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A Crown of Wild Myrtle
Page Count
Word Count
Michael Joseph
Publication Year
Document Types
Radio Dramatizations
Same Sex Relationships, Greece

London: Michael Joseph, 1962; New York: Farrar, Straus & Company, 1963.

This short novel (or long novella) depicts the escape of young Ruth Forbes, from a middle-aged and possessive lesbian companion to the arms of the strong and understanding Jack Marsden. It is set in the Greek islands and contains elements of romance, suspense and violence. Midway through the work, Ruth refers to the story "Out of Nowhere into Nothing," saying "That was how I felt. That was me." The reference is to a 1921 story by Sherwood Anderson.

A four-part dramatization by David Gilman for BBC Radio was broadcast in 1998 in a production starring Sylvia Syms, Barbara Barnes and Jonathan Firth. It was directed by Adrian Bean and produced by Richard Bates, son of the author.

While most reviews were unfavourable (with John Daniel in the Spectator writing that 'as a novel about people, it smells contrivedly libidinous'), the review in Books and Bookmen states that 'this may be a slight work, but in its reading there is more pleasure than in a 100 other novels which may get more review space. One wonders why H.E. Bates is being so under-valued by Top Critics at the moment' and Eugene Lineman in Best Sellers describes the book as 'a delightful experience: exciting, humorous, full of reverence for language, nature, people.'


  • Books and Bookmen (October 1962, p. 46, attached)
  • New Statesman (October 19, 1962, p. 535, Maurice Richardson, attached)
  • Spectator (October 12, 1962, p. 565, John Daniel, attached)
  • Times Literary Supplement (October 12, 1962, p. 797, attached)
  • Best Sellers (April 1, 1963, p. 3, Eugene Linehan, attached)
  • Sunday Telegraph (October 7, 1962, p. 6, David Tylden-Wright, attached)
  • Sunday Times (September 30, 1962, p. 34, Michael Ratcliffe, attached)