Ripeness is All by Eric Linklater (1935)

Review by Thecla W: The novel opens with the funeral of Major John Gander. We are introduced to various Gander relatives: his half-sister, Hilary; his nephews, Arthur and Stephen; his nieces Katherine and Jane. Other prominent characters are the vicar and Mr Peabody, the lawyer. There is also a long-lost nephew, George, believed to be … Continue reading

Christopher Strong – the movie, not the novel

Review by Val H.  Movies are new on this blog but there are strong middlebrow links. In 1933 Hollywood released Christopher Strong, based on Gilbert Frankau’s 1931 novel of the same name.  (Here is the trailer and here the DVD.)  They tell of the affair between respected MP Christopher Strong and a family friend Cynthia … Continue reading

The Merry Muse, by Eric Linklater (1959)

Review by Val H ‘Eric Linklater’s Latest!’ proclaims my copy of The Merry Muse (Jonathan Cape, 1959) in large letters.  Bloomsbury, which publishes it as an e-book, says it is: “part farce, part satire on manners and social attitudes [sparkling] from beginning to end…the work of a master…at the height of his powers”. Two contemporary … Continue reading

Eggs, Beans and Crumpets by P G Wodehouse (1940)

Review by George Simmers: This collection of short stories features several familiar Wodehouse characters. Four centre on Bingo Little, familiar from stories in The Inimitable Jeeves (1923). That book’s stories showed him madly in love with a succession of girls, with Bertie Wooster roped in to help him. In the last of the stories he … Continue reading

Piccadilly Jim by P. G. Wodehouse (1917)

Review by Sylvia D: Piccadilly Jim (1917) was a suitable choice for Christmas reading – easy to read and very light-hearted.  It does though have an extremely convoluted plot and involves several imposters and impersonations with Piccadilly Jim himself not only pretending to be someone else but then actually pretending to be himself.  As he … Continue reading

Fairy Gold by Compton Mackenzie (1926)

A late entry to our run of Compton Mackenzie reviews… Review by Helen C: It is 1917, and young Dick Deverell has been invalided out of the army and posted to man a protective garrison on the islands of Roon and Carrackoon, off the coast of Lyonesse. There he meets the elderly Knight of Romares, … Continue reading

Ukridge by P. G. Wodehouse (1924)

The aim of our collection at Sheffield Hallam University is to preserve, read and research popular novels that are in danger of being lost and forgotten. You certainly can’t say that Wodehouse is forgotten! So perhaps I ought not to have accept a donation of Wodehouse novels – but they were all lovely early Herbert … Continue reading

Rogues and Vagabonds by Compton Mackenzie (1927)

Review by Thecla W: The novel opens in 1829 with a display at Neptune’s Grotto, a pleasure garden in London. Letizia, the lively daughter of Mme Oriano, owner of a firework factory, performs by sliding down a rope as fireworks go off around her. Caleb Fuller, Madame’s business partner, is full of lust for Letizia … Continue reading

Guy and Pauline by Compton Mackenzie (1915)

Review by Val H: In 1915, when he published Guy and Pauline (Plashers Mead in the USA), Compton Mackenzie was near the beginning of his long career and fame.  He was to try his hand at comedy, drama, history and much else.  In Guy and Pauline, he did high romance in a rich rural setting.  … Continue reading