lithograph by Frank Newbould 1942
For fifty years Mollie Panter-Downes's name was associated with The New Yorker, for which she wrote a regular ‘Letter from London’ (Persephone book no. 111, London War Notes), book reviews and over thirty short stories; of the twenty-one in Good Evening, Mrs Craven, written between 1939 and 1944, only two had ever been reprinted – these very English stories have, until now, been unavailable to English readers.
Exploring most aspects of English domestic life during the war, they are about separation, sewing parties, fear, evacuees sent to the country, obsession with food and the social revolutions of wartime. In the Daily Mail Angela Huth called Good Evening, Mrs Craven ‘my especial find’ and Ruth Gorb in the Ham & High contrasted the humour of some of the stories with the desolation of others: ‘The mistress, unlike the wife, has to worry and mourn in secret for her man; a middle-aged spinster finds herself alone again when the camaraderie of the air-raids is over…'
To read more about Good Evening, Mrs Craven go to the Persephone Forum.
Also available as a Persephone Classic, a Persephone Audiobook and a Persephone e-book.
‘Coupons’, 1941, shows women’s clothes against a repeat of '66', the number of clothes coupons allowed a year during the war, with the number needed per item.