Entry updated 18 May 2021. Tagged: Author.
Pseudonym of UK lawyer and author Cecil William Mercer (1885-1960), Saki's first cousin; in active service during World War One, 1914-1917, and in World War Two; in France and Africa from the early 1920s. Some short stories in his well-known and once very popular Berry sequence of English social comedies contain fantasy elements, including dowsing (see ESP), dream-portents and Precognition; some titles in the linked Chandos thriller sequence have a Ruritanian air. Both Anthony Lyveden (1921) and Valerie French (1923), which are standalone novels, contain supernatural elements.
The standalone novel The Stolen March (1926) is a Lost World tale whose modest sf element – the Ruritanian kingdom of Etchechuria, between Spain and France, is hidden by compass-jamming magnetic mountains – soon devolves into Fantasy as the place turns out to be a kind of comic fairyland that echoes children's books – in particular the verbal whimsy and logic-chopping of Lewis Carroll's Alice tales – with the traditional panoply of magic devices, including Invisibility, Transmutation of base metals into gold, and unwelcome metamorphoses for those who break the highly arbitrary rules. [JC/DRL]
Cecil William Mercer
born Upper Walmer, Kent: 7 August 1885
died Umtali, Southern Rhodesia: 5 March 1960
works (highly selected)
- Anthony Lyveden (London: Ward, Lock, 1921) [hb/]
- Valerie French (London: Ward, Lock, 1923) [hb/]
- The Stolen March (London: Ward, Lock, 1926) [hb/]
collections and stories
- The Courts of Idleness (London: Ward, Lock, 1920) [coll of linked stories: some in the Berry sequence: hb/]
- And Berry Came Too (London: Ward, Lock, 1936) [coll: see ESP: Berry: hb/]
about the author
- Richard Usborne. Clubland Heroes: A Nostalgic Study of Some Recurrent Characters in the Romantic Fiction of Dornford Yates, John Buchan and Sapper (London: Constable Publishers, 1953) [nonfiction: hb/Alma K Lee]
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