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R.T.M. Scott

Reginald Thomas Maitland Scott (1882-1966) only wrote the first two Spider novels, but as the well-known creator of Secret Service Smith, he was brought in to develop The Spider characters with good reason, and his name on the cover quickly built sales.

R.T.M. Scott was born in the small town of Woodstock, Ontario. He attended the Royal Military College -- the West Point of Canada -- and after graduation became an installing engineer for the International Marine Signal Company of Canada, a job which would see him travelling with his wife, Leslie, through India, Burma and Ceylon for four years. In India, Scott gained a son, R.T.M. Scott II ("Robert"), and an interest in psychic phenomena. Scott was transferred to Australia, then Italy, before returning home to Canada before World War I.

Scott volunteered for duty, served in Belgium as a captain until he suffered a concussion and was hospitalized. Thereafter, he served as a major on military staff in Canada until the end of the war.

Scott moved to the United States after the war, and started writing professionally in 1920. Aurelius Smith immediately sprang to life in the April 1920 issue of Adventure magazine. "Secret Service Smith" was a taciturn American detective with a Hindu aide, Langa Doonh (a precurser to Ram Singh!), whose adventures fill five novels, two radio series, a play, and at least 29 stories appearing on both sides of the Atlantic from 1920 into the '30s.

In 1933, at the age of 51, Scott was hired to write the initial adventures of The Spider for Popular Publications, where his son Robert now worked as an assistant editor (and occassional writer of pulp short stories). After this assignment, Scott wrote only infrequently, until a year after Robert was killed in action in Holland, when he produced two final Smith novels in 1946 and 1947.