Good evening Mrs. Craven : the wartime stories of Mollie Panter-Downes
#x1C;Boldly published, beautifully designed, dazzlingly written. . . . Profound as Katherine Mansfield, restrained as Jane Austen, sharp as Dorothy Parker.#x1D;-Felipe Fernández-Armesto, The Independent For fifty years, Mollie Panter-Downes#x19; name was associated with The New Yorker . She wrote a regular column (#x1C;Letter from London#x1D;), book reviews, and over thirty short stories about English domestic life during World War Two. Twenty-one of these stories are included in Good Evening Mrs Craven -the first collected volume of her work. Mollie Panter-Downes writes about those coping on the periphery of the war who attend sewing parties, host evacuees sent to the country, and obsess over food and rationing. She captures the quiet moments of fear and courage. Here we find #x1C;the mistress, unlike the wife, who has to worry and mourn in secret for her man#x1D; and a #x1C;middle-aged spinster finds herself alone again when the camaraderie of the air-raids is over.#x1D; #x1C;Don#x19;t think I#x19;m being stupid and morbid,#x1D; she said, #x1C;but supposing anything happens. . . . You might be wounded or ill and I wouldn#x19;t know.#x1D; She tried to laugh. #x1C;The War Office doesn#x19;t have a service for sending telegrams to mistresses, does it?#x1D; Mollie Panter-Downes (1906#x13;1997) published her first novel, The Shoreless Sea , when she was seventeen, which became a bestseller. She wrote three more popular novels as well as articles, short stories, and the very popular column #x1C;Letters from London#x1D; for The New Yorker .