Edgar Lustgarten

Edgar Marcus Lustgarten (3 May 1907 – 15 December 1978) was a British broadcaster and noted crime writer.[3][4]

Edgar Lustgarten
hosting Scotland Yard (1953–1961)
Born(1907-05-03)3 May 1907
Broughton Park,[1] Salford,[2] Lancashire, UK
Died15 December 1978(1978-12-15) (aged 71)
Marylebone, London, UK
Pen nameBrent Wood
OccupationNovelist and journalist
GenreDetective fiction, crime fiction, mystery fiction
SpouseJoyce Goldstone (m. 1932–1971) (her death)


Born in the Broughton Park[5] area of Salford,[6] Lancashire, he was the son of Joseph and Sara (née Finklestein) Lustgarten. His father was a Romanian-Jewish barrister. Lustgarten was educated at Manchester Grammar School and St John's College, Oxford. He was President of the Oxford Union in 1930. His years at the bar—he was a practising barrister, 1930–40—provided the background to his crime novels and his studies in true crime.[7]

During the Second World War he was medically unfit for active service but worked in Radio Counter-Propaganda, 1940–45, under the name of 'Brent Wood'. He was a BBC staff producer, 1945–48 and organiser of the BBC television programme, In the News, 1950–54 and of the ATV programme, Free Speech, 1955–61.

His books included crime fiction but most were accounts of true criminal cases. The legal justice system and courtroom procedures were his main interests and his writings reflect this. He also wrote numerous articles for newspapers and presented the radio series Advocate Extraordinary. He used to say that he had no schedules, writing everywhere any time, on bars, on cars and while walking by the streets.


He is remembered for hosting the series of British film shorts Scotland Yard (1953–61) and The Scales of Justice (1962–67), filmed at Merton Park Studios, London, SW19.[8] Initially released as supporting films in UK cinemas, Scotland Yard was broadcast beginning on 17 November 1957, by the American Broadcasting Company in the United States.[9] His novel Game For Three Losers was filmed as an episode of Merton Park's Edgar Wallace Mysteries.[10]

Lustgarten died at the Marylebone Library while reading The Spectator.[11] In the decade following his death, Lustgarten briefly ascended into the realm of pop culture when his inimitable voice was heard in dance music. Samples of him reading from "Death on the Crumbles" were used in the Australian band Severed Heads' 1984 hit song "Dead Eyes Opened". His works are still used as introductory readings in several law schools in different countries because of their accuracy on the atmosphere of trials and attorneys' behaviour. He was mimicked as the Narrator in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.[12]

In October 2012, his film work made its debut on DVD when Network DVD released the complete series of The Scales of Justice as a two-disc set.[13] Scotland Yard was released by Network DVD in 2014 as a seven-disc set.[14]


Crime novels

  • A Case to Answer (1947)
  • Blondie Iscariot (1948)
  • Game for Three Losers (1952)
  • I'll Never Leave You (1971)
  • Turn the Light Out as You Go (1978)

True crime

  • Verdict in Dispute (1949)
  • Defender's Triumph (1951)
  • The Woman in the Case (1955)
  • The Murder and the Trial (1958)
  • The Business of Murder (1968)
  • The Chalk Pit Murder (1975)
  • A Century of Murderers (1975)
  • The Illustrated Story of Crime (1976)


  1. Broughton Park is part of Broughton which is a district of Salford, not Manchester
  2. This is the correct 'Salford' at the time - 1907
  3. "Edgar Lustgarten". BFI.
  4. "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Edgar Lustgarten". BBC.
  5. Broughton Park is part of Broughton which is a district of Salford, not Manchester
  6. This is the correct 'Salford' at the time - 1907
  7. "Edgar Lustgarten". radiosoundsfamiliar.com.
  8. "CTVA UK - "Scotland Yard" (Merton Park Studios,UK)(1953-61)and hosted by Edgar Lustgarten". ctva.biz.
  9. "Scotland Yard episodes on ABC". tvguide.com. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  10. "Game for Three Losers (1965)". BFI.
  11. Bathurst, Bella. Bathurst, Bella (1 May 2011). "The Secret Life of Libraries.". The Guardian. London. The Observer. 1 May 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  12. http://dvdcompare.net/review.php?rid=2769
  13. "Network On Air > Scales of Justice (The): The Complete Collection:". networkonair.com. Archived from the original on 2 March 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  14. "Network On Aire > Scotland Yard: The Complete Series". networkonair.com. Archived from the original on 11 August 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015.

External sources

  • Who Was Who, vol. 7, 1971–80, London : A. & C. Black, 1981.
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