Sunday, January 22, 2017

After All, This is England by Robert Muller

My father left us when I was 11 and I never saw him again. One of the few things he left me was the collection of paperbacks he had bought to while away long business journeys. A couple of them had a political theme.

There was The Day the Queen Flew to Scotland for the Grouse Shooting by Arthur Wise. This told the story of a civil war between the North and South of England and may yet become relevant.

A few years ago I was a member of Leicester Writers Club alongside the former Labour MEP Mel Read.* She mentioned have read the book and I surprised myself when I was able to tell her who wrote it.

And there was After All, This is England by Robert Muller.

This told the story of how a Fascist dictator came to power here. It was closely based on the rise of Hitler and a post on The Numinous Book of Review will tell you all about the plot.

It will also tell you about the author:
Muller was an interesting writer, a German who settled in England after the war, and who doesn't really get the attention he deserves for the contribution he made to British cultural life; apart from this novel (and several others) he was very active on British television, penning several series, including Supernatural for the BBC in 1978, a rather splendid anthology of horror stories; and he made an outstanding contribution to the BBC's seminal science fiction series, Out of the Unknown, as well as ITV's Mystery and Imagination in the late 60s, writing blazing adaptations of Frankenstein and The Suicide Club, no less. 
It is a matter of regret that his name seems to have disappeared so mysteriously... to complete the sentence of the title: It couldn't possibly happen here; after all, this is England.
I feel less sure of this in 2017 than Muller's readers would have done in the 1960s.

* I had a lot of time for Mel. She told me that on the day Bill Newton-Dunn left the Conservatives to join the Liberal Democrats his former colleagues were after his blood and she let him lie low in her office.

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