Mollie Panter-Downes

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Mary Patricia "Mollie" Panter-Downes (25 August 1906 – 22 January 1997) was a novelist and columnist for The New Yorker. Aged sixteen, she wrote The Shoreless Sea which became a bestseller; eight editions were published in 1923 and 1924, and the book was serialised in The Daily Mirror. Her second novel The Chase was published in 1925.

She was born to Major Edward Martin Panter-Downes (died 1914 at Mons) and Marie Kathleen Cowley who was of Irish origin.[1] After her marriage to Clare Robinson in 1927, the couple moved to Surrey, and in 1938 Panter-Downes began writing for the New Yorker, first a series of short stories, and from September 1939, a column entitled Letter from London, which she wrote until 1984. The collected columns were later published as Letters from England (1940) and London War Notes (1972).[2]

Mollie's father E M Panter-Downes

After visiting Ootacamund, in India, she wrote about the town, known to all as Ooty, in her New Yorker columns. This material was later published as Ooty preserved.

Mollie Panter-Downes died in Compton, Surrey, aged 90.

Selected works[edit]

  • The Shoreless Sea (1923)
  • The Chase (1925)
  • My Husband Simon (1931)
  • One Fine Day (1947)
  • Minnie's Room (Short stories collected between 1947–1965)
  • Good Evening, Mrs Craven (short stories collected between 1938–1944)
  • Ooty preserved: a Victorian hill station (1967)
  • At The Pines (biography of Swinburne} (1971)

Republished by Persephone Books[edit]

  • Minnie's Room (Short stories collected between 1947–1965) Republished in 2002 by Persephone Books
  • Good Evening, Mrs Craven (short stories collected between 1938–1944) Republished in 1999 by Persephone Books

The last short story in 'Minnie's Room' called 'The Empty Place' written in 1965 has a character called Harry Potter.


  1. ^ "Major Edward Martin Panter-Downes". October 7, 2013. Retrieved August 6, 2016. 
  2. ^ Beauman, Nicola (2004). H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, ed. Downes, Mary Patricia [Mollie] Panter- (1906–1997). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 

Further reading[edit]