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              H.H. Munro (SAKI)

              A picture of the author H.H. Munro (SAKI)

              Hector Hugh Munro (Dec 18, 1870 - Nov 14, 1916) was a witty British author who published under the pen name SAKI or H.H. Munro. The inspiration for the pen name "Saki" is unknown, it may be based upon a character in a poem or on a South American monkey. Given Munro's intellect, wit, and mischevious nature it's possible it was based on both simultaneously. As a writer, Munro (Saki) was a master of the short story form and is often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. E.F. Benson shares his sardonic style.

              Munro was born in Akyab, Burma (now known as Myanmar) in 1870. In 1872 while she was on a trip to England, his mother Mary was charged by a cow. She suffered a miscarriage, never recovered, and died in 1872 when Munro was only two years old. After her death, the Munro children were sent from Burma back to England where they lived with their grandmother and aunts in a strict puritanical household. In his early career, Munro became a police officer in India and was posted to Burma where he contracted malaria before returning to England in 1895.

              When the war broke out, Munro refused a commission joined the British armed forces as a regular trooper where he was certain to see battle. He was killed in action by a German sniper. His last words were reported as, "Put that bloody cigarette out!" In one of those unfortunate twists of fate, the papers that Munro had left behind were destroyed by his sister Ethel, who wrote her own account of their childhood. Munro never married and may have been gay, but homosexuality was a crime in Britain during Munro's lifetime and the decorum of the times would have required him to keep that part of his life secreted away.

              H.H. Munro (SAKI), The Chronicles of ClovisMunro had a penchant for mocking the popular customs and manners of Edwardian England. He often did so by depicting characters in a setting and manner that would contrast their behavior with that of the natural world; often demonstrating that the simple and straightforward rules of nature would always trump the vanities of men. This is demonstrated gently in The Toys of Peace where parents from Edwardian England are taught a lesson that is still familiar to modern parents. He demonstrates it with striking clarity in The Interlopers and The Open Window, both of which we recommend as two of his best stories.

              Munro died in France during World War I, on November 13, 1916, by German sniper fire during the Battle of Ancre. Though he was too old to enlist at 43, he had managed to gain a post in the 22nd Battalion of the Royal Fusilliers, where he was a lance-sergeant. According to several sources, his last words were "Put that bloody cigarette out!" We feature his futuristic novel about German-occupied London, When William Came in World War I Literature.

              Readers that would like to explore the short stories of H.H. Munro (Saki) should consider starting with the following works:

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              Short Stories

              A Bread and Butter Miss
              A Defensive Diamond
              A Holiday Task
              A Matter of Sentiment
              A Touch of Realism
              A Young Turkish Catastrophe
              Bertie's Christmas Eve
              Clovis on Parental Responsibilities
              Cousin Teresa
              Cross Currents
              Down Pens
              Expecting Mrs. Pentherby
              Filboid Studge
              For the Duration of the War
              Hermann The Irascible
              Judkin of the Parcels
              Ministers of Grace
              Mrs. Packletide's Tiger
              On Approval
              Quail Seed
              Reginald at the Carlton
              Reginald at the Theatre
              Reginald in Russia
              Reginald on Besetting Sins
              Reginald on Christmas Presents
              Reginald on House-Parties
              Reginald on Tariffs
              Reginald on the Academy
              Reginald on Worries
              Reginald's Choir Treat
              Reginald's Christmas Revel
              Reginald's Drama
              Reginald's Peace Poem
              Reginald's Rubaiyat
              Shock Tactics
              Sredni Vashtar
              The Background
              The Bag
              The Baker's Dozen
              The Blind Spot
              The Blood-Feud of Toad-Water
              The Boar-Pig
              The Brogue
              The Bull
              The Byzantine Omelette
              The Chaplet
              The Cobweb
              The Cupboard of the Yesterdays
              The Disappearance of Crispina Umberleigh
              The Dreamer
              The Easter Egg
              The Elk
              The Feast of Nemesis
              The Forbidden Buzzards
              The Guests
              The Hedgehog
              The Hen
              The Hounds of Fate
              The Image of the Lost Sole
              The Innocence of Reginald
              The Interlopers
              The Jesting of Arlington Stringham
              The Lost Sanjak
              The Lull
              The Lumber Room
              The Mappined Life
              The Match-Maker
              The Mouse
              The Music on the Hill
              The Name-Day
              The Occasional Garden
              The Open Window
              The Oversight
              The Peace Offering
              The Peace of Mowsle Barton
              The Pennance
              The Phantom Luncheon
              The Philanthropist and the Happy Cat
              The Purple of the Balkan Kings
              The Quest
              The Quince Tree
              The Recessional
              The Remoulding of Groby Lington
              The Reticence of Lady Anne
              The Romancers
              The Saint and the Goblin
              The Schartz-Metterklume Method
              The Secret Sin of Septimus Brope
              The Seven Cream Jugs
              The Seventh Pullet
              The Sex That Doesn't Shop
              The Sheep
              The She-Wolf
              The Soul of Laploshka
              The Stake
              The Stalled Ox
              The Stampeding of Lady Bastable
              The Story of St. Vespaluus
              The Storyteller
              The Strategist
              The Talking-Out of Tarrington
              The Threat
              The Toys of Peace
              The Treasure-Ship
              The Unkindest Blow
              The Unrest-Cure
              The Way to the Dairy
              The Wolves of Cernogatz
              The Yarkand Manner

              Anton Chekhov
              Nathaniel Hawthorne
              Susan Glaspell
              Mark Twain
              Edgar Allan Poe
              Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
              Herman Melville
              Stephen Leacock
              Kate Chopin
              Bj?rnstjerne Bj?rnson