Also writes as: G. M. Jay ; Charlotte Jay
Born: Established: 17 Dec 1919 Adelaide ; Died: 27 Oct 1996 Adelaide
Descended on both sides from pioneering families, Geraldine was the third child, and eldest daughter, of Hubert Melville Jay, a doctor, and his wife Dorothea (von Doussa). The family lived at 'Barton Croft' (formerly 'Bell Yett') at Stonyfell, a large property which was later sold to the Sisters of the Convent of Mercy (in about 1948). Part of it, bought by the City of Burnside in 1971, is now Bell Yett reserve on Stonyfell Road.
Geraldine Jay enjoyed an affluent and privileged childhood, as is represented in her last book, This is My Friend's Chair. She was educated at Girton College, Adelaide (now Pembroke) and studied at the University of Adelaide, graduating in 1941. She worked as a shorthand typist in Melbourne and Sydney where she wrote her first thriller, The Knife is Feminine, which was published in 1943 when she was twenty-two. After the war she lived in London.
In 1948 she went to Papua New Guinea, a country she was later to use as a setting for three of her books, and worked there as a Supreme Court Stenographer. It was here that she met and married Albert John Halls, who worked for UNESCO, and for nearly a decade they moved around the world, living in Pakistan, Thailand, Lebanon, India and France between 1950-58. During the 1950s and 1960s she wrote a number of thrillers, many with exotic settings, under the name 'Charlotte Jay', or 'G. M. Jay'.
She and her husband settled from 1958-1971 in Shepton Mallet in Somerset, England, where they ran an oriental antique business. After about 1965 she began writing literary novels under her married name.
The Halls returned to Australia in the 1970s, and lived in Hyde Park, South Australia. They opened another antique shop, dealing in Japanese antiques, woodblock prints and Thai ceramics and bronzes. She continued publishing in the UK, but was little known in Australia. However, in the last decades of her life she was better-known in Adelaide literary circles, especially after the 1992 reprinting of Beat Not the Bones, which won the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America; one of only two Australian works to do so..
She was widowed in 1982 and died fourteen years later. She had no children.