C. P. Snow: A Coat of Varnish

(1540 words)

A Coat of Varnish (1979) was C. P. Snow’s seventeenth and last novel and it has a detective story element which echoes his first, Death Under Sail (1932). This time, however, the murder takes place, not on a yacht on the Norfolk Broads as it did in Death Under Sail, but in one of those privileged enclaves in which Snow took particular interest in his fiction and his life. In his previous novels, the enclaves were either formed by social and political dissidents, as in George Passant (1940) and The Malcontents (1972), or by institutions – a Cambridge college in The Masters (1951) and The Affair (1960), the House of Lords in In Their Wisdom (1974). In A C…

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Tredell, Nicolas. "A Coat of Varnish". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 October 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=19414, accessed 30 November 2015.]