Mary Killen rss

Mary Killen writes The Spectator’s Dear Mary column.

29 August 2015

Q. How do you persuade someone drunk to leave a party when it doesn’t make sense for them to stay? When the taxi arrived to take me and two friends… Read more

22 August 2015

Q. How can you tactfully tell someone that the large skin tag or blob they have grown in the centre of their forehead is disfiguring and should be removed? The… Read more

15 August 2015

Q. Is there a polite way of not letting someone hold your baby? I love giving mine to people to hold but I don’t like it when he gets handed… Read more

8 August 2015

Q. While renting in Rock last week, I ran into an acquaintance who invited me to join her large house party for supper the next night. Looking back, the group… Read more

1 August 2015

Q. I have learned that someone I much admired in youth is about to become single again. I only have the sketchiest details but am single myself and keen to… Read more

25 July 2015

Q. Travelling on a train recently I happened to notice two former acquaintances, sitting together and very nearly opposite me, neither of whom have I spoken to for several years.… Read more


18 July 2015

Q. At a recent literary festival I attended a talk with a high-profile octogenarian writer. I had already bought her book, so I obediently queued with the others lining up… Read more


11 July 2015

Q. I am anxious about a forthcoming house party to which several people in my friendship group have been invited. Our friend’s father is the host. I have met him… Read more

4 July 2015

Q. The problem encountered by R.B. of Fareham (6 June) is similar to one I wish to avoid. I have organised an informal lunch for old boys of the grammar… Read more

Image: Getty

27 June 2015

Q. My partner, a leading political commentator on a national newspaper, recently agreed to shave off his hair at the suggestion of his editor, in order to write and illustrate… Read more

20 June 2015

Q. I was at the theatre recently and bumped into a well-known Liverpudlian crooner coming out of the disabled lavatory. She said ‘Don’t worry, luv, it’s fine to use them… Read more

13 June 2015

Q. My parents brought me up to write only my name in a visitors’ book. However, following a recent long weekend in the house of a friend’s father, I was… Read more

6 June 2015

Q. What should I say the next time I run into a woman with whom I was at art school but who obviously does not want to be friends with… Read more

30 May 2015

Q. I felt uncomfortable during a dinner for 20 in a private house. The young man on my left had failed to turn to the woman on his left when… Read more

23 May 2015

Q. How can I discipline inconsiderate people who do not reply properly to wedding invitations? I am being driven demented by replies on cards from people who have scrawled, for… Read more

16 May 2015

Q. I have a friend who can be shy and inhibited. Recently, he was invited to stay on a Caribbean island by a generous and rich host, so wanted to… Read more

9 May 2015

Q. As a writer I find working at home too distracting. I am a longstanding member of the London Library where rules and conditions allow one to concentrate in perfect… Read more

2 May 2015

Q. Six months ago I invited some old friends to be my guests at a reunion dinner. We all love each other but never get round to meeting. The evening… Read more

25 April 2015

Q. I socialise in Shropshire every weekend and regularly give dinners which end at 2 a.m., but it’s a different matter in London, where I have to leave the house by… Read more

18 April 2015

Q. I have moved from London to the centre of a historic market town, now becoming famous as a foodie destination. For some reason people who would never have dreamt… Read more

11 April 2015

Q. For ten years, I have made a reasonable freelance income working from home. During this time my husband has gone out to an office to work, leaving home in… Read more

Champagne Picnic

4 April 2015

Q. Someone I was at university with but hadn’t seen much of over the ten years since invited me to come for a weekend at his country house. I went… Read more

28 March 2015

Q. When sending wedding invitations, does one put the full titles on the card, or can one just put, for example, Jane and John having addressed the envelope to Mr… Read more

21 March 2015

Q. I’m a single bloke now and for various reasons don’t foresee any change to that status. I have moved to Australia and found several convivial people of similar backgrounds… Read more

14 March 2015

Q. A wonderful and generous woman invites me, on a regular basis, to dinner parties at her house. What is an appropriate gift for an impoverished artist to take along… Read more