(1848–1926) married Joan—. This novelist and inventor started his writing career at the age of 18 as a literary critic. He was also an accomplished potter. He published sensational historical romances and crime novels. Breaking the Shackles (1900) is a detective story with well-drawn prison scenes. All his work displays a tendency towards a swift-moving plot, sometimes reflected in a truncated literary style. His narratives are very often written in the first person, perhaps to heighten tension and pathos. Hidden Gold (1904) is the story of an honest, puritanical, and penniless carpenter, Philip Brooke, and his daughter, Iris. Brooke finds some gold coins buried in a ruined abbey, and, thinking of his daughter's future, appropriates them. Once he has made his fortune, he reburies twice the amount of his original haul. These coins are found by his daughter's suitor, Harold Grandison: they enable him to marry Iris, and thus find his true ‘hidden gold’. The Error of Her Ways (1905) concerns a love triangle: Thomas Clifford loves Sylvia Harrowgate, who becomes engaged to another man, who turns out to be a thief and a bigamist; violence ensues, leaving Thomas with brain damage; a miraculous operation cures him on the last page, and he recognizes his beloved, who now sees the error of her ways. In The Obliging Husband (1907), a haberdasher, John Goodman, leaves his business to his apprentice, Robin Fairfellow, on the condition that Robin marries his unruly daughter, Margaret. The beautiful and ambitious Margaret begins to consort with men above her station. Robin, however, remains faithful, and she is forced to acknowledge his virtues when one of her admirers attacks him. The fable ends with a reconciliation. Barrett published more than fifty fictional works as well as three plays and numerous articles for periodicals. His wife also published some fiction in the 1890s and 1920s.
From The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction in Oxford Reference.