4 thoughts on “Dornford Yates’s Gothic melodramas, in Anthony Lyveden & Valerie French

  1. What an interesting post! These two books are my least favourite of Yates’ novels, the ones I rarely re-read. Perhaps I should give them another go,

    Yates concerns himself a lot with a lady’s honour.
    ‘You have laid hands on my wife and for that the punishment is death.’ I forget which book that’s in but it’s typical!

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    1. Oh YES. I think that one is from one of the Red in the Morning books, in the invented country. All details vanished, would have to look ’em up.

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  2. Thanks to a post I read on your blog, Kate, i ordered my first Dornford Yates book, BLIND CORNER and it arrived today! Along with three John Buchans and one Angela Thirkell. RICHES!! I’m a big John Buchan fan from way back as I know you are, but the ones you recommended had somehow escaped my notice. So I instantly checked Abe Books online and ta-DA!!! Obviously I get over-excited when books arrive in the mail. Ha!

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  3. He has already written a really vicious short story about the hell that awaits a girl of good family who marries beneath her, which is truly fiendish in its revenge on the erring victim. He did not approve of mésalliances…
    I assume you’re referring to ‘Ann’ in AND FIVE WERE FOOLISH, where poor Lady Ann is already regretting her marriage barely half a day after the ceremony’s performed. It’s clear from the text that Ann thought she could cope with (relative) poverty; it’s vulgarity that she can’t bear. Yates makes her suffer over that one day, but at least she doesn’t have to suffer a lifetime.

    I came across ‘Valerie French’ and read it before I realised that it was a sequel to ‘Anthony Lyveden’ – it made a good deal more sense when I finally acquired and read the first book! The pair are not books I return to, unlike the Berry books, the short stories or most of the Chandos thrillers – Anthony and Valerie aren’t particularly likeable characters. I think Yates does the whole gentleman-as-footman much better in the short story ‘St. Jeames’ in MAIDEN STAKES.

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