Ralph Hammond Innes (1913–1998) was a British novelist who wrote over 30 novels, as well as children's and travel books. He was married to fellow author and actress Dorothy Mary Lang. He was awarded a C.B.E. in 1978 and in 1993 the World Mystery Convention honoured Innes with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bouchercon XXIV awards in Omaha, Nebraska.
Innes was born in Horsham, Sussex, and educated at the Cranbrook School in Kent. He left in 1931 to work as a journalist, initially with the Financial Times. The Doppelganger, his first novel, was published in 1937. In WWII he served in the Royal Artillery, eventually rising to the rank of Major and during this period a number of his books were published. After being demobilised in 1946, he worked full-time as a writer, achieving a number of early successes. His novels are notable for a fine attention to accurate detail in descriptions of places.
He went on to produce books in a regular sequence, with six months of travel and research followed by six months of writing. Many of his works featured events at sea. His output decreased in the 1960s, but was still substantial. He became interested in ecological themes but continued writing until just before his death.
Four of his early novels were made into films: Snowbound (1948) from The Lonely Skier (1947), Hell Below Zero (1954) from The White South (1949), Campbell's Kingdom (1957) and The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959) both from books of the same name.. His 1973 novel Golden Soak was adapted into a six-part television series in 1979. It was partly filmed in Nullagine, Western Australia.
Innes' great love and experience of the sea, as an experienced yachtsman, was reflected in many of his novels. He and his wife Dorothy both travelled in and raced their yachts Triune of Troy and Mary Deare. At his death he left the bulk of his estate to the Association of Sea Training Organisations, to enable others to gain training and experience in sailing the element he loved.
|The Last Voyage||Captain Cook's Lost Diary|
Modern Era Naval Fiction
|Wreckers Must Breathe||In Cornwall where, below the cliffs, a fleet of German U-boats lie hidden|
|Medusa||Jones and his aging frigate are at the center of a strategically important section of the Mediterranean Sea|
Modern Era Other Nautical Fiction
|Dead and Alive||An ex-Naval officer salvages a landing craft and sails it to Italy|
|Maddon's Rock||A sailor fights to clear his name after his ship sinks|
|The White South||The whaling ship Southern Cross is caught in the polar ice of the Antarctic|
|The Wreck of the Mary Deare||The Mary Deare emerged one night from severe Biscay gales|
|Atlantic Fury||A curious mission sends Donald Ross to the Hebrides|
|The Strode Venturer||City shipowners, Strode and Company, make a curious offer|
|North Star||North Star was the oldest rig in the North Sea|
|The Black Tide||The Petros Jupiter lies on the rocks, with pollution leaking out of her|