The Sad Variety by Nicholas Blake

The things one finds on a quick search! Having tantalised you I’m going to talk about the book first before telling you what I’ve found. You can either be patient and read through or ignore it and skip to the bottom.

The Sad Variety by Nicholas Blake
The Sad Variety by Nicholas Blake

The Book!

This is a spy/kidnapping type story. Lucy, the eight-year-old daughter of Professor Wragby has been kidnapped. Does she get rattled and go to pieces? No, she’s the plucky heroine who organises her own escape. Then there’s the chauffeur who’s the girlfriend or wife of Nigel. Clare is a you-beaut driver, managing to stop on a dime in the middle of the snow basically scaring everyone outside the car. Nigel is pretty good at putting clues together. Then you’ve got the drugs and the spoilt chick, the upper class snob and a range of other nondescripts in amongst the Cold War.

Did I mention it was published in 1964? We’re right in the middle of the Cold War and there’s so many hints, nods and downright references to it. There’s othering where we look at a group of people and call them ‘them’ with phrases such as ‘they’re not like us’. I’ll have words to say about ‘othering’ one day, I’ve learned stuff at uni, you see.

Should you read this?

If you like spy stories I heartily recommend it. If  you like reading books by authors because of some strange reason, such as being the father of a famous film star, yes, read it. If you like good writing you should read it. How? is not my problem. There are a few copies available for a reasonable price but it hasn’t been reprinted for a while. In the photo I’ve linked to the first book by Nicholas Blake, A Question of Proof.

The Author!

And that doesn’t seque at all into the author but I’ll take you there anyway. Nicholas Blake is the pseudonym of Cecil Day-Lewis. At this point I’m hoping you’re thinking the name is familiar. Of course, you’re right. Day-Lewis (AKA Blake) is the father of Daniel Day-Lewis who many have seen and lusted after in Last of the Mohicans. And he’s also the father of Tamasin Day-Lewis, a famous TV chef in England.