Denis Mackail was born in London on 3 June 1892. He went to Balliol College, Oxford, but failed to complete his degree through ill-health after two years. In 1917 he married Diana Granet, only child of the railway manager Sir Guy Granet, who was a director-general for railways in the War Office. The couple had two children and lived in Chelsea, London. It was the necessity of supporting his young family that lead Denis to write a novel when office jobs became insecure after the end of the war. With his novel published, his first short-story accepted by the prestigious Strand Magazine and the services of a literary agent, A. P. Watt, Denis was soon earning enough from his writing to give up office work. He published a novel every year from 1920 to 1938 and among his literary friends were P. G. Wodehouse and A. A. Milne. During the 1930s Mackail lived at Bishopstone House, Bishopstone near Seaford, Sussex. Denis agreed to write the official biography of J. M. Barrie, which appeared in 1941. He went on to produce seven more novels and some books of reminiscences, but after the early death of his wife in 1949, he published no more and lived quietly in London until his death. He died on 4 August 1971.
What next? (1920)
Romance to the rescue (1921)
Bill the bachelor (1922)
According to Gibson (1923)
The Majestic Mystery (1924)
Greenery Street (1925) (Republished in 2002 by Persephone Books)
The fortunes of Hugo (1926)
The flower show (1927)
Tales from Greenery Street (1928)
Another part of the wood (1929)
How amusing! (1929)
The young Livingstones (1930)
The Square circle (1930)
David’s day (1932)
Ian and Felicity [US title: Peninsula Place] (1932)
Having fun (1933)
Chelbury Abbey (1933)
Summer leaves (1934)
The wedding (1935)
Back again (1936)
London lovers (1938)
Morning, noon and night (1938)
The story of J. M. B. [US title: Barrie] (1941)
Life with Topsy (1942)
Ho! or, How it all strikes me (1944)
Tales for a godchild (1944)
Huddlestone House (1945)
Our hero (1947)
We’re here! (1947)
Where am I? or, A stranger here myself (1948)
By auction (1949)
Her ladyship (1949)
It makes the world go round (1950)
ANOTHER PART OF THE WOOD
Miss Ursula Brett, known to her friends as Noodles, gets sent back to her seaside school by her miserly uncle after apparently encouraging improper advances from the persistent and slimy Mr Fitzgibbon. But her vivacious beauty and kind-heartedness lead her into further trouble and she runs away to join the seafront Pierrot players. Luckily, her brother (with his best friend ‘Snubs’), her aunt Mrs Millet, and her uncle’s neighbours Sylvia Shirley and Mrs Shirley, are all in Newcliff-on-Sea for the bank holiday weekend.
Published: BLOOMSBURY READER, 25th July 2012
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THE STORY OF J.M.B.
The authorized biography of Sir James Barrie, Bart, O. M. (1860–1937) playwright and novelist. Best known as the author of Peter Pan, Barrie was born in Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland, educated at Edinburgh University and initially worked as a journalist in England. His early books comprised novels and stories about Scottish provincial life, but from about 1900 his plays were international successes, especially Quality Street, The admirable Crichton and, later, Dear Brutus. Mackail, who in his own childhood had known Barrie as a family friend, provides a respectful survey of Barrie’s life and career, eschewing detailed analysis of the works in favour of historical description.
Published: BLOOMSBURY READER, 25th June 2013
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PG Wodehouse described this 1925 novel as ‘so good that it makes one feel that it’s the only possible way of writing a book, to take an ordinary couple and just tell the reader all about them.’
Greenery Street can be read on two levels – it is a touching description of a young couple’s first year together in London, but it is also a homage – something rare in fiction – to happy married life.
Ian and Felicity are shown as they arrive at 23 Greenery Street, an undisguised Walpole Street in Chelsea. Their uneventful but always interesting everyday life is the main subject of a novel that evokes the charmingly contented and timeless while managing to be both funny and profound about human relations.
Published: PERSEPHONE BOOKS, 22nd September 2002
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