Large impressive building in Paris, France.

image: Hôtel de Charost, Paris, the official residence of the British Ambassador to France. Image via Wikimedia. Photographer: Croquant.

|| 17 November 2020

Light Reading With Paris Setting

If you are in the mood for some light reading with a Paris setting, you might enjoy Nancy Mitford’s 1960 novel ‘Don’t Tell Alfred.’

The wife of the previous British Ambassador to France refuses to move out of the Ambassador’s Paris residence even after the new Ambassador and his wife arrive. She continues to behave as if she is still Madame L’Ambassadrice.

Part of the novel’s action involves the new ambassador’s wife’s struggles to get the woman to move out of the Residence. From the novel:

“At the beginning one thought it was a lark — that in a day or two she’d get tired of it,” a British official says crossly. But no. “She’s having the time of her life,” he adds, “and quite honestly I don’t see how we shall ever induce her to go.”

Don’t Tell Alfred by Nancy Mitford is available in paperback from the Penguin Random House website (where you can read an excerpt), other online vendors, or in your local library — if it is open.

Merci to NYTimes writer-at-large Sarah Lyall and researcher Susan Beachy for reminding me of this Mitford novel.

Don’t Tell Alfred by Nancy Mitford page on Penguin Random House website