Wednesday, June 26–time again for Shelf Control! The last one this month–time certainly is flying. Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains (Mine is currently at 266 including all the e-books I’ve downloaded). To participate, just pick a book from your TBR pile and write a post about it. Link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks!
This month I’ve simply been picking random books from my TBR pile to write about in this feature, and this week’s pick is a collection of connected short stories, And Berry Came Too by Dornford Yates.
And Berry Came Too (1936) is book six in the ‘Berry’ series of books by Yates. These are more or less (with the exception I think of Adele and Co) collections of connected short stories featuring the Pleydell family–Berry and his wife Daphne, her brother Boy and his wife Adele, their cousins Jonah and Jill. Along the line Jill marries Piers, Duke of Padua who joins the group. In the initial stories, they are also joined by a Sealyham Nobby, but he wasn’t there in the last one I read. The group is more often than not falling into various ridiculous adventures, sometimes tracking down thieves and criminals or stolen goods, getting stuck with contraband, or getting away from angry gendarmes. Their adventures are for the most part hilarious, but there is sometimes a touch of drama and also a little romance. [The books are set in the post World War I period, and Berry, Jonah and Boy have all been in the army. Shadows of this appear off and on, but the tone of the books is light-hearted for the most part.] Interwoven in the books are beautiful descriptions of nature, and at times, also of towns and cities, reading which not only takes one amidst the scene being described but which also bring one the sense of peace that one feels when in those surroundings.
I have quoted this one before earlier on this page, but from Berry and Co.
As was fitting, St. George’s Day dawned fair and cloudless. Her passionate weeping of the day before dismissed, April was smiling—shyly at first, as if uncertain that her recent waywardness had been forgiven, and by and by so bravely that all the sweet o’ the year rose up out of the snowy orchards, dewy and odorous, danced in the gleaming meadows and hung, glowing and breathless, in every swaying nursery that Spring had once more built upon the patient trees.Dornford Yates, Berry and Co (1920)
Back to this book now, this is a series of eight stories, described as ‘the hair-raising adventures and idiotic situations of the Pleydell family’ (from the description of Goodreads/Fadedpage). The description doesn’t give any further details but if they are like the earlier books in the series, I know I will have a good laugh or rather many good laughs reading them. Berry’s conversations and even his letters are simply hilarious, and this is sure to have some of those. (I have an e-copy, by the way, downloaded via fadedpage.com).
Cecil William Mercer (1885-1960) was an English novelist, who wrote under the pen name Dornford Yates (a combination of the maiden names of his grandmothers). He wrote both comic novels (the Berry series) as well as thrillers–among them the Chandos series in which Jonah (Jonathan Mansell) appears as a main character in a different avatar, and standalone books. I have read four of the Berry books so far which I enjoyed very much, and one of the Chandos series which was enjoyable but I didn’t like how he’d changed the relationship equations between the Berry characters (who appear in that book as well–not the entire series though).
Have you read any books by Yates before? Which one/s and how did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts!