Apologies to Karen/Cornflower for borrowing her ‘Have you read?’ title, but I need to crowdsource this one. I was recently re-reading Ann Thwaite’s biography of A.A. Milne, and towards the end she writes about a meeting between AAM and Nancy Spain, as Spain wrote about it at length in her autobiography. So I went hunting to learn more about her… and, by a lovely coincidence, that fantastic Invisible Ink column in The Independent did a piece on Nancy Spain this week. (That link isn’t working for me at the mo, so if you’re having trouble then maybe Google it… and it might only work in the UK?)
She sounds a fascinating woman. Apparently she was once famous on panel shows and the like, but – of more interest to me – she wrote detective novels in the 1940s and ’50s. And they have brilliant titles (Death Before Wicket; Out, Damned Tot; Murder, Bless It and so forth) – not to mention that several are set in a girls’ school called Radcliffe Hall. Ahem, if I may.
What really intrigues me is that (as I found out here) she was turned down from the Detection Club as her detective novels were considered too funny. I want in.
Many of the series are incredibly expensive and scarce, but – matching up with the gaps in my Century of Books – I have bought Cinderella Goes to the Morgue… so I’ll report back soon. But does anybody already know her novels? Are they due a reprint?