|Title:||Half a Sovereign: An Improbable Romance|
|Author:||Beith, Major General John Hay Writing under the pseudonym: Hay, Ian|
|Publisher:||Hodder and Stoughton Ltd.|
|Description:||A light-hearted account, not quite up to Mr. Hay’s best, of a love story, a yachting trip in the Mediterranean, and a ghostly adventure obviously intended to be farcical. The pains and difficulties of being amiable with one's fellow-travellers has never been more vividly revealed, and the hero’s plight provides much innocent amusement. One of the guests on the yacht insists on teaching the others Morris dances. Another is a boasting fool. One of the young girls has a chronic cold, a distressing sense of humour, and as she is a persistent fisherman is always bedraggled and laden with unpleasant bait. There are also a mischief-maker, a tiresome flirt, some bridge fiends and a host who makes everyone's life a burden with his schedules, time-tables, drills and general efficiency campaign. Apparitions and wonders are necessary to cure them of their worst traits, and to bring about an engagement between the narrator and a lovely but nebulous lady.
—The Spectator, August 20, 1926 [Suggest a different description.]
Author Bio for Beith, Major General John Hay
Major General John Hay Beith, CBE (17 April 1876—22 September 1952), was a British schoolmaster and soldier, but he is best remembered as a novelist, playwright, essayist and historian who wrote under the pen name Ian Hay.
After reading Classics at Cambridge, Beith became a schoolmaster. In 1907 he published a novel, Pip; its success and that of several more novels enabled him to give up teaching in 1912 to be a full-time author. During the First World War, Beith served as an officer in the army in France. His good-humoured account of army life, The First Hundred Thousand, published in 1915, was a best-seller. On the strength of this, he was sent to work in the information section of the British War Mission in Washington, D.C.
After the war Beith's novels did not achieve the popularity of his earlier work, but he made a considerable career as a dramatist, writing light comedies, often in collaboration with other authors including P. G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton. During the Second World War Beith served as Director of Public Relations at the War Office, retiring in 1941 shortly before his 65th birthday.
Among Beith's later works were several war histories, which were not as well received as his comic fiction and plays. His one serious play, Hattie Stowe (1947), was politely reviewed but had a short run. In the same year he co-wrote a comedy, Off the Record, which ran for more than 700 performances.
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