ⓘ Lower than Vermin

Lower than Vermin

ⓘ Lower than Vermin

The book deals with the history of a noble family from about the time of Victorias Diamond Jubilee until after the Second World War, much of it related by the governess, Miss Carson.


1. Background

Mercer was very much not in sympathy with the new post-war order, and having received many letters from readers asking him to write again of the old days’ he once again returned to his preferred period with this novel. He wrote to a correspondent," What we used to call the nobility and gentry of England have been so monstrously misaligned and misrepresented for so long that I felt it was only right that some author of standing should present a true picture of them and their habits and manners before it was too late".


2. Critical reception

Mercer’s autobiographer AJ Smithers acknowledged" Mercers mild obsession with the kind of people whom he ranked only a little lower than the angels.” He noted that the author’s ideas had been formed well before 1914 and they were never mitigated. By the time Mercer was thirty he" had seen a good cross-section of the gentry of England and. he preserved it like a fly in amber.”

The book was not a great success, appearing to a new generation of post-war readers to be a caricature completely divorced from present reality.


3. Bibliography

  • Usborne, Richard 1974. Clubland Heroes. London: Barrie & Jenkins. ISBN 0 214 20012 4.
  • Smithers, AJ 1982. Dornford Yates. London: Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 0 340 27547 2.