Graves, Clotilde Inez Mary (‘Richard Dehan’) (1863–1932), novelist, dramatist, and journalist, was born 3 June 1863 at Buttevant barracks, Co. Cork, the third daughter of Major W. H. Graves and Antoinette Graves (née Deane). Her father was a cousin of the journalist and critic Charles Larcom Graves (1856–1944) and the writer Alfred Perceval Graves (qv). Largely self-educated, she studied painting at the Royal Female School of Art in Bloomsbury, London, after which she settled in Hampstead, north London. As a young woman she was both independent and unconventional; she flouted social mores by adopting male dress and smoking in public. Having set her sights on a career as a dramatist, she decided to gather first-hand experience of the stage by taking on small parts in a travelling drama company. She made her debut as a dramatist in London with ‘Nitocris’, a tragedy in blank verse, which was produced at Drury Lane theatre in 1887; there followed a variety of light comedies, farces, and some pantomimes, among them ‘Dr and Mrs Nell’ (1894), ‘The lover's battle’ (1902, based on Pope's ‘Rape of the lock’), and the most successful, ‘A mother of three’, staged at the Comedy Theatre in 1896. Between 1887 and 1913 sixteen of her plays were produced in London and New York.
Throughout this period Graves also worked in journalism. A contributor to Judy, The Gentlewoman, the Sporting Times, and Hood's Comic Annual, she also wrote stories for The World during the period when Edmund Yates was editor. Over the years, as ‘Clo Graves’, she produced a string of novels often characterised by sentimentalism and feminist themes, among them Dragon's teeth (1891), Maids in a market garden (1894), and A well-meaning woman (1894). Despite her prolific output her living was precarious and in 1905 and 1910 she applied for assistance from the Royal Literary Fund. However, with the publication of The dop doctor in 1910 she experienced an unprecedented success; a romance set during the Boer war, it was an instant hit and during her lifetime went through thirty editions. It marked the beginning of her use of the pseudonym ‘Richard Dehan’, which often appeared alongside her own name on subsequent publications, among them Between two thieves (1914), The just steward (1922), and her last novel, Dead pearls (1932).
In her later years Graves's financial problems were alleviated by a civil-list pension. She converted to catholicism in 1896, and, after a breakdown in her health in 1928, she left her home in Bedding, Sussex, and retired to the convent of Lourdes in Oxhey Lane, Hatch End, Middlesex, where she died, unmarried, on 3 December 1932.