A.J. (Archibald Joseph) Cronin was born in Cardross, Scotland on July 19, 1896. He was educated at the University of Glasgow Medical School and served as a surgeon in the Royal Navy during World War I. After the war, he investigated occupational diseases in the coal industry and worked as a general practitioner in Wales and London. His first novel, Hatter's Castle, written in 1931, was an immediate success, and Cronin gave up the practice of medicine to become a full-time author. Hatter's Castle was adapted into a film in 1941. His other works include Shannon's Way, The Judas Tree, A Song of Sixpence, and A Thing of Beauty. He drew on his medical background in writing his books, and his most popular character was Doctor Finlay, which provided the background for the television series, Doctor Finlay's Casebook. Many of his books were made into films including The Stars Look Down, The Citadel, The Keys of the Kingdom, and The Green Years. He died on January 6, 1981.