Wednesday, August 20, 2014

List highlights: Enigmas (and an appeal for your knowledge)

This is probably not going to be the most scintillating of posts in its own right (and certainly not containing the best of cover images, as these authors and their books are so thoroughly lost that most of their covers can only be imagined), but I wanted to do it in the hope of harnessing some of the massive brainpower and wealth of reading experience that you lovely smart readers have at your disposal.  I'd love to flesh out my information on 21 authors from the most recent update to my Overwhelming List. 

A good many of the authors in my recent update came to me courtesy of John Herrington, for which he has my thanks, but there are a few included here for which even he couldn't locate detailed information.  There are others whose titles or other glimmers of information sound intriguing enough that I'd like to learn more about their work.  For instance, is MARGARET EVELYN DRAKE's only novel, Chrysantha (1948), about a 19-year-old girl’s search for “a suitable man,” as interesting as it sounds?  Or not?

And there are a healthy number of other titles here that pique my interest but about which I know nothing.  What about ESTHER HALLAM MOORHOUSE's Grave Fairytale (1931) or English Spinster (1939)?  Or MARY FRANCES CODD's Nephew-in-Law (1934)?  Perhaps MARJORIE BURGESS, who wrote a book about "the amateur ciné movement in Great Britain," applied some of her knowledge of filmmaking to her two novels, Great Possessions (1927) and Provincial Interlude (1932)?

And then there's M. A. DORMIE, who may well turn out to be American, but I just don't know.  Her three novels—Snobs (1931), Expatriates (1932), and Middle Age Madness (1935), the last about an American novelist married to an Englishman—seem potentially entertaining, though.

A ghastly photo of a pretty ghastly cover

So if you happen to have come across any of these authors in your reading or other research, or if you've actually read some of their work, please do feel free to comment or email me with information, and I'll flesh out the author's entry on my list.  And if not, well, who doesn't enjoy an enigma?

MARJORIE BOOTH (1895-1969)
(real name Marjory, married name Grey)
More research needed; author of at least 10 novels 1929-1948, including A Gem of Earth (1929), Caps Over the Mill (1932), Portrait in Pastel (1935), Monday's a Long Day (1937), and The Timeless Realm (1948); Winterfield (1934) is described as a psychological study of jealousy.

Another bad photo, but an intriguing cover?

More research needed; author of four novels in the 1930s—Sun's Shadow (1934), These Our Dreams (1935), Bitter Seed (1936), and Before High Heaven (1937)—about which little information is available.

LOUISA R[EID]. BOYD (1873-1948)
More research needed; author who lived in Scotland and published at least three books which seem to be novels—The Quest for Joy (1912), Comrades Here (1930), and An Idle Diary (1934).

(sometimes Lovell-Burgess)
More research needed; author of two novels, Great Possessions (1927) and Provincial Interlude (1932), plus a book about “the amateur ciné movement in Great Britain” (1932); other information is lacking.

(née Bickerton)
More research needed; sister of explorer Frank Bickerton; poet and author of four novels, about which information is hard to find, including The New Wood Nymph (1912), Dunbarrow (1926), The Third Angel (1929), and Translate No Further (1933).

MARY CHISENHALE (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of three novels—Man's Love (1929), Common to Man (1930), and Tiger's Whisker (1934)—which have settings including Mesopotamia and India; possibly a pseudonym, but she remains a mystery for now.

More research needed; author of four novels in the 1930s—Sisters' Children (1933), Nephew-in-Law (1934), Lover's Random (1935), and A Faery's Child (1936), about which I could find no details.

(aka Daniel Dormer)
More research needed; author of three early pseudonymous novels, including Out of the Mists (1886) and The Mesmerist's Secret (1888), and three later works under her own name—The King's Tryst (1920), The Romance of Mary the Blessed (1927), and A Garland for Ashes (1930).

Proof at least that M. Sylvia Craik existed and
wrote books, but little enough to go on...

M[ARIE]. SYLVIA CRAIK (1884-1955)
(née Robson)
More research needed; author of at least two novels of the 1930s—The Splendid Smile (1930) and Petronel's Island (1931)—but information about her is very sparse.

More research needed; author of three early novels of the 1900s—Snares (1904), Corry Thorndike (1908), and Golden Aphrodite (1909)—and one additional work, The Gospel of Elimination (1939), which could be a novel, but I haven't located any information about it.

JOAN DE FRAINE (1901-1988)
(married name Smith)
More research needed; author of three novels in the 1930s—Adventure for Three (1933), No Fuss (1934), and Eighty in the Shade (1935)—possibly for children?; she also wrote a one-act play, Saturday Sensation (1933), and an abridged edition of Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone for children (1971).

ANGELA DEAN (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single novel, Till the Corn Grows Brown (1942), about which I can find no information and which seems to exist only in major British libraries.

LORNA DEANE (1909-1973)
(pseudonym of Lorna Hilda Kathleen Gibbs, married name Wilkinson)
More research needed; poet and author of three novels of the 1940s—The Solitary Reaper (1944), Strawberry Street (1946), and Portrait of a Man (1947), about which I've so far located no information.

M. A. DORMIE (1897-1956)
(pseudonym of Marian [sometimes Marion] Edna Dormitzer, married name Sharrock)
More research needed; author of three novels—Snobs (1931), Expatriates (1932), and Middle Age Madness (1935), the last about an American novelist married to an Englishman, which suggests the author could be American (?).

(née Douglas, aka Mrs. Douglas-Pulleyne)
More research needed; author of three novels in the 1920s—Spring Sorrel (1926), about a dancer following her love around the world, This, My Son (1927), and The Frantic Master (1927).

More research needed; apparently the author of a single novel, Chrysantha (1948), about a 19-year-old girl’s search for “a suitable man”; Drake also published a book about gardens, Challenge to Gardeners (1943).

Again, proof that such an author did indeed exist,
but not exactly informative as to the nature of her work

More research needed; apparently the author of only one novel, Sowing Moon (1936), about which I could locate no information.

(née Geipel)
More research needed; author of two utterly forgotten novels of the 1920s, Purity (1926) and Put Asunder (1928), about which I can found no details at all.

(aka Hugh Fleming)
Poet and author of two pseudonymous collections of stories, Candied Fruits (1923) and Octave (1924), about which little information is available.

TRISTRAM HILL (1888-1971)
(pseudonym of Yseult Alice Mary Lechmere Guppy, married names Low and Bridges, aka Yseult Bridges)
Later the author, under her own name, of several true crime stories about famous murder cases, in the 1930s Bridges published two long-lost novels—Questing Heart (1934) and Creole Enchantment (1936), about which little information seems to be available.

(married name Meynell)
Although many of her works, including biographies, nonfiction, and novels, were popular enough to be reprinted several times in her day, little data about Moorhouse remain; titles include Sea Magic (1916), Grave Fairytale (1931), Time's Door (1935), and English Spinster (1939).


  1. Well, I'm no use for information, but I've loved looking at those covers!

    1. Agree with Vicki - sorry, Scott! But I did saunter past your fav Greek spot a couple weekends ago... sent them your fond thoughts, mentally!

    2. Well, I didn't really expect a lot of information, but you never know when a forgotten writer might be someone's obscure fave!

      Oh, Del, how I yearn for Zorba's. Not sure we can make it to DC this year either, what with our trip to Italy coming up and draining our budget, but it would almost be worth it just to go to Zorba's!

  2. Esther Hallam Moorhouse/Meynell published about 20 books altogether. There were several books about Sussex, a biography of Hans Andersen, and a couple on Nelson and 'his' Lady Hamilton. We have them all here, if you want to know more...

    1. Ruth, I'd love to know more if you have time. Particularly the handful of novels--her titles sound so intriguing, but I have no idea what type of books they were. Do drop me a line if you have time!

    2. It's the 'other half' who has actually read them ... I will ask him to give you a brief resume of each.

    3. Have just asked 'other half' and he will enjoy renewing his acquaintance with the books, and put a para or 2 together for you!

    4. Thank you, Ruth, and thank the other half for me as well. I'll be looking forward to it!

  3. I know nothing of any of those writers but you have me very intrigued, they sound exactly like the kind of writers I would want to explore.

    1. Well, if you do explore any of these, Ali, be sure to let me know what you find out! These are the obscurest of the obscure. Perhaps some of them are deservedly obscure, but how tempting it is to imagine that one or two are lovely lost writers awaiting rediscovery...


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