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SFE No. 7, The Missing Will
Michael Wharton
  • Publication date: Sept 2009

SFE No. 7, The Missing Will

Michael Wharton

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Second-hand copy of early Slightly Foxed Edition. Limited Edition no. 1610 of 2000. Slightly worn corners and spine but otherwise perfect.

For nearly fifty years Michael Wharton, under the pseudonym ‘Peter Simple’, produced one of the funniest satirical columns in Fleet Street. This memoir of what he called his ‘deformative years’ is equally irresistible, absurdly amusing, yet touched with a haunting melancholy.

The Missing Will is an account of Michael’s chequered career from his birth in 1913 to the moment when he was offered a job on the Daily Telegraph. Michael Nathan was born and grew up in the West Riding of Yorkshire, on the outskirts of Bradford. His father, of German and partly Jewish ancestry, was in the wool trade: he spoke four languages, all with a Yorkshire accent, was a compulsive gambler, liked to bark out the same words or phrases with mantra-like regularity, and indulged in titanic farting competitions with Michael’s older brother. His mother, née Wharton, was a lower middle-class Yorkshire girl who could barely read or write: after the family had moved, briefly, to Harrogate, she became convinced that she was related to the Wharton family of Wharton Hall in Westmorland, and spoke in excited terms of the ‘Wharton Inheritance’ and a mysterious ‘missing will’, destined to restore the family fortunes.

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