Jonathan Keates

Weren’t They Naughty

Loved Ones


Sidgwick & Jackson 224pp £12.95 order from our bookshop

The photograph facing page seventy-six of Lady Mosley’s book would not be in the least extraordinary if the caption ‘Derek and Pam at Caxton Hall, 29 December 1936’ were not appended. It is, of course, a still from a Hollywood movie, perfectly lit and posed, with easily identifiable stars. The glowering old boy on the right is C Aubrey Smith as Lord Redesdale: flanking Derek the groom (Claud Rains, natch) is Mary Astor who plays Muv as a vampire-harpy hybrid. Franchot Tone, in the unrewarding role of Tuddemy, looks soulfully into the camera, while Olivia de Haviland as Nancy contemplates the middle distance with the enigmatic air of one who might have landed her catch with a touch more effort. Pam, it goes without saying, is Bette Davis, but who is the Garboesque blonde up left? ‘Promising newcomer’ is hardly the word for Diana Mosley, whose handsomely illustrated pen portraits of her chums remind us that, more than some, she has knocked about and seen a bit.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Antonio Damasio's 'The Strange Order of Things' is a revolutionary view of the mind and its place in the world. Joh… ,
    • Terrifyingly I'm already at work (ha!) making the April issue. Feel like the March number came out but seconds ago.… ,
    • Charles I: King & Collector is until 15 April: Here's assistant editor Davi… ,
    • "Ivor Novello installed a mirrored bedroom in his apartment over the Strand Theatre ... with furniture veneered in… ,
    • Our 'footprints' series has writers talking about place and inspiration. This month it's Donald Rayfield on Dostoev… ,
    • RT : ‘Meticulously documented, full of drama … complex and compelling … this is a tale fluently told, and a thriller as… ,
    • There's still time to enter: win a brace of tickets to see the new West End production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Hu… ,