Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Memento Mori by Muriel Spark

Lovereading view...

'One of the many delights of a Muriel Spark novel is the way in which the ground shifts so delicately under the reader’s feet. In an interview to mark the publication of the book in 1959, Spark said: ‘The prospect of death is what gives life the whole of its piquancy. Life would be so much more pointless if there were no feeling that it must end.’… A novel about ageing and dying might be rather bleak, but Momento Mori sparkles with a constant, satisfying humour. There is a farcical funeral, the internecine fighting of the literati is recognisable and hilarious, and the black humour as dark as it comes…' From the introduction by Zoe Strachan

This is one novel in the absolutely glorious, must-have, complete collection of all 22 novels by Muriel Spark. This series is a wonderful way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Muriel Spark’s birth. Edited by Alan Taylor, author of ‘Appointment In Arezzo, A Friendship with Muriel Spark’, each perfectly sized and beautiful hardback book is introduced by a leading writer. Each introduction, while individually touching on thoughts and feelings, mentions the originality, the wit and humour, the cleverness of the writing. Whether an existing fan, or new to her works, this collection from one of our greatest writers, beckons, and quite simply, just asks to be read and re-read. ~

If you like Muriel Spark you might also like to read books by William Trevor, Shena Mackay and Iris Murdoch.

Win Books from the Manon Bradshaw Thriller Series!

Persons Unknown, the second book in Susie Steiner's crime thriller series, is now out in paperback and to mark the publication we are giving away paperback copies of both Missing, Presumed and Persons Unknown to THREE lucky winners!

To have a chance of winning one of these fantastic prizes, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 30 April 2018. The winners will be notified by 14 May 2018,

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 30/04/2018


Memento Mori by Muriel Spark

Described by David Lodge as `her first masterpiece', Memento Mori opens with a telephone call and the words `Remember you must die'. Over several months, a circle of elderly men and women receive similar calls and everyone becomes a suspect. As the investigating police inspector muses: `Death, when it approaches, ought not to take one by surprise. It should be part of the full expectancy of life. Without an ever-present sense of death, life is insipid. You might as well live on the whites of eggs.' While immersed in the indignities of old age, dementia and death, this novel is both profoundly compassionate and entertaining. The publishers acknowledge investment from Creative Scotland towards the publication of this book. Supported by the Muriel Spark Society.


"A brilliant and singularly gruesome achchievement" Evelyn Waugh

"This funny and macabre book has delighted me as much as any novel that I have read since the war" Graham Greene

"I am reading a trio of novels by Muriel Spark, a marvelously witty English writer, one of the few lady writers I like to read. Her best, I think, is Memento Mori, which is chillingly brilliant" Tennessee Williams

"There is a Waugh-like brilliance to this novel, in the easy economical narrative, the continuous invention producing a series of surprises, the well-cut dialogue, the controlled tone. This last is the most remarkable of Miss Spark's achievements. Nothing is forced, least of all the humour" V. S. Naipaul, NEW STATESMAN

Often referred to as ‘the writer’s writer’, Spark’s work has garnered acclaim around the globe:

“[Spark] has written some things that seem likely to go on being read as long as fiction in English is read at all.” – New York Times Book Review

“The greatest Scottish novelist of modern times . . . my admiration for Spark's contribution to literature knows no bounds” – Ian Rankin

“Some of [Spark's] finest fictions are novellas rather than novels, short enough to be read in a single dizzying sitting." – David Lodge

"A master of malice and mayhem" Michiko Katutani, NEW YORK TIMES

"Brilliantly original and fascinating" Evelyn Waugh

About the Author

Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark, DBE, C.Litt., was born in Edinburgh in 1918 and educated in Scotland. A poet and novelist, she also wrote children’s books, radio plays, a comedy Doctors of Philosophy, (first performed in London in 1962 and published 1963) and biographies of nineteenth-century literary figures, including Mary Shelley and Emily Brontë.

For her long career of literary achievement, which began in 1951, when she won a short-story competition in the Observer, Muriel Spark garnered international praise and many awards, which include the David Cohen Prize for Literature, the Ingersoll T.S. Eliot Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Boccaccio Prize for European Literature, the Gold Pen Award, the first Enlightenment Award and the Italia Prize for dramatic radio. She died in 2006.

Author photo © P A Archive and Press Association Images

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

2nd November 2017


Muriel Spark

More books by Muriel Spark
Author 'Like for Like'

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...


Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General


240 pages


Literary Fiction
Crime / Mystery
Thriller / Suspense
Muriel Spark 100
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Crime & mystery



Lovereading has all the new books and also suggestions for 'similar' authors whilst waiting for your favourites new books.

Carol Peace

A great place to go to find your next literary escape, and where you don't have to judge a book by its cover!

Suzanne Beney

Lovereading recommends, honestly reviews and promotes books-what more can I say?!

Rachel Bridgeman

Lovereading is not only an amazing site, but it's one of my very favourites. It's like visiting a fascinating bookstore, but better.

Rebecca Jayne Barrett

Thanks to Lovereading I have discovered new writers and read books I would never had looked twice at - and enjoyed them.

Angela Rhodes

Books of the month/debuts of the month, kids/adults, fiction/non-fiction, free prize draws and free extracts, what's not to love?

Emma Smith

It's a lively, independent website with reviews, recommendations and more - with a huge range of books available to buy in all formats.

Alison Layland

It gives a chance to read about new titles, invites comments from all kinds of readers and is run by such a nice bunch of book lovers.

Joy Bosworth