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Eric Lawson Malpass (14 November 1910 – 16 October 1996) was an English novelist noted for his humorous and witty descriptions of rural family life, in particular that of his creation, the extended Pentecost family. However, Malpass also wrote historical fiction, ranging in scope from the late Middle Ages to Edwardian England. Malpass acquired his most devoted readership on the Continent, particularly in Germany, where most of his books were translated.
Born in Derby and educated at King Henry VIII School, Coventry, Malpass, while writing in his spare time, worked in a bank in Long Eaton Derbyshire. He would return home after a day's work and spend the evening writing. He was a regular contributor to Argosy, a short story magazine although it took him many years before he was first published. Many other short story magazines took his work and in 1955 he won the Observer short story competition. His first book, Beefy Jones, soon followed and then Mornings at Seven which received good reviews in the UK – but poor sales – and which then rocketed to the Best Seller List in Germany. It remained at the top of the List for three years, after which the powers that be stipulated that none one could remain there for so long in future. After his initial successes, especially with Morning's at Seven, he turned to writing full-time. (The Bank refused initially to accept his resignation, then said he would forfeit his pension and only changed its mind after very protracted discussions. Married, with one son, two granddaughters and five great grandchildren, he lived in Long Eaton, Derbyshire until five years before his death when he moved to Bishop's Waltham in Hampshire.
Tales from the Pentecost Family:
- Morning's at Seven (London: Heinemann, 1965)
- At the Height of the Moon (London: Heinemann, 1967)
- Fortinbras Has Escaped (London: Pan Books, 1970)
- The Long Long Dances (London: Corgi, 1978)
- Summer Awakening (London: Corgi, 1978)
- Evensong (1982)
- Pig-in-the-Middle (1989)
Other humorous novels:
- Beefy Jones (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1957)
- Oh My Darling Daughter (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1970)
- Familie Limmerick (1971)
The Shakespeare Trilogy:
- Part I: Sweet Will (London: Macmillan, 1973)
- Part II: The Cleopatra Boy (London: Macmillan, 1974)
- Part III: A House of Women (London: Macmillan, 1975)
Other novels with historical background:
- The Wind Brings Up the Rain (London: Heinemann, 1978)
- The Raising of Lazarus Pike (1980)
- The Lamplight and the Stars (London: Hamlyn, 1985)
- Of Human Frailty (a biographical novel of Thomas Cranmer) (London: Robert Hale, 1986)
All his novels were republished in 2001 by House of Stratus.
Malpass's books have never been filmed in his native England. Rather, it was mainly in Germany again where his success story continued on the big screen.
- Morgens um sieben ist die Welt noch in Ordnung (In the Morning at Seven the World Is Still in Order) (West Germany, 1968) — directed by Kurt Hoffmann, starring Archibald Eser (as seven-year-old Gaylord Pentecost), Gerlinde Locker, Werner Hinz, Agnes Windeck and Diana Körner; music by James Last; based on Morning's at Seven
- Wenn süß das Mondlicht auf den Hügeln schläft (When Sweet Moonlight Is Sleeping in the Hills) (West Germany, 1969) — a sequel to the 1968 movie; directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner, with more or less the same cast; based on At the Height of the Moon
- Als Mutter streikte (When Mother Went on Strike) (West Germany, 1974) — directed by Eberhard Schröder, starring Johanna Matz, Gila von Weitershausen, Gaby Dohm and Elisabeth Flickenschildt; based on Oh My Darling Daughter
- Mon ami Gaylord (France, 1979) — a six-part mini-series directed by Pierre Goutas, also based on Morning's at Seven.