The Berry Scene

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House of Stratus, Sep 23, 2008 - Fiction - 360 pages
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These stories, written in response to huge popular demand, give us classic Berry Pleydell - Yates' finest comic character - at the top of his form. The first story sees Berry capturing a German spy at a village cricket match in 1914, and things get more bizarre from then on. A self-consciously nostalgic work harking back to more decorous days consisting of tense plotting and high farce of the best kind.

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In Which Withyham Pays the Piper
In Which We Talk With Big James
In Which We Play For the Village
In Which I Make Daphne a Present
In Which Berry is Attacked by Lumbago
In Which Berry Meets Mr Wireworm
In Which We Fight for Our Rights
In Which Berry Keeps a Diary
In Which Berry Dispenses Justice

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About the author (2008)

Born Cecil William Mercer, into a middle class Victorian family with many skeletons in the closet, including his great-uncle's conviction for embezzlement from a law firm and subsequent suicide, Yates’ parents somehow scraped enough money together to send him to Harrow. The son of a solicitor, he qualified as a barrister whilst still finding time to contribute stories to the 'Windsor Magazine'. After the First World War, however, he gave up legal work in favour of writing full time. It had become his great passion, and he went on to complete some thirty books. These ranged from light-hearted farce to adventure thrillers. The 'Berry' series established Yates’ reputation as a writer of witty, upper-crust romances and he was also very successful with the thriller genre though the character Richard Chandos, who recounts the adventures of Jonah Mansel, a classic gentleman sleuth. As a consequence of his education and experience, Yates’ books encompass the genteel life; a nostalgic glimpse at Edwardian decadence and a number of swindling solicitors, and he regularly featured in bestseller lists and was greatly admired by both readers and fellow authors. Along with Sapper and John Buchan, Yates dominated the adventure book market of the inter-war years. Indeed, 'Berry’ is one of the great comic creations of twentieth century fiction; and the 'Chandos’ titles were later successfully adapted for television. Eventually finding the English climate utterly unbearable, Yates chose to live in the French Pyrenees for eighteen years, before moving on to Rhodesia, as it then was, where he died in 1960.

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