John Burley had his first novel published when he was in his early fifties. His second published novel, two years later, saw the appearance of Superintendent Charles Wycliffe.
Over the next 25 years Burley produced another seventeen Wycliffe books and five other books.
Then, late in 1993, one of Burley's Wycliffe stories appeared on television in a pilot starring Jack Shepherd.
The pilot was followed by 37 episodes broadcast over a five year period.
By 1995 the author was, for the first time in his life, financially comfortable. He was over eighty.
But the success of the television series meant that John Burley found himself overshadowed by his creations. To the public, the name Wycliffe brought to mind the unsmiling face of Jack Shepherd, the actor. Even in the bookshops it was Shepherd's face that dominated the covers of Burley's paperbacks.
John Burley, however, continued to write and produced a further four Wycliffe titles. He was working on his 23rd Wycliffe novel, Wycliffe's Last Lap, when he died in 2002.
Recently a wish to restore the balance has emerged from amongst his readers. There is a feeling that we are neglecting a writer of quality, one who deserves to stand beside Simenon, the creator of Inspector Maigret.
Reading through John Burley's books in publication sequence, one notices how the author's voice gets stronger and his views more certain. And how his writing skills grow until, in the later books, a few words are all that it takes to pin down an image. These are the signs of a writer confident in his craft.