Ephraim Hardcastle, a gossip columnist for the Daily Mail, has identified Evelyn Waugh as a possible model for the villain in his daughter-in-law’s new thriller. Hardcastle writes in the paper’s 25 November edition about the latest novel (A Long Hot Unholy Summer) of Lady Teresa Waugh, widow of Auberon Waugh, in which there is
a male villain with ‘a troubled past and twisted sexual nature’… Some will suspect the character is modelled on Evelyn Waugh, who had a troubled past and complicated sexual history.
The novel will not be published until next Monday, 1 December.
Hardcastle’s connection between the “male villain” and Evelyn Waugh apparently was made without the benefit of his having read any more than the publisher’s blurb, from which he quotes. It seems unlikely that there could be any reasonably justifiable connection to be made to a character who, so far as appears from that blurb, may be suspected as an online sexual predator of young girls–hardly the sort of “complicated sexual history” one would associate with Evelyn Waugh. If there were a basis for Waugh as a character model in another writer’s novel, that would not be his first such appearance. There are characters in novels by Henry Williamson (Anthony Cruft in The Power of the Dead) and Ferdinand Mount (a WWII book-writing Army officer called “Wigg or Wogg,” in The Man Who Rode Ampersand) that are obvious ringers for Waugh.