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Jocelyn Playfair

Jocelyn Playfair (1904-96), an army daughter, was born in Lucknow in the year that her father, Lieutenant-Colonel Noel Malan, accompanied the Young husband expedition to Tibet. Both her parents were descended from the highly artistic French Huguenot Malan family. In 1930 she married Ian Playfair, ten years her senior; he, like her father, was in the Royal Engineers, and was later to be a much-decorated Major-General. She lived with her husband in India in the early 1930s but returned to Britain after the birth of their two sons. Her first book (a thriller) appeared in 1939 and she wrote three other novels before publishing what is perhaps her best novel, A House in the Country (1944); four more books followed, but in the early 1950s she stopped writing. Her life in Kensington was now busy with wood-carving, making jewellery, designing her own clothes, gardening, conversation, French literature and jazz.

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