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Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Fangs of Suet Pudding

The Fangs of Suet Pudding by Adams Farr (Gerald G. Swan, 1944)
In the heart of France, May 1940...Loreley Vance is suddenly awakened from her sleep by the enrtry into her room of, so she thought, a burglar. It may be that because he happened to be English, handsome, young and appealing, that she allowed him to hide under her bed, but whatever the reason it began the series of strange and startling events that brought her into the orbit of "Suet Pudding Face" Carl Vispoering, the master Nazi Spy, whose tentacles had spread over a small band of English folk who dared to oppose his machinations. (Publisher's description)

... But Suet Pudding's fat, sunken-eyed egotism was not yet satisfied. If he had a whip I knew he would have cracked it. Instead he clicked his heels smartly to attention. And, for the first time that night, I smelt the stench of crushed violets...
I found the above pic and description of an old Gerald G. Swan hardback novel here following an enquiry from Al Hubin asking if anyone knew anything about the author. Well, the short answer in "No." The longer answer follows...

The family name Adams Farr seems to exist around the Southwark/Spitalfields area. George Adams Farr married Anne Hawkings on 10 November 1827 at St. Saviour, Southwark. George was the father of George Adams Farr who was born on 17 May 1828 but died aged 7 weeks and was buried at Southwark on 3 August 1828. A number of children appear to have subsequently survived, including

Laura Ann Farr (baptized 18 November 1829 at Spitalfields, Christ Church, Stepney)
__married William Palin Clirehugh, 14 June 1856
Maria Louisa Farr (baptized 10 September 1834 at Spitalfields, Christ Church, Stepney)
__married August Trangott Katsch, 29 Aug. 1863
Caroline Sarah Farr (baptized 10 September 1834 at Spitalfields, Christ Church, Stepney)
Georgiana Adams Farr (born c.1835; died 1838, aged 3)
George Thomas Farr (baptized 5 January 1840 at All Saints, Stepney)
__married Alice Hester Smith, 20 July 1865
Arthur Edmund Farr (born 1839; baptized 5 January 1840 at All Saints, Stepney; died 1849)
Emma Eliza Adams Farr (no baptism record found)
__married Sydney Seamer, 25 Sept. 1867

George senior (c.1804-3 November 1867) was an attorney's clerk and later solicitor. His son, born circa 1836/37, married in 1865 and had four children before his early death on 3 July 1877, aged 40.

George John Adams Farr (b. 16 April 1866; d. 1912, aged 44)
__married (Partridge or Radwell) 1901
Alice Mary Adams Farr (baptized 26 Feb.1868)
__married (Hart or Barnett) 1898
Arthur Edward Adams Farr (b. 4 January 1870; d. 1949, aged 79)
__married Adele Franklin Newman, 10 Sept. 1898
Annie Constance Adams Farr (b. August 1875)
__married Stephen Cardwell, 1900

Both George and Arthur, were listed as clerks in the 1901 census. Arthur had two daughters, Phyllis Adele Farr (b.1899) and Muriel Kathleen (b. 1901). Unfortunately, I don't have access to the 1911 census, although I can see that Arthur was resident in Croydon. I also know he had at least two other children, Sybil Enid Farr (b.1903) and Gwenyth Mary Farr (b. 1905).

And that's where I get stuck... did George John Adams Farr have any children? Did Arthur Edward Adams Farr have more children? Or was Arthur himself the author? He'd have been in his seventies, which makes it seem unlikely for a first time novelist, but you never know.

Now, there seems to be a second thread of people named Adams Farr...

Edgar Williams Adams Farr (a mercantile clerk) and his wife Elizabeth Farr (nee Biggenden), who had married in 1865, lived in South Hornsey / Lower Sydenham and had at least the following children:

Ethel Farr (baptized 13 May 1868)
Edgar Williams Adams Farr (b. 1870; died 1943, aged 73)
__married Emily Jane Savill, 26 December 1895
Horace John Adams Farr (b. Sydenham, 1872; baptized 29 May 1872; died 1944, aged 72)
__married (Winifred Harriet Lyttel or Beatrice Mary Wood) in Epsom, 1899
Stanley Adams Farr (b. Lewisham, 1874; died 1968, aged 94, worked on the stock exchange)
__married Mabel Kathleen Wood in Croydon in 1906.
 Constance Farr (b. Tottenham, c.1883)

So we have three or more potentials here: Edgar would at first appear unlikely (he died 1943, the book came out in 1944) but Swan is known to have held onto manuscripts for years; then there are brothers Horace and Stanley, but both around the age of 70 at the time.

Which makes me wonder whether the Adams Farr name was carried on to their children, as all three were married, and whether one of those children is the author of The Fangs of Suet Pudding.

We may be at a slight dead end at the moment, but these things have a way of resolving themselves.

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