RICE, JAMES (1843–1882), English novelist, was born at Northampton on the 26th of September 1843. Educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he graduated in law in 1867, he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1871. In the meantime (1868) he had bought Once a Week, which proved a losing venture for him, but which brought him into touch with Walter Besant, a contributor [see Besant's preface to the Library Edition (1887) of Ready-money Mortiboyj. There ensued a close friendship and a literary partnership between the two men which lasted ten years until Rice's death, and resulted in a large number of successful novels. The first of them, published anonymously, Rice being responsible for the central figure and the leading situation, was Ready-money Mortiboy (1872), dramatized by them later and unsuccessfully produced at the Court Theatre in 1874. In rapid succession followed My Little Girl (1873); With Harp and Crown (1874); This Son of Vulcan (1876); The Golden Butterfly (1876), the most popular of their joint productions; The Monks of Thelema, (1878); By Celia's Arbour (1878); The Seamy Side (1880); The Chaplain of the Fleet (1881); Sir Richard Whittington (1881), and a large number of short stories, some of them reprinted in The Case of Mr Lucraft, &c. (1876), 'Twas in Trafalgar's Bay, &c. (1879), and The Ten Years' Tenant, &c. (1881). .
James Rice died at Redhill on the 26th of April 1882.