Ashley was born in California in 1959. His first published piece, in The Yale Literary Magazine, was a surreal description of an encounter with David Bowie at a school field day. Ashley’s mystery stories featuring detective Max Fremont were published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and anthologized in the collections Murder Most Medical and Histoires à blêmir la nuit.
As a first-year student at Yale, Ashley was accused of plagiarism for his essay The Necessity of Noumena, which the philosophy department determined he “couldn’t have written.” This essay—which he in fact did write—became the kernel, 40 years later, of his first Swiss work, Error and Loss.
Twenty-seven years of living and working in Switzerland laid the foundation for his next two books, which are bittersweet homages to his adopted country. “O Switzerland!” is a romp through 2,000 years of travelers’ accounts, while Why Do the Swiss Have Such Great Sex? is a collection of 66 improbable questions about Switzerland, with their even more improbable answers.
Double, Double—in German, Hexeneinmaleins—is a return to mystery fiction—it began as yet another short story for Alfred Hitchcock, but soon exploded into a full-length novel. It is a double mystery, with the question of who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays serving as the key piece in a more immediate puzzle: who killed the enigmatic Professor Thompson, who dies inexplicably on the first page of the book?
On the Moon, or, Hume’s Fork, is Ashley’s current project, a popular, humorous, and accessible look at animism, scientific models, and sceptical philosophy.
Ashley works as a freelance editor, proofreader and translator from German and Italian into English. His clients include ETH Zürich, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Amara Collaborative, oekom verlag GmbH, Schweizer Buchhändler- und Verleger-Verband (SBVV), Kommode Verlag, NZZ Libro, Éditions Loisirs et Pédagogie, The Dive, Bergli Books, Zytglogge Verlag, and a number of private individuals.
Photo credit: Thomas Andenmatten