I quite like both the matter-of-factness and the lack of hierarchical evaluation in the police reports on the contents of 21 William Mews.

The knowledge that Michael Scott Stephen was wearing a yellow pullover when he was shot, the pointing out of an empty wineglass at the bedside and the mention of the telephone extension in the bedroom (unconnected)  are all details worthy of any period novel.

But these all pale in comparison to the information that the bedside chair was home to two, carefully positioned, rag dolls.

I don’t know why but this speaks, to me at least, of a sadness and insecurity that might possibly tell us more about Elvira than any newspaper report or doctor’s evaluation.

Ted Lewis  ” The High Hatted Tragedian of Jazz” was resident at the Kit Kat Club in 1930. Elvira would have heard this song there.

UPDATE It appears that much of the above is just sentimental tosh on my part and can safely be ignored. Jane Stevenson (see the comments below) offers a  far more likely explanation and one that fits Elvira’s lifestyle and character pretty well.

“In Grace and Favour: Memoirs of Loelia, Duchess of Westminster, p. 108, Loelia comments, ‘the girl who really got about had round her bedroom a row of dolls which she had acquired on gala nights … these trophies of the chase were very tall and decadent looking’. She mentions that they were often in Pierrot costume.” (from Jane Stevenson,

who also brought to my attention this wonderful, though, to my sensibilities, slightly unsettling, blog  Frau Wulf’s Boudoir Dolls – well worth a look. )

By the way, Edward Burra – Twentieth Century Eye  is a delight to read  and a mine of information on the artist and his circle – Barbara Ker-Seymer, Billy Chappell etc. Highly recommended.