Thursday, 3 May 2012

Scott Fitzgerald & Hugh Walpole

Apologies for the long gap between posts here--Amazon has been incredibly slow in adding the newest Whisky Priest titles, which were actually ready some months ago. Anyway, here we go!

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The first new title is F. Scott Fitzgerald's play, The Vegetable, or From President to Postman.

An oddity in F. Scott Fitzgerald's career, The Vegetable was a satirical attack on the presidency of Warren Harding. An ordinary, incompetent man, taunted for his lack of ambition by his family, realises his dream of ruling the United States of America. One biographer described it as "inspired by the pervasive stupidity, gross cronyism and rampant corruption [of the] administration of the philistine president".

With appalling timing, the play was first staged just after Harding's sudden death, when the mood of national mourning meant that few were ready for a savage indictment of the dead president. It closed after one week. Bootleggers, political machinations, romance and a man on the run combine in this bizarre story from the side of of Fitzgerald which wrote The Diamond as Big as the Ritz. Out of print for decades, The Vegetable is a strange and significant work by one of the Twentieth Century's greatest writers.

The cover is a new piece of art entitled 'Drinks on the White House Lawns'.

Sadly, not for sale in the US due to copyright restrictions. Copies available from Lulu , Amazon UK or here.

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The second new title is a long-lost thriller by Hugh Walpole, Above the Dark Tumult. Walpole is an odd one--hugely successful in his day, and now almost completely forgotten and out of print. His big, ambitious books have not aged well, but his smaller-scale novels of suspense and crime have fared rather better: the best example is Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill, recently resurrected by Capuchin Classics.

Above the Dark Tumult is a thriller set just after World War One. Richard Gunn is an ex-soldier in trouble. Jobless and starving in Piccadilly Circus, he encounters his nemesis, Leroy Pengelly. From this encounter the secrets of their shared past start to unravel...

Set during the course of a single night and entirely within the buildings of Picadilly Circus, Tumult is a classic ripping yarn.

“..a novel which combines elements of the horror and supernatural - at which Walpole was so skilled - with the puzzle element of the whodunnit - all wrapped up in one unsettling and uncanny whole.” —Therie Hendrey-Seabrook, 501 Must-Read Books

Copies are available from Lulu, Amazon US or Amazon UK.

The cover makes use of a tilt-shifted photo of Piccadilly Circus in 1930. You can also find the text of the book online here.

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