The writing in this Julian Maclaren-Ross omnibus is some of his best, and shows the breadth of his ability and interests.
Readers familiar with his work will know of his short stories of the wartime and London, particularly its bohemian life, and there are excellent examples of both here.
In stark contrast is his highly charged novella of the south of France between the wars, Bitten by the Tarantula.
Long overlooked has been Maclaren-Ross's journalism. Written mainly during the 1950s and 1960s, his literary and film criticism shows the same sharp eye as his fiction and memoir, as well as a willingness to take seriously genres not then generally regarded as worthy of proper consideration.
In many ways well ahead of its time, and distinctly modern, Iain Finlayson in The Times writes of Maclaren-Ross's journalistic 'genius', a view this collection triumphantly confirms.
Finally there are several of his sharply observed literary parodies, which led Malcolm Muggeridge to describe Maclaren-Ross as 'the greatest living parodist'. The parodies even gathered praise from their subjects, Raymond Chandler and P.C. Wodehouse, both congratulating their author. H.E. Bates sued him in the High Court, surely equally gratifying for a parodist.
This extensive collection is expertly drawn together in the introduction by Paul Willetts, author of Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia: the bizarre life of writer, actor, Soho raconteur Julian Maclaren-Ross (Dewi Lewis Publishing).
'One of our very best writers'
'Maclaren-Ross is one of the great unsung heroes of the literary 1940s and at his best a figure to rank with Orwell, Waugh and Connolly'
D.J. Taylor, author of Orwell: The Life
'One of the very best writers of [the twentieth] century'
'One of the most original and perceptive film critics this country has produced. His 1946 essay on Hitchcock, for instance, was a decade or more ahead of its time.'
Philip French, film critic, Observer
'A dazzling, talented writer, effortlessly funny and natural - enormous gifts'
Paperback 528pp, ISBN 0 948238 32 1; £9.95