'I believe it would have been normal for me to have paid a visit to the outgoing ambassadress. However, the said ambassadress had set up such an uninhibited wail when she knew she was to leave, proclaiming her misery to all and sundry and refusing so furiously to look on the bright side, that is was felt she might not be very nice to me'. Fanny is married to absent-minded Oxford don Alfred and content with her role as a plain, tweedy housewife with 'ghastly' clothes. But overnight her life changes when Alfred is appointed English Ambassador to Paris. In the blink of an eye, Fanny's mixing with Royalty, Rothschilds and Dior-clad wives, throwing cocktail parties and having every indiscreet remark printed in tomorrow's papers. But with the love lives of her new friends to organize, an aristocratic squatter who won't budge and the antics of her maverick sons to thwart, Fanny's far too busy to worry about the diplomatic crisis looming on the horizon…"Don't Tell Alfred" continues the hilarious stories of characters Nancy Mitford introduced in "The Pursuit of Love", "Love in a Cold Climate" and "The Blessing".
Nancy Mitford (1904-1973) was born in London, the eldest child of the second Baron Redesdale. Her childhood in a large remote country house with her five sisters and one brother is recounted in the early chapters of The Pursuit of Love (1945), which according to the author, is largely autobiographical. Apart from being taught to ride and speak French, Nancy Mitford always claimed she never received a proper education. She started writing before her marriage in 1932 in order 'to relieve the boredom of the intervals between the recreations established by the social conventions of her world' and had written four novels, including Wigs on the Green (1935), before the success of The Pursuit of Love in 1945. After the war she moved to Paris where she lived for the rest of her life. She followed The Pursuit of Love with Love in a Cold Climate (1949), The Blessing (1951) and Don't Tell Alfred (1960). She also wrote four works of biography: Madame de Pompadour, first published to great acclaim in 1954, Voltaire in Love, The Sun King and Frederick the Great. As well as being a novelist and a biographer she also translated Madame de Lafayette's classic novel, La Princesse de Cleves, into English, and edited Noblesse Oblige, a collection of essays concerned with the behaviour of the English aristocracy and the idea of 'U' and 'non-U'. Nancy Mitford was awarded the CBE in 1972. Sophie Dahl's first novel, Playing with the Grown-Ups, was published in 2007, following her bestselling illustrated novella, The Man with the Dancing Eyes. Sophie was contributing editor for Men's Vogue for three years and now works for, amongst others, British Vogue, American Vogue, Guardian, Telegraph Magazine, Spectator, The Times and writes a regular food column in Waitrose Food Illustrated. In 2009, Sophie published her first cookbook, Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights. She lives in London.