LibLink: Steven Fielding on Scott Egerton, “gentleman, Liberal MP… and detective”

Over at his personal blog, Steven Fielding, Professor of Political History at the University of Nottingham, takes a look at the work of Lucy Beatrice Malleson who, under the nom de plume Anthony Gilbert, wrote 10 books featuring the gentleman detective — and Liberal MP — Scott Egerton. Here’s an excerpt:

Malleson’s Egerton stories follow a clear pattern in that he usually intervenes on behalf of someone falsely accused of murder and proves their innocence by finding the real villain. … If Egerton closely follows the model of the amateur upper-class detective, one best exemplified by Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey who first appeared in 1923, his political background makes him exceptional. Egerton’s career however rarely intrudes into the plot, although occasionally he has to catch up on correspondence, attend a Commons debate, meet constituents or dash off to solve a local political crisis. The son of a well-known ‘reformer’ Egerton is initially a Conservative but by the end of The Tragedy at Freyne (1927) his first outing, Egerton has followed his conscience and become Liberal MP for a Yorkshire constituency.

If scrupulously conscientious – Egerton’s political work sometimes involves him rising at 4am – his political views remain vague, although he is not an especially radical Liberal. Thus, Egerton backs a scheme to help struggling farmers in his constituency, ‘not by Government subsidy which is infernally dangerous, but by the goodwill of other industries’ such as iron and coal. Like all good Liberals he also favours free trade. Yet, however important is his political career, Egerton does not allow it to ever harm his relationship with wife Rosemary, the pursuit of whom once put his political future in jeopardy. Egerton is therefore an exemplary politician; indeed one character declares: ‘He’s the type that’s cut out for leadership’.

You can read Professor Fielding’s post in full here. And LDV readers may be interested in his forthcoming book, Representing Politics: Britain’s Political Culture on Screen, Stage and Page Since 1900, due to be published by Bloomsbury Press in 2013.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from May 2007 to Jan 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in LibLink.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/28084 for Twitter and emails.
Advert

One Comment

  • Andrew Garve had a protagonist in one of his detective stories (I can’t remember which one) who was or had been a Liberal MP, set at a time too when there weren’t very many of them! Garve’s father was briefly a Labour MP.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJonathan Brown 3rd Aug - 11:32pm
    Good article Siobhan. Although we do suffer from a lack of people putting themselves forward for selection I think we also suffer from an innate...
  • User AvatarA Social Liberal 3rd Aug - 11:30pm
    To those who witter on about asylum seekers claiming in the first safe country - are they willing to go to the country the asylum...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 3rd Aug - 11:28pm
    Richard Underhill I was not a conference delegate at the time of the special conference and therefore did not attend. I did not attend either....
  • User AvatarSteve 3rd Aug - 11:21pm
    Perhaps I should join UKIP. At least there's an honesty and consistency about their arguments. However, I don't actually believe what I said about Eastern...
  • User AvatarTim13 3rd Aug - 11:20pm
    Alistair - I absolutely agree with you. I think it is appalling that so many party members are going along with this pretty illiberal politicised...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 3rd Aug - 11:18pm
    Stephen Hesketh LDV have a responsibility to let this be the last in the long line of history-rewriting claptrap. I disagree. I think it will...