[Two Fan Letters from a Woman to British Crime Fiction Writer Patricia Wentworth discussing Wentworth’s heroine, Private Detective Miss Maud Silver, Spinsters, and Wentworth’s book “Miss Silver Comes to Stay”].
Two fan letters from a woman reader to British crime fiction writer Patricia Wentworth, the creator of the character, “Miss Maud Silver,” the heroine of a series of 32 whodunit detective novels. Writing from the French countryside, near Dordogne, Francine de Marcilly describes herself as a bedridden spinster and a devoted reader of Wentworth and a great fan “Miss Maud Silver.”
Marcilly’s letter from July 30 asks Wentworth—addressing the author under her pen name rather than her real name, Dora Amy Elles (1877–1961)—if she could borrow a copy of her book “Miss Silver Comes to Stay.” The book was published in 1949, so we date the letters to that year. Marcilly writes:
[M]y highest spiritual aim is to try and model myself on [Miss Maud Silver]: not on her talents for detection, but on the charming kindness, courage and good sense which make her, to my mind, a most original and indeed unique artistic creation.
From the docketing on Marcilly’s first letter, regarding Wentworth’s reply, and Marcilly’s second letter, it appears that Wentworth replied and gifted her a copy of the book. Marcilly’s August 11 letter praises Wentworth’s heroine whom she admires:
Perhaps because I am myself an elderly spinster (51, and white haired!) I can’t tell you what a relief and a pleasure it is for me to meet in your books some spinsters who are neither frustrated nor soured nor unbalanced: I am not alluding to Miss Silver herself, who is not a spinster at all, but a perfectly complete person, freed from her limitations by her kindness and the interest she takes in other people. I am also always touched in your books by the delicate and graceful presence of youth – those awkward and fearless young men, those exquisite girls. ...I thought I could make no better return for your kindness, than by letting you know you give me my amusement, my relaxation, my evasion. ... Perhaps sometimes you may happen to be a little sad; then it might give you some pleasure to remember what you have done for me.
Both letters are annotated by Wentworth or her secretary with the word “Keep.”
Description: [Two Fan Letters from a Woman to British Crime Fiction Writer Patricia Wentworth discussing Wentworth’s heroine, Private Detective Miss Maud Silver, Spinsters, and Wentworth’s book “Miss Silver Comes to Stay”].
Marsac, Dordogne [France], July 30 and August 11 [likely 1949]. pp and pp. ALsS. Sm. 8vos. Embossed hotel letter sheets. Folds; brief oxidation from a paper clip; Very Good.