Richard Bernard Heldmann was born on 12th October 1857, in St Johns Wood, North London.
By his early 20’s Heldmann began publishing fiction for the myriad magazine publications that had sprung up and were eager for good well-written content.
In October 1882, Heldmann was promoted to co-editor of Union Jack, a popular magazine, but his association with the publication ended suddenly in June 1883. It appears Heldman was prone to issuing forged cheques to finance his lifestyle. In April 1884 He was sentenced to 18 months hard labour.
In order to be well away from the scandal and damage this had caused to his reputation Heldmann adopted a pseudonym on his release from jail. Shortly thereafter the name ‘Richard Marsh’ began to appear in the literary periodicals. The use of his mother’s maiden name as part of it seems both a release and a lifeline.
A stroke of very good fortune arrived with his novel The Beetle published in 1897. This would turn out to be his greatest commercial success and added some much-needed gravitas to his literary reputation.
Marsh was a prolific writer and wrote almost 80 volumes of fiction as well as many short stories, across many genres from horror and crime to romance and humour.