Laurence Meynell, born 1899, was incredibly prolific.
This bibliography only includes the mystery fiction titles. Thee are at
least as many again but of a non-criminous nature. His main series
characters areGeorge Stanhope Berkeley and Hooky Hefferman.
A Brief Appraisal
Laurence Meynell, a prolific writer in many fields of fiction and non-fiction, may be said to have emerged properly as a crime writer only late in his career with ,4 View from the Terrace (1972). In the years since he has produced a regular flow of books which may be divided into two distinct sorts. There are the books that have no running hero but generally have some somewhat outre circumstance as their mainspring, and there is the series of charming and salty books that feature "Hooky" Hefferman, a
character so well conceived that he lifts the works in which he appears into a class of their own.
It is in these books that the typical Meynell tone of voice, which shows intermittently elsewhere when it is appropriate, comes into its own. Hooky is a man of the bars, and the Meynell voice is a voice heard in bars. But it must be understood what "a man of the bars" is. He is not a bar-fly, someone who can scarcely leave a bar. who cadges drinks and company. He is not, by a long chalk, a drunk. Though he likes drink and is somewhat of a connoisseur of it—Hooky usually drinks a Pimm's No. 1 himself—it is not for the drink alone that he finds bars attractive. It is for the conversation, that special brand of conversation confined to bars. Conversation in clubs and common rooms may sometimes be as worldly and sometimes more witty, but bar conversation is unique.
So Hooky is most at home in the right sort of bar, and Meynell's characteristic voice is much the voice of bartalk. salty, man-of-the-world, sexy but not dirty, tolerant, with its standards. As to the time that Hooky does not spend in bars, he makes a living, rather a precarious one, as a classy private inquiry agent, having worked once on the edges of journalism