Tea or Books? #34: novels based on real life: yes or no?, and A Pin To See The Peepshow vs Messalina of the Suburbs

E M Delafield, F Tennyson Jesse, and novels about real people – that’s what’s on the menu for episode 34.

Tea or Books logoIt’s very nice to have Rachel back (hi Rachel!) and we’ve both been doing homework for this episode – reading these novels specially to discuss them. Which hopefully means we have some more details to hand than usual – but it can get confusing, so here is a handy guide to help you get through the slightly confusing interlinking of these two novels and real life. It’s the woman, the lover, and the husband in each case. (All will become clear when you listen.)

The people in real life: Edith / Frederick / Percy
A Pin To See The Peepshow: Julia / Leo / Herbert
Messalina of the Suburbs: Elsie / Leslie / Horace

Hope that helps! As always, let us know if you have any choices to make – and if you have any suggestions for future episodes. As long as it can be in an ‘X vs Y’ format, we’ll consider it! Our iTunes page is here, and you can rate/review through iTunes itself, should you so wish :)

Incidentally, I did some counting while editing this podcast episode, and it turns out this is the 23rd book I’ve read by E.M. Delafield!

The books and authors we mention in this episode…

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
Daphne in Fitzroy Street by E Nesbit
The True Heart by Sylvia Townsend Warner
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Virginia Woolf in Manhattan by Maggie Gee
Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar
Vanessa and Virginia by Susan Sellers
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Josephine Tey Mysteries by Nicola Upson
The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries by Gyles Brandreth
The Three Sisters by May Sinclair
The Brontes Went To Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson
Regeneration by Pat Barker
The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
At Freddie’s by Penelope Fitzgerald
Human Voices by Penelope Fitzgerald
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
Amadeus by Peter Shaffer
Virginia Woolf and the Servants by Alison Light
Travesties by Ed Stoppard
Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Summer in February by Jonathan Smith
A Pin To See The Peepshow by F Tennyson Jesse
Messalina of the Suburbs by E M Delafield
The Suburban Young Man by E M Delafield
The Lacquer Lady by F Tennyson Jesse
The Rector’s Daughter by F M Mayor
The Magnificent Spinster by May Sarton

7 thoughts on “Tea or Books? #34: novels based on real life: yes or no?, and A Pin To See The Peepshow vs Messalina of the Suburbs

  • February 20, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Another great episode Simon and Rachel!
    A book which has been in my tbr pile for a while is “The White Garden: A Novel of Virginia Woolf” by Stephanie Barron. It fits in well with your theme of novels of real people and may interest you Simon…that’s if you haven’t already read it. It sounds like an interesting mystery read!

  • February 20, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    I have a really compicated relationship with novels about real people. Some of them I love – “Pin…” and the Oscar Wilde mysteries, for a start – but I hated the ones about Josephine Tey and I can’t bear to read anything that fictionalises Virginia Woolf. I’m obviously just awkward..

  • February 21, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Hi Simon Rachel,

    Really enjoying your podcasts. Lots of new authors I’ve never heard of.

    In the line your discussion how about “The end of the affair” and “The love charmed bomb” by Lara Feigel.

  • March 3, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Hello Simon/Rachel,
    As ever I enjoyed the latest episode and inspired by your call for novels containing / based on real lives and events I thought I’d mention those that immediately sprang to mind positively despite generally not liking cameos by famous celebrities.
    Keeping the world away by Margaret Forster contains an account of Gwen John’s early life in Paris and how she paints a picture that then threads through the rest of the novel- I recall really enjoying the book.
    Winter by Christopher Hope- about Thomas Hardy’ s later years and obsession with the woman he perceives as Tess.
    Stevenson under the Palm trees by Alberto Manguel- a novella about Robert Louis Stevenson’s last days and the murder of a native girl.
    Kind Regards

    • March 7, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      Thank you so much Andrew – a great selection. And you remind me that I’ve actually read the Manguel – I think I missed a lot, not knowing much about Stevenson, but enjoyed it anyway.

  • March 5, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    I can’t stand not hearing the end of this podcast because I hadn’t read either of the books, so I’ve broken down and ordered both of them.

    • March 7, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Haha! Very glad to hear it, Karen! Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: