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Ruby Ferguson, novelist
Ruby Ferguson née Ashby (1899-1966), was the daughter of a Wesleyan minister. She was brought up in Yorkshire and went to St Hilda’s College, Oxford to read English from 1919-22. She then lived in Manchester, worked as a secretary, wrote a column for British Weekly and was a publisher’s reader and book reviewer. ‘RC Ashby’ began writing detective stories for magazines and in 1926 published the first of several thrillers. When, in 1934, she married Samuel Ferguson (a widower with two sons who owned an electrical engineering company in Cheshire), she started writing romantic novels. Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary (1937), her ninth book, was her most successful and was reprinted many times; Queen Elizabeth (who was born Bowes-Lyon) admired it so much that she invited Ruby Ferguson to dine at Buckingham Palace. Between 1949 and 1962 she wrote nine ‘pony books’ for her step-granddaughters; her last book was Children at the Shop, a fictionalised memoir.