Seven years before Waugh published Scoop, A. A. Milne wrote his own novel of a country writer caught up in city ways - complete with a proto-Lord Copper, a spiv reviewer, a thieving agent and an assortment of other delightful literary types.
Two People is the story of a marriage between a beautiful woman who loves the high life and an unexpectedly successful writer who loves bee-keeping. It is not often read - though compared with Milne's stories of Pooh Bear almost nothing is 'often read' - and, when referred to at all, it is in relation to Milne's own marriage and the difficult family life of the genius who gave Christopher Robin his Tigger and Eeyore.
Capuchin Classics has just reissued this cautionary tale for writers and their relatives, Milne's first attempt at an adult novel, written when the pleasure of Pooh-celebrity was beginning to pall. It is charming always and chilling sometimes too.
There is also a reference I'd never seen before to the thrill of awaking to receive the first six copies of one's novel and one's first review in the TLS, drawing "attention in a kindly way to the superficial area of the book, seven and a half by five and a half".
"This was news to Reginald who had never measured it. He measured it now and found that The Times, as usual, was right. He wondered idly if there was a man in the office who did this, and nothing but this. An interesting job which brought one into contact with good literature, yet made no unfair demand on the intellect . Vaguely he sketched out in his mind an application for the post".
Such a fine satirist, that A.A.Milne.