Thursday, February 5, 2015

UPDATE: School story authors (L-M)

I can confidently assert that my fourth post about school story authors who were added to my Overwhelming List in the most recent update contains not one single author I had ever heard of prior to consulting Sims and Clare's Encyclopaedia of Girls' School Stories. So I certainly owe them yet another thanks for their wonderful book and all the unfathomable amount of research that must have gone into it. But I'm already finding some authors from this section who may have to be added to my TBR list.

I'm drawn to MARGARET LAYCOCK's books, which are, according to Sims and Clare, as much focused on the staff members as on the students. D. R. MACK's only book, Betty Brooke at School: A Tale for Girls and Old Girls (1910), described as featuring "numerous digressions and reflections on schoolgirl life," sounds right up my alley too. And I'm attracted to MARJORIE LLOYD's Fell Farm tales as well as her one school story. According to Sims and Clare, One Summer Term makes good use of its setting in the Welsh Marches, and is strong on characterization.

Also attractive to me, judging from the Sims and Clare descriptions of them, are the novels of ALICE LUNT. Not only do her experiences as a land girl during World War II apparently figure importantly in her first two novels, Tomorrow the Harvest and Eileen of Redstone Farm, but her school stories are described as realistic and somewhat muted in terms of the more outlandish plot twists characteristic of school stories. This description of a key event from Jeanette's First Term seems perfectly appealing to me: "Fictional schoolgirls have been clambering out on to school roofs for many years, but always as a gesture of defiance towards authority: Jeanette and her large, clumsy, appealing friend Aggie go to rescue a ball, and find themselves hunted by half the staff."

By contrast, it certainly doesn't seem possible to say of MARGARET LOCHERBIE-CAMERON's books that they are realistic or plausible—Nicolette Detects apparently features both a Nazi and a freedom fighter posing as schoolgirls—but Sims and Clare nevertheless stress that her characters are more believable than many mystery authors, and the action certainly sounds entertaining.

CHRISTABEL MARLOWE's only book, Shirley at Charterton, is reportedly a favorite of many savvy school story fans, which naturally makes me eager to jump on the bandwagon. And Sims and Clare compare the three books by JESSIE MCALPINE to those of Josephine Elder and Evelyn Smith, which immediately piqued my interest, and they also bemoan the fact that she didn't write more books.

And finally, for the sheer oddness of a tale set in an Anglican convent school and featuring the only instance Sims and Clare have found of an actual ghost as a component of the story, I would love to get my hands on ANNE MOUNTAIN's The Ghost of Aston Abbey. Sadly, however, the book seems to be vanishingly rare and my curiosity is likely to remain unfulfilled.

Those are the authors and titles that jumped out at me in this batch. Are there others that more knowledgeable fans of the genre would recommend?

EDNA LAKE (dates unknown)
More research needed; possibly Bessie Marchant's niece and the author of four school stories—The Right Rowena (1924), The Wraith of Raeburn (1925), The Mystery of Tower House School (1928), and Pamela of Peter's (1931), as well as several other non-school children's books.

BETTY LAWS (dates unknown)
Author of five girls' school stories, the first four—The New Head—and Barbara (1925), The Girls of Dormitory Ten (1926), Pam and the Fearless Fourth (1927), and The Girls of Stornham Central (1929)—praised by Sims & Clare, the last—Kidnappers at Elmhurst School (1939)—distinctly not.

MARGARET LAYCOCK (dates unknown)
A teacher herself in a London day school, Laycock published three intriguing school stories which, according to Sims & Clare, are as focused on staff as on students—Form IV Does Its Bit (1934), Ann's Difficult Term (1935), and Fifth Form Crisis (1937).

A. LEGION (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, The Three Helens (1927), which traces the evolution of a school over time, from the points of view of three successive girls.

BERTHA LEONARD (1883-????)
(pseudonym of Bertha Howick, married name Fry)
Author of a dozen or so girls' school stories, including Stella's Victory (1926), Daphne the Day Girl (1927), An Upper Fourth Feud (1928), The Rivals of Redlands (1931), Silverways Manor School (1936), and The Castle School Mystery (1938), as well as several other children's books.

CAROLINE LESTER (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, Pat on Her Own (1949).

MARIE JEANNE LIND (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single book, Patsy (1940), set in part in a girls' school, though focused more on outlandish adventures outside of school.

MARJORIE LLOYD (1909-2001)
Children's author known for her Fell Farm series as well as for a single girls' school story, One Summer Term (1959); other titles include Fell Farm Holiday (1951), The Farm in Mallerstang (1956), Fell Farm Campers (1960), The Family at Foxy Beck (1967), and Fell Trek (1973).

More research needed; author of six girls' novels of the 1940s and 1950s, some set in schools but most focused on mystery elements; titles include Nicolette Detects (1949), Two and a Treasure Hunt (1950), Will Madam Step This Way? (1951), Nurse Kathleen (1952), and Nicolette Finds Her (1953).

Daughter of historian Sir Richard Lodge; author of one school story, Felicity at Fairliholm (1933), other children's books such as A Fairy To Stay (1928) and The Wishing Wood (1930), and a biographer of her father (1946).

PEGGY LONDON (dates unknown)
Author of a single title for girls, The Secrets of Devon Castle (1931), comprised of three stories, one of them school-related; she also appears to have written two plays just at the end of World War II, Gertie Goes "Plain" (1945) and Youth and Consequences (1945).

(aka Doreen Ireland, aka Doris Canham)
Author of seven girls' school stories (some under each pseudonym), as well as other children's books; titles include Barbara—Called Binkie (1935), The Misfit (1936), Jill of Gateway School (1938), Doreen Douglas, Schoolgirl (1935), Lynette of Carisgate (1937), Joan at Seascale (1938), and Margery the Mystery (1938).

ALICE LUNT (1919-1973)
Author of three school-related stories—Secret Stepmother (1959), Jeanette's First Term (1960), and Jeanette in the Summer Term (1962)—and other children's fiction; Sims & Clare report that she also wrote adult novels, but I was unable to locate them—perhaps under a pseudonym?

ANNE MACDONALD (1870-1958)
Author of four school stories—Bud and Adventure (1926), Dimity Dand (1928), Jill's Curmudgeon (1932), and Lilt from the Laurels (1934)—as well as inspirational poetry and other fiction, some possibly for adults, such as A Pocketful of Silver (1927) and The Deceiving Mirror (1935).

D. R. MACK (1887-1973)
(pseudonym of Mary [Elizabeth Haddon] Owen, married name Mackie)
Author of only a single title—Betty Brooke at School: A Tale for Girls and Old Girls (1910)—which aimed, according to Sims and Clare, for a realistic portrayal of school life, and which was aimed as much at adults as at schoolgirls.

EDITHA MANNERS (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of one full-length school story, The Girls of Form Five (1929), and at least one other novella, as well as a story collection, The Taming of Angela and Other Stories (1934); Sims & Clare found reference to another untraced work called The School on the Shore.

(pseudonym of Edna Edith Harris)
Author of one girls' school novel, The Mascot of the School (1935), as well as several novels for adults, including The Flaming Flower (1927), Wind-Bound (1928), Morning Rainbow (1928), and one final novel, Gallows Close (1981).

M[ARIA]. B[ARBARA]. MANWELL (1843-1922)
Author of school stories for both boths and girls, as well as other children's fiction; titles include Gerty's Triumph (1888), The Captain's Bunk (1898), The Girls Of Dancy Dene (1902), The Boys of Monk's Harold (1907), The Girls of St Ursula's (1912), and The Crew of the Rectory (1912).

(pseudonym of Clarice Mary Russell-Clarke, married names Rawlinson and Radcliffe)
Author of four girls' school stories—For the Sake of the House (1933), Sally Wins the School (1934), That Eventful Term (1934), and The Lower School Leader (1935)—which Sims & Clare note are imperfect but "attractive and amusing."

CHRISTABEL MARLOWE (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of only one girls' school story, Shirley at Charterton (1931), set in a large public school and apparently a favorite for fans of the genre.

MABEL MARLOWE (c1884-1954)
Author of four school stories, which Sims & Clare describe as Victorian at heart, as well as other children's fiction; titles include Winifred Avon (1920), The Turret Room (1926), Trouble in the Upper Third (1927), Lucia's Second Term (1928), and The Tramping Troubadour (1931).

MONICA MARSDEN (dates unknown)
(née ?????)
Author of numerous children's adventure tales and mysteries, including one—The Chartfield School Mystery (1959)—set in a school; others include Night Adventure (1941), Enemy Agent (1942), Lost, Stolen or Strayed (1943), The Abbey Ruins (1944), and The Manor House Mystery (1950).

VERA MARSHALL (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, The Quest of the Sleuth Patrol (1931).

S. E. MARTEN (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, Girls of the Swallow Patrol (1927), which also features Guides.

MARY MARTIN (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of two girls' school stories, The Girl Who Dared (1925) and How Damie Found Herself (1926).

(married name Braithwaite)
A lecturer at Cambridge who also worked in the theatre and at Ealing Film Studios, and author of three novels, the first of which—Gentlemen's Daughters (1931)—is set at a school; the others are basically adult novels—The Grandmother (1934) and Death of a Friend (1938).

E. C. MATTHEWS (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of two girls' school stories, Lavender at the High School (1927) and Miss Honor's Form (1928), and several other children's books, including A Christmas Moon (1933), Two Red Cloaks (1947), and Holiday at Magpie Cottage (1953).

(married name Prentice)
Author of three girls' school stories set at large public schools and with an emphasis on character development—The Dominant Fifth (1930), Allies in the Fourth (1933), and Growing Up at St Monica's (1937).

KATHLEEN MCLAINE (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of one girls' school story, Jean at St Hilary's (1949), and one additional children's title, When Jesus Was a Boy (1954).

KATE MELLERSH (c1853-1931)
(full name Katharine Allport Mellersh, née Wright)
Author of one girls' school story, Hetty the Discoverer (1926), as well as inspirational poetry and other children's fiction, including He She and It (1910), His By Right (1913), Helen's Venture (1920), Norah's Own Island (1923), Miss Rosemary Mistary (1932), and Alison's Exile (1936).

More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, The Mystery of the Treasure Tomb (1948).

EDITH MILES (dates unknown)
Author of school stories for both boys and girls, including The Girl Chums of Norland Road (1930), A Mysterious Schoolgirl (1931), That School Next Door (1931), Midbourne School (1933), and The Adventures of Clarice (1937), The Red Umbrella (1937), and Moonshine Island (1940).

ANNE MILLAR (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, Kids' Corner (1946).

ELSIE MILLIGAN (dates unknown)
Author of children's fiction, much of it set in Africa, including one school story, Tennis Champion (1961); others include Kachibinda, Little Hunter (1956), Stephen On Safari (1958), Penny Goes Exploring (1959), Far To Go (1960), Penny Goes A-Camping (1962), and Distilled as Dew (1966).

PHYLLIS MORD (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single girls' school story, The Taming of Winifred (1917).

Author of various stories and short plays for younger children, as well as three well-received school stories for older readers—To the Fray, St. Agatha's! (1935), That Red-Haired Girl in Thorn's (1936), and Sally of the Fourth (1937)—which Sims & Clare call "lively and entertaining."

ELISABETH MORLEY (dates unknown)
Author of three girls' school stories which feature, according to Sims & Clare, volatile heroines who settle down in the end; these are Jess of the Juniors (1947), Girls in Green (1949), and Judy's Triumph (195?).

SOPHIE S. MORLEY (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of one girls' school story, The Art Prize (1946), one earlier work of children's fiction, The Flemings and Their Friends (1939), and two dramatic works, Heart of Youth (1935) and Bunty and Billy, or, Round the Fairy Bush (1935).

ANNE MOUNTAIN (dates unknown)
More research needed; author of a single school story, The Ghost of Aston Abbey (1948), set in an Anglican convent and told from both adult and children's perspectives, and one other work of fiction, The Green Bracelet (1947).

NORAH MYLREA (1904-1994)
(married name Easey)
Author of six girls' school stories, most with thriller elements, as well as several other children's books; titles include Lisbeth of Browndown (1934), Browndown Again! (1936), Unwillingly to School (1938), That Mystery Girl (1939), Lorrie's First Term (1940), and Spies at Candover (1941).


  1. Oh Scott, what ripping fun. I especially like the title "Dominant Fifth."

  2. Ye gods you are at it again - attacking my bank account. I thought I had an eclectic collection of school stories and knew something about the genre but at a quick skim of the post I can say that I have only heard of one of these!

    I possess - and loved as a child - Fell Farm Campers. Off to see if I still have it somewhere.

    I have fiercely resisted buying the copy of the Encyclopaedia that it around at the moment. Your post convinces me that I made the right decision. There's enough temptation in there, let alone in a whole encyclopaedia! :-)

    1. It's been amazing to me how extensive this genre was, and it's great fun to explore. Glad to know Fell Farm is worth visiting--another for the TBR list! And I have to say my posts are the merest tip of the iceberg of what's in the Encyclopaedia...

  3. Do you know of Joanna Lloyd's series "Bramber Manor," where Catherine a minister's daughter is sent away to school. Seems to have strted in 1945, although the cover art makes it seem earlier. By #3 she is head of the house (naturally) I found this on ebay while looking for - surprise! - something entirely different! Oh, Scott, if I could have found #1 instead of only #3, I would have sent this as a belated, if rather lopsided wedding gift. Yes, Andy would have been so thrilled, when he could have had an oven mitt and potholder set instead! Tom

    1. I knew the name sounded familiar Tom. Lloyd was actually a pseudonym of Joan Coggin, whose mystery Who Killed the Curate I reviewed a while back. Did you read the book? No, Andy wouldn't have been excited, but I appreciate the thought. Thanks, Tom!

  4. It's worth looking at your posts for the illustrations! So often I see books I own but with dustwrappers; lovely.

    The Girl Chums of Norland Road is an interesting book. You wouldn't guess it from that cover, but the girls are town girls who go to a state school and come from humble homes. Quite original for its time.

    1. I'm envious to think that many of these books reside on your shelves, even without their jackets. And thanks for the recommendation of Girl Chums. Yet another to try and track down!


NOTE: The comment function on Blogger is notoriously cranky. If you're having problems, try selecting "Name/URL" or "Anonymous" from the "Comment as" drop-down (be sure to "sign" your comment, though, so I know who dropped by). Some people also find it easier using a browser like Firefox or Chrome instead of Internet Explorer.

But it can still be a pain, and if you can't get any of that to work, please email me at I do want to hear from you!