Born in London, England on February 5, 1936, he was bombed out of his home with his family in 1940. He moved to Dorset and came to Canada at age 12. He enrolled as a Cadet in HMCS Venture Royal Canadian Naval College in 1954, married in 1958 and stayed at sea until 1966. He graduated from University of Victoria in Mathematics and Physics. After careers in the navy, computer analysis and house designing, he began writing five Le Carre-like thrillers from Sidney which appeared between 1979 to 1985. His critically acclaimed 1987 novel, The Ring Master, attributes the rise of Nazism to the influence of Wagner's Ring Cycle on Hitler. In The Voice of the Crane he combines the influences of Japanese theatre and puppet show techniques for a novel of voices about Emperor Hirohito's life. Its narration is divided between an offhanded American born in Japan, Ambrose Magellan, and an omniscient voice commenting on the rituals and decline of the Japanese court. In 1990 he left Sidney to live in Ottawa where he wrote a third novel on the psyche of nations; this time the USA entitled Arcadia We$t: & the Storyboard from Elvis thru Thos. Jefferson, published in 1994. That year he returned to Victoria and began working on an autobiographical novel, "The Charlatan," completed in 2002, but unpublished until 2012.

In 1997, Gurr became "addicted to Argentine Tango," a subject featured in The Charlatan Variations. See below.


Troika (M&S 1979)
A Woman Named Scylla (Viking 1981)
The Action of the Tiger (Seal 1984)
An American Spy Story (M&S 1984)
On the Endangered List (M&S 1985)
The Ring Master (M&S 1987)
The Voice of the Crane (Coach House 1989)
Arcadia We$t (Quarry, 1994)
The Charlatan Variations (Quarry 2012).

[BCBW 2012] "Fiction"