Leo Marks

(24 September 1920 – 15 January 2001 / London)

Leo Marks
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Born the son of an antiquarian bookseller in London, he was first introduced to cryptography when his father showed him a copy of Edgar Allan Poe's story, "The Gold-Bug". From this early interest, he demonstrated his skill at codebreaking at an early age by deciphering his father's secret price codes.

His father, Benjamin Marks, was joint owner of the Marks & Co bookshop at 84 Charing Cross Road, which achieved international fame with the 1970 book of that title by New York writer Helene Hanff and the later plays and movie.

As a teenager, he earned pocket money by setting the notoriously difficult Times cryptic crossword. more »

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  • Abhishek Tiwari (11/6/2011 2:56:00 AM)

    He also wrote:

    Nag, nag, niggle, nag
    Spit your life away
    Waggle your acid in front of the placid
    And establish your right of way
    Then pick a point
    Peck a point, grind it on a nerve
    Nag, nag, niggle, nag
    Till you get what you deserve.

  • Julius Stafford-baker (8/6/2010 10:37:00 AM)

    What a lovely poem, and of course Leo has yet another claim to fame - he was the
    London bookseller in '84 Charing Cross Road'. Anthony Hopkins played him just right, and I can just remember the actual shop at No 84, with a dark coloured? black frontage.
    I also remember how my family were likewise [; eased to get food parcels in 1946-49, though in this case not from a famous author in the US, but family in Canada..

  • Timothy Seabrook (10/1/2004 4:48:00 AM)

    I have just heard The Life that I Have read out over the radio and would love to track it down.

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