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Mary Wesley Biography

(1912–2002), Jumping the Queue, The Camomile Lawn, Harnessing Peacocks, The Vacillations of Poppy Carew

British novelist, born in Surrey, educated privately and at the London School of Economics. At the age of 70 she published her first novel, Jumping the Queue (1983), a black comedy of the upper classes about a woman intent on committing suicide. It was followed by The Camomile Lawn (1984), Harnessing Peacocks (1985), The Vacillations of Poppy Carew (1986), Not that Sort of Girl (1987), Second Fiddle (1988), A Sensible Life (1990), A Dubious Legacy (1992), and An Imaginative Experience (1994). All the novels share an unconventional morality closely observing an upper-class world whose besetting sins are indifference and cruelty. The plots deal with a variety of themes, including adultery, incest, murder, suicide, and prostitution; despite these somewhat lurid elements, they are distinguished by their style and wit. She also wrote for children.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Robert Penn Warren Biography to Kenneth White Biography