Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Book: Daddy was a German Spy and Other Scandals (May 2019)

By Brian Edwards

June 12, 2019

On Christmas Eve 1939, commercial traveler James Arthur Edwards, alias Leonard Robert Myram, alias Leonard Ronald Maham, abandoned his wife Jean and his two-year-old son Brian on the roadside seven miles from her family home near Belfast, and drove off into the night.  The boy would never see his father again.

Daddy was a German Spy, and Other Scandals covers the first 25 years of Brian’s life in Northern Ireland and documents his attempts to uncover the truth about his father.  Who was Arthur Edwards?  Was he the drunkard, philanderer, wife-beater, embezzler, bigamist, possibly even German spy of Jean’s telling, or merely a charming fantasist, adventurer and rogue?

While the search for answers to these intriguing questions lies at the heart of this book, Daddy was a German Spy is also a humorous and poignant account of growing up as the only child of a solo parent in post-war Ulster, billeted in a succession of lodgings and reliant on the not-so-tender mercies of a series of eccentric landladies.  Politics, religion and sex all find their place in a memoir that ranges from the author’s unconventional conversion to socialism to his loss of faith and his frustrated attempts to lose his virginity.

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