flames (1996)
A Little White Death (1998)
Riptide (2001) - Published in the United States as Bluffing Mr. Churchill
Blue Rondo (2005) - Published in the United States as Flesh Wounds
Second Violin (2007)
A Lily of the Field (forthcoming)
Sweet Sunday (2002)
East of Suez, West of Charing Cross Road inc. in "Agents of Trecahery' (ed Otto Penzler, NY June 2010)
Selected Poems of DH Lawrence (Everyman)
The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad (Everyman)
England My England by DH Lawrence (Everyman)
The Sleeper Awakes by HG Wells (Everyman)
The Time Machine by HG Wells : Centennial edition (Everyman)
A Walk up 5th Avenue
Christians in Palestine
Free and Fair
25th Anniversary of the Mersey Poets (with Brian Patten)