Back in July 2014, Bookmen discussed Janette Jenkin's Firefly, a fictional account of Noel Coward's last years in Jamaica. The book didn't end especially happily, though the island setting dovetails with Our Caribbean, the Thomas Glave anthology we'll be starting this Wednesday. Sadly, if a column in the May 7 London Spectator is true, the real Firefly is suffering a sad fate as well. Says the usually sprightly Petronella Wyatt:
Coward's Jamaican home, Firefly, is almost derelict now. Weeds grow in the rooms and the walls are discolored with damp. Coward's piano is missing three keys. A dining room table is laid out with cracked crockery, as it was when Princess Margaret came for lunch. Coward died here a disappointed man. It was strange that he was only knighted four years before his death, given his propaganda and intelligence work during the second world war. The Queen Mother spoke of it to me once: "I loved 'The Master.' Winston liked him, too. It was Philip who was always against. He had a thing about the more flamboyant sort of queer."
Don't shoot the messenger!