Kenneth Royce Gandley
- For the American author Kenneth W. Royce (aka Boston T. Party), see Kenneth W. Royce
(1920 — 1997)
English thriller writer who also wrote under name Ken Royce, and the pseudonym Oliver Jacks.
He wrote 36 thriller novels between 1959 and 1997 under his own name (including The Third Arm
, The Stalin Account
, 10,000 Days
and Channel Assault
), and three as Jacks. His best known works were his novels featuring semi-reformed cat burglar William 'Spider' Scott, an XYY Man, whose extra 'Y' chromosome (in the erroneous-but-conventional wisdom of the time) gave him a pre-disposition towards criminality. After attempting to 'go straight', he finds his talents are in demand not only from the criminal underworld, but also the secret service, and he is co-opted into dangerous undercover work (usually through blackmail, the temptations of money, or through his interest being piqued).
Royce wrote eight books featuring Scott:
- The XYY Man (1970)
- Concrete Boot (1971)
- The Miniatures Frame (1972)
- Spider Underground (The Masterpiece Affair) (1973)
- Trap Spider (1974)
- The Crypto Man (1984)
- The Mosley Receipt (1985).
- No Way Back, aka Hashimi's Revenge (1986 - a direct sequel to The Mosley Receipt).
A television series of The XYY Man
in 1976-7 (adapting the early books) created a popular appetite for the character, and also that of his nemesis, Detective Sergeant George Bulman, a relatively minor character in the original books, but brought to life on the screen by the memorable performance of Don Henderson. After the run of Spider Scott programmes ended, Bulman had many television adventures not based on Royce's work (the series Strangers
, 1978-82, and Bulman
, 1985-7). The popularity of these probably contributed to Royce choosing to make Scott and Bulman unlikely allies and joint leads from The Crypto Man
through No Way Back
, while he wrote more Bulman novels towards the end of his life, including The Judas Trail
(1996) and Shadows