Mary Wesley published her first novel at seventy and went on to write a further nine bestsellers, including the legendary The Camomile Lawn, in a style best described as arsenic without the old lace. Many of her stories were inspired by her experiences during the Blitz, and by her marriages: the first to an aristocrat, a brief and conventional affair, and the second to a penniless writer she adored.
A remarkable book about a remarkable woman, Patrick Marnham's brilliantly researched and wonderfully impartial book disentangles truth from rumour, highlighting the links between Wesley's real life and her fiction.
Patrick Marnham was born in Jerusalem, educated at Oxford and is a member of the English Bar. He is the author of eleven books, has been translated into seven languages and has won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Prize, the Marsh Biography Award, and was nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe Award in 1994. He started his career as a reporter on Private Eye and has contributed to many newspapers including The Times, Daily Telegraph, Observer, New York Times and Washington Post. He has been literary editor of the Spectator, was the first Paris correspondent of the Independent, and has worked as a BBC scriptwriter and broadcaster and as a special correspondent and war reporter.