Clifford Henry Benn Kitchin (17 October 1895 – 4 April 1967) was a British novelist of the early twentieth century. The elder son of Clifford Kitchin (1860–1913), a barrister, young Kitchin attended Clifton College and Exeter College, Oxford and, like his father before him, became a barrister. He was a gifted chess player, bridge player and pianist. Kitchin led a varied and colourful life. He was born into wealth and increased his wealth through investment in the stock market. He used his wealth to take part in many different fields, including the breeding and racing of greyhounds, in which he was briefly an important figure. He was homosexual, and was living with his lover Clive Bertram Preen until Preen’s death in 1944. He was best known for his four mystery novels featuring the sleuth Malcolm Warren [Death of My Aunt (1929),Crime at Christmas (1934), Death of His Uncle (1939), and The Cornish Fox (1949)], but his other novels were also highly regarded. (Source: Wikipedia)
C.H.B. Kitchin was both a best-selling crime writer and a critically acclaimed author of literary fiction. In Birthday Party (1938), he combined the two, resulting in a novel that is both a fascinating examination of a changing English society on the eve of the Second World War and a suspenseful psychological mystery full of unexpected twists and turns. This first-ever republication includes a reproduction of the original jacket art and a new introduction by Adrian Wright.
Birthday Party has been reviewed by Martin Edwards at ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’
Twelve years ago Claude Carlice was found dead of a gunshot wound. The verdict was suicide brought on by a fit of insanity, but his sister Isabel has never believed it. Now the day approaches when Claude’s son Ronnie will come of age and take possession of Carlice Abbey. Preparations for the birthday party are underway, but it will not be a festive occasion: Ronnie, who has imbibed Marxist ideas at Oxford, intends to throw his aunt and stepmother out of the house and sign the entire estate over to the Communist Party for use as a propaganda centre. As tensions rise and the big day arrives, a strange series of events will unfold, revealing the scandalous truth behind Claude’s death and resulting in an unexpected fate for Carlice Abbey and its occupants. (Valancourt Books, 2014)
I have just downloaded Birthday Party into my Kindle. I look forward to reading it soon. Stay tuned.