Brahms and Simon were two British authors who wrote glorious comic novels together in the mid 20th century. They were complicated mixtures of public and private events, with mysteries or love stories mixed with pastiches of the literature and famous events of the period, squashed together.

No Bed for Bacon (1941) came to public attention in recent years because it was a leading source for the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love, very obvious to anyone who'd read the book but not at first acknowledged by the film-makers. A young woman called Viola disguises herself as a boy to join the players and she and Shakespeare fall in love. This book also mixes up most other dramatic, literary, and political events from around then. It carries a "Warning to scholars: This book is fundamentally unsound".

Don't, Mr Disraeli (1940), though it's the story of long rivalry between the Shuttleforth and Clutterbuck families, features just about everyone and everything from the Victorian Age; with running jokes including the pained advice that people had to keep giving to the flamboyantly dandyish Mr Disraeli, and the endless attempts to think of a name for a new railway station -- eventually named, like most other things, Victoria. The Marx Brothers make a cameo appearance.

Their first two works together were A Bullet in the Ballet (1937) and its sequel Casino for Sale, both murder mysteries set in the Stroganoff ballet company. I haven't read either of these but they're supposed to be equally funny.

Other novels include No Nightingales (1944; made into the 1947 film The Ghosts of Berkeley Square), and You Were There (1950, semi-posthumously). I think I recall reading the latter and being disappointed by it. They also wrote plays together.

S.J. Simon was a pen-name for Simon Jascha Skidelsky (1904-1948). His early death put an end to the promising collaboration. Caryl Brahms's real name was Doris Caroline Abrahams (1901-1982). Neither is so well known for work outside the partnership, but in 1963 Brahms joined Ned Sherrin and Malcolm Williamson in adapting No Bed for Bacon for the stage, one of a number of collaborations with Sherrin. She also edited a 1943 book Footnotes to the Ballet: A Book for Balletomanes. Her memoirs, published by Sherrin in 1986, are entitled Too Dirty For The Windmill.

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