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Clifford Kitchin (Clifford Henry Benn Kitchin) Biography

(1895–1967), (Clifford Henry Benn Kitchin), Streamers Waving, Mr Balcony, The Birthday Party, The Secret River

novels stockbroker

British novelist, born in Harrogate, educated at Exeter College, Oxford; he became a barrister and a stockbroker. His two first novels, Streamers Waving (1925) and Mr Balcony (1927), have the wit, fantasy, and mannered artifice associated with Firbank. The first presents a useless-seeming spinster, with an eccentrically developed inner life, the second a man who decides to deprive himself of his normality by having himself castrated on a visit to Africa. Subsequent novels include The Birthday Party (1938), The Secret River (1956), and The Auction Sale (1949), generally agreed to be his masterpiece with its awareness of the significance of possessions and its quiet sense of ecstasy. Kitchin also wrote four detective stories, the first, Death of My Aunt (1929), soon achieving classic status. Their sleuth, Malcolm Warren, is a stockbroker, and the novels manage to be comedies of manners as well as whodunnits.

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