2 thoughts on “E R Punshon’s Crossword Mystery

  1. I think the German and the English businessman are presented ironically by Punshon. That the part Jewish German victim of antisemitic persecution still desires to be considered “pure Nordic” makes him a rather pathetically deluded character, as I see it. When Punshon has him referring to how as an extenuating circumstance in his favor (in his view) he gave the Nazi salute to “high-spirited young Storm Troopers kicking an aged Jew into a canal, and then pulling him out to kick him in again,” I think Punshon’s scorn is fairly withering. Punshon, a columnist for the Manchester Guardian, was quite critical of the rise of totalitarianism in Europe, in both its fascist and communist forms.

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    1. I agree that Punshon is a very early public critic of the Nazi regime through his fiction, but I’m not so convinced that that character was intended to be quite so deluded. I was expecting him to be ironic or negative symbolic commentary, if you like, but was rather taken aback at how convincing his dialogue sounded. But it’s a minor point: the important thing is that Punshon actually wrote a character saying something at all, when so many writers at this moment in history ignored Nazi aggression.

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