(Unabridged: 1hr 5mins)
Saki was the pen-name of Hector Hugh Munro. One of the wittiest of all short-story writers, he was born in 1870 in Burma where his father, a Scots army officer, was stationed. He was one when the family returned to England to live in North Devon. When his mother died his father, returning to serve in India, put Hector and his brothers and sisters into the care of his own mother and two sisters. The children’s childhood with their aunts was miserable. The aunts hated each other, quarrelled fiercely, and bullied the children mentally. They saw little of other children, and Hector’s main enjoyment was drawing. After some tuition with a governess he went to school in Exmouth, and later to Bedford Grammar School.
In 1886 his father retired. A kindly man, he took the children to Normandy, to Dresden, to Prague , and to Davos, where they rode, climbed and played tennis, and Hector took lessons in pastel from a painter of birds of prey. As a young man, Hector went as a Police Official to Burma, but returned after two years, made ill by the climate. Recovering, he became a political correspondent for the ‘Morning Post’, living in the Balkans, in Warsaw, in Petersburg, and in Paris. He also began publishing the entertaining short stories that made him famous. In 1908 he settled in London, writing stories, playing bridge, and enjoying theatre and ballet.
When the Great War broke out he enlisted in the ranks. On 14th November 1916, crouching with others in a shallow muddy shell-crater before an attack on Beaumont Hamel, he was heard to shout ‘Put that bloody cigarette out’ A moment later he was shot through the head.
This volume includes four of his best loved stories;
The Man On The Hill, The Cobweb, The Interlopers and The Hounds Of Fate
Read by Patrick Barlow. Patrick has appeared on stage nationwide in such productions as Loot and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, and his many television appearances include The Growing Pains Of Adrian Mole and Victoria Wood – As Seen On TV, but he is probably best known for creating the character of Desmond Oliver Dingle, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of The National Theatre Of Brent, that amazing two-man company which has presented on stage and television such productions as Charge Of The Light Brigade, Zulu, The Messiah and The Greatest Story Ever Told.