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They Knew Mr Knight

by Dorothy Whipple
Persephone book no:

18 19 20


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The Far Cry
A Well Full of Leaves
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AFTERWORDS BY TERENCE HANDLEY MACMATH
AND CHRISTOPHER BEAUMAN

496pp
ISBN 9781903155080

A Book Society Choice, shortlisted for the Femina-Vie Heureuse Prize, the second Dorothy Whipple novel we published (after Someone At A Distance) is also wonderfully well-written in a clear and straightforward style; yet 'this real treat' (Sunday Telegraph) is far more subtle than it at first appears.

The Blakes are an ordinary family: Celia looks after the house and Thomas works at the family engineering business in Trentham, a lightly disguised Nottingham. The book begins when he meets Mr Knight, a financier as crooked as any on the front pages of our newspapers nowadays, and tracks his and his family's swift climb and fall.

Part of the cause of the ensuing tragedy is Celia's innocence - blinkered by domesticity, she and her children are the 'victim of the turbulence of the outside world' (Postscript); but finally, through 'quiet tenacity and the refusal to let go of certain precious things, goodness does win out' (Afterword). And the TLS wrote: 'The portraits in the book are fired by Mrs Whipple's article of faith - the supreme importance of people.'

Endpaper

A striking block-print in sombre colours, the fabric has some of the hard-edged quality of machinery; yet the leaves and flowers evoke the large garden by which Celia is so fatally tempted.

Picture Caption

Police Court by Frederick Elwell, 1938 © Beverley Art Gallery


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