Norris wrote over 60 novels. The Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th (ed), published in 1911, listed the following as his best to that date: Mademoiselle de Mersac (1880), Matrimony (1881), Number New Thing (1883), My Friend Jim (1886), The Rogue (1888), The Despotic Lady (1895), Mathew Austin (1895), The Widower (1898), Nature"s Comedian (1904) and Pauline (1908). William Edward Norris was born in London, the son of Sir William Norris, Chief Justice of Ceylon.
He was educated at Eton, and called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1874, though he never practised law.
His first story, Heap of Money, appeared in 1877, and was followed by a long series of novels, many of which first appeared in the Temple Bar and Cornhill magazines. Norris died on 20 November 1925 at his Torquay home.