Posted by George Simmers

All Things Betray Thee (1949) by Gwyn Thomas

Book Review by Sylvia D. Gwyn Thomas (1913-1981)is one of Wales’s great literary figures. He was born in the Rhondda and won a scholarship to read Spanish at Oxford where, Chris tells me, he was very unhappy because he felt totally out of place. Advertisements

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934) by James M. Cain

Book Review by Sylvia D: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934) was James M. Cain’s first published novel. Cain (1882-1977) was initially a journalist and an editor but he came to be seen as one of the creators of the roman noir. He also spent many years in Hollywood working on screenplays.

Sally’s in the Alley by Norbert Davis (1943)

Book Review by George S: Norbert Davis was an American author of detective fiction. I first heard of him when I was reading about Ludwig Wittgenstein’s taste in popular fiction. The great reclusive philosopher was (perhaps surprisingly) fond of P.G. Wodehouse, and also enjoyed a monthly subscription to Street and Smith’s Detective Magazine, which gave … Continue reading

I Find Four People (1935) by Pamela Frankau

Book Review by George S: This is Pamela Frankau’s autobiography, a version of her life so far, published in 1935, when she was twenty-seven. (I read a Penguin edition, which came in 1938.) The four people that she finds are her former selves. Each section recounts the adventures of one of these, in the third … Continue reading

Love Among the Ruins (1948) by Angela Thirkell

Book Review by George S: Love Among the Ruins is a depiction of upper-class and upper-middle class families in rural England a couple of years after the second world war (or as Angela Thirkell puts it, ‘the War to end War for the Second Time.’) Thirkell sympathetically shows us English people: ‘who had taken six … Continue reading

Skylighters (1934) by J.B. Morton

Book review by George S: Skylighters is a light comedy about a trio of swindlers who reckon they can make money by starting a new religion. It is by J.B. Morton, who had in 1919 published The Barber of Putney, one of the better early novels about the Great War. By 1934 he was already … Continue reading

The Amazing Summer (1941) by Philip Gibbs

Review by Sylvia D: Philip Gibbs’ The Amazing Summer (1941) is a good example of his journalistic novel-writing, set as it is against a backdrop of the hot and sunny summer of 1940, the Battle of Britain and the early months of the Blitz. It has resonances with Elizabeth Goudge’s The Castle on the Hill … Continue reading

The Winding Lane (1931) by Philip Gibbs

Book Review by George S: Philip Gibbs’s books have been described as ‘newsreel novels’. Typically they take a topic from the headlines and build a story round it. Often this was done at high speed – one of the best, Young Anarchy, about the General Strike, appeared in September, 1926, just a few months after … Continue reading

Of Love and Hunger (1942) by Julian Maclaren-Ross

This 1942 novel by J. Maclaren-Ross draws extensively on the author’s experience as a vacuum-cleaner salesman before the war. It is the story of Fanshawe, a man living a precarious debt-ridden life, just about surviving by doing a job he despises.