Thursday 24 March 2011

Mary Scott

Mary Scott writes about New Zealand

I'm sure every one of us has a book or a series of books they loved and adored when they were young. Mine led me to New Zealand, to the outbacks in the first half of the last century. The characters were mainly farmers with no money who struggled to build a life in the middle of nowhere. Mary Scott knew what she was writing about, the characters were modelled on herself and her family and friends. She got through all the hardships of a life like that with the help of her loving husband and some wonderful friends she met out there. Who wouldn't want to meet the people and the country they live in?

Her books were translated into German (therefore I could read them all at the time) and seem to have been most popular in Germany, even more than in her own country. Anybody I met or talked to from New Zealand doesn't seem to have ever heard about these lovely little books.
Susan and Larry Series:
"Breakfast at Six" (Frühstück um Sechs. Ich und Paul und Tausend Schafe) - 1953
"Dinner Doesn’t Matter" (Mitttagessen Nebensache) - 1957
"Tea and Biscuits" (Tee und Toast) - 1961
"A Change From Mutton" (Und abends etwas Liebe) - 1964

"Turkey at Twelve" (Truthahn um Zwölf) - 1968
"Shepherd's Pie" (Geliebtes Landleben) - 1972
"Strangers for Tea" (Fremde Gäste) - 1975
"Board, but no Breakfast" (Übernachtung - Frühstück ausgeschlossen) - 1978

"Families are Fun" (Fröhliche Ferien am Meer) - 1957
"No Sad Songs" (Kopf hoch, Freddie!) - 1960
"Freddie" (Wann heiraten wir, Freddie?) - 1965
"Yours to Oblige" (Na endlich, Liebling) - 1954
"Pippa in Paradise" (Es tut sich was im Paradies) - 1955
"One of the Family" (Onkel ist der Beste) - 1958
"The White Elephant" (Zum Weißen Elefanten) - 1959
"The Long Honeymoon" (Flitterwochen) - 1963
"It's Perfectly Easy" (Es ist ja so einfach) - 1963
"What Does It Matter" (Macht nichts, Darling) - 1966
"Yes, Darling" (Ja, Liebling) - 1967
"Strictly Speaking" (Das Teehaus im Grünen) - 1969
"Haven't We Met Before?" (Hilfe, ich bin berühmt!) - 1970

"If I Don't, Who Will?" (Oh, diese Verwandtschaft!) - 1971
"First Things First" (Verlieb dich nie in einen Tierarzt) - 1973
"It Was Meant" (Zärtliche Wildnis) - 1974
"Away From It All" (Das Jahr auf dem Lande) - 1977
"Days That Have Been" (Das waren schöne Zeiten) - 1966
Books I didn't get to read:
"The Unwritten Book" 1957
Crime Novels written with Joyce West:
"Fatal Lady" (Tod auf der Koppel) (Inspector Wright #1) - 1960
"Such Nice People" (Lauter reizende Menschen) (Inspector Wright #2) - 1962
"The Mangrove Murder" (Das Geheimnis der Mangrovenbucht) (Inspector Wright #3) - 1964
"No Red Herrings" (Das Rätsel der Hibiskus-Brosche) (Inspector Wright #4) - 1964

"Who Put It There?" (Der Tote im Kofferraum) (Inspector Wright #5) - 1965 

Some information on Mary Scott, her life and her books.
The New Zealand Novel
I also found an excellent article with a lot of extra information here.

In the meantime, I have found some of her books in English and started a list here.

A list of all my reviews.


  1. they sound interesting! would love to get my hands on one - are they still in print?

    1. Unfortunately not, Carol. I would love to get them in English. I have, however, discovered that you can get them as an eBook and I am very tempted to get a reader just for that. ;)

      Happy Reading,

    2. Where did you find the e-books? I have been hunting all over for them!

    3. Good question. I had a link to that page but the page doesn't show anymore. Either the information was wrong (which I suppose because why else just give it up) or something else didn't work.

      I will definitely check further and publish it here should I find it.

      Sorry I couldn't give a better answer.

  2. Why became the Germans interested in Mary Scott?

    The reason was presumably the success of another book which also told humorously about the life of a farmer's wife in the outback (of Washington, USA): Betty Macdonald "The egg and I" (1945), which had been a roaring success in Germany from 1949 onwards (the pocket edition was published by the renowned Rowohlt Verlag).

    So German publishers saw that their was a market for humorous books about women in the outback. (Germans had been used to look at the Western world as the realm of urbanity and modernity, and much of them were glad to find a different kind of Western world who supported their own esteem for a rural and homely life.)

    1. Great explanation. I never heard about "The Egg and I" and have just googled it. Looks like it is just as much out of print as Mary Scott's books are but I will hunt a copy down. :)

      Thank you, I'm always interested in books that are new to me.


  3. I also loved those books specially Larry and Susan and read them again recently and still laughed out loud especially, breakfast at 6. I have a kindle and ipad. How do you go about getting them as an e book. Often down load from the library.

    1. I'm glad there is someone else who loved her and still loves her. She was brilliant.

      Anyway, I only saw them on some of the sites when I looked for a reference picture. But I don't have an eReader myself, prefer the real books, so I never really saved the link. I have just had a quick look but couldn't find the pages, will check again and get back to you once I come across them.

      Happy Reading,

  4. She sounds very interesting & thanks for that link you posted. My husband is originally from NZ so I will ask his mum if she knows the author.

    1. Ooooh, that's lovely. I have yet to meet a person from NZ who knows her or had even read one of her books. She was really popular in Germany, maybe because the stories take place so far away, I have no idea but she was really well-known over here at the time.

      So, yes, please, ask your mum-in-law and say hi to her.

      Happy reading!

  5. Would love to read her books . Haven't seen any in Australia. Apparently she is related to my Grandmother, Eileen Clarke nee Findlay. (From Te Awamutu New Zealand)

    1. Unfortunatley, we don't see them anywhere anymore. You can only find them used online and even that's a gamble. Maybe there are some in the family?
      Anyway, so happy you have commented here, I have always loved Mary Scott and learned so much about New Zealand through her. Well, I read a lot more about New Zealand after reading her books than I would have done otherwise, so I'm well aware of the location of Te Awamutu.

      Thanks for your comment and have a happy new year.

  6. Wow - talk about opening a door to a whole new world - JUST AS the current world is busy closing doors - Covid 19 Pandemic. (Great time to explore the world of the Web and READ even more books!) I have just found in one of my many bookshelves "Das waren Schoene Zeiten" as I sift out German-language titles for a German-speaking friend of a friend. I probably bought it in Germany in '70s. It's well-foxed", but now I will have to read it (again?) and research . My Gran was a Scott - not related to the author, and my Mum grew up in Ngaruawahia, so Pirongia was "her mountain" as the NZ Maori "locate" themselves. Now checking out the local public libraries - I belong to 2 Book Groups and can perhaps chose a MaryScott title ( in English) for our next reads. YIPEE !

  7. (any comments please to : )

    1. Thanks for your comments.

      How wonderful to have found another Mary Scott fan. "Das waren schöne Zeiten" (Days That Have Been) is not as funny as her other novels but it is a wonderful autobiography by an author I have come to love so much.

      And to get to know someone who knows the area. I have always tried to imagine her area when I was first reading her books and have looked it up on Google a couple of years ago, it was almost as going back home.

      I'd love to hear how your book club is getting on. Have fun reading one of her books.

  8. I came across the book from Mary Scott because my mother left some books at my home every time she came from Austria to spend 2 months with us here in the USA. She passed in 2004 and just now I found this book again and started to read(Geliebtes Landleben;Fröhliche Ferien am Meer;Truthan um Zwölf). Before I found this site, I already looked up the life of Mary Scott and the area she lived on maps. I would love to find more of her books, either in German or English.
    It is somewhat sad that she is hardly known in her own country.

    1. I don't know whether you will see this since you don't seem to be a blogger, at least not according to Blogspot.

      Anyway, I'm always happy when I hear from another fan of one of my favourite authors. I have been trying to find some English editions online and have been lucky from time to time. Her books are really rare, so if you like the novels, it was a great inheritance your mother gave you. Something to remind her by.

      You are more than welcome to comment on any of the books I reviewed or also here, I love to talk about her books and how times have changed etc.

      I totally agree that it is sad that she is not known in her own country. The New Zealanders I have talked to, well, most of them didn't know anything about her except for Mongrel Melodie above ^^.

      For me, her books are a treasure about a time before my time on the other side of the world. They will always be something special.

  9. I grew up on the same road as Mary wrote these books (obviously im a different generation lol) . Some of my family may even be mentioned in the stories in a round about way. As we have been in the area 120 years plus. So ive set to collecting her books. So far I've found 12 in the last week. Was great reading your right up. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks for this, anon. Such a pity I can't thank you personally. If you don't want to leave your site here, send me an e-mail. My address is in my "about" part.