He was the son of psychiatrist Sir Thomas Smith Clouston and his wife Harriet (nee Storer). He was educated at Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh and Magdalen College, Oxford. Although he was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in London in 1895, he never practised as a lawyer.
His first published book was 'Vandred the Viking; or The Feud and the Spell' (1898) and the following year he published what was to be his most celebrated work, 'The Lunatic at Large', to which there were a number of sequels.
He married his wife Winifred at St Andrews and St Leonards, Fife on 11 March 1903 and at one time they lived in St John's Wood, London. They had two sons and one daughter.
His novel 'The Spy in Black' (1917) was made into a successful film in 1939 and starred Conrad Veidt. It was released in the USA as 'U-Boat 29'.
He was also a historian and as such was the author of a couple of histories of Orkney, 'Records of the Earldom of Orkney 1299-1614' (1914) and 'A History of Orkney' (1932). He was a founder member and the second president of the Orkney Antiquarian Society, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
He died at his home Smoogro House, Orphir, Orkney on 23 June 1944.
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