Peking Picnic. A Novel - Anne Bridge (Pseud. Mary Ann Dolling (Sanders) O'Malley, aka Cottie Sanders). 1932 - Chatto & Windus, London - First Edition ‘Almost unmixed delight.... Exciting and illuminating and deserves comparison with 'A Passage to India'. – LP Hartley.

‘Laura Leroy inhabits the two realms of her Oxford past and Peking present. Into her current world of exotic beauty and brutality comes Vinstead, a professor from Cambridge and a reminder of all she has left behind. A picnic party leaves for the hills near Peking, and tensions rise as Laura cautiously responds to Vinstead's attraction and their fragile world comes under threat’ - intro to a later edition.
  Mary Ann Dolling (Sanders) O'Malley, aka Cottie Sanders (1889-1974) was the wife of an English diplomat. In 1900, her parents took her and their other children on a visit abroad to Paris and Switzerland and Cottie, "born with an inexplicable craving for heights," was enchanted by the Alps and became interested in mountain climbing. Cottie passed the entrance exams to enter Oxford University, but did not attend, instead staying home to help her mother recover from the death of a son. She lamented missing ‘the mental discipline and the serious scholarship a University can give’. Intellectually, she described herself as ‘half-baked’. Cottie became the youngest member of the Alpine Club at the age of 19, with sixteen first-class ascents to her credit, and in 1909, she met mountain climber George Mallory in Zermatt, Switzerland. The two became close friends and mountain climbing partners. Cottie shared Mallory's "mystical love of the mountains." The relationship between the two is elusive. She was a ‘climbing friend’ or a ‘casual sweetheart’. When Mallory died on Mount Everest in 1924, Cottie wrote a memoir of him. Her memoir was never published, but it provided much of the material used by later biographers such as David Pye and David Robertson and a novel Everest Dream.

In 1925 Cottie and her children accompanied her husband, Owen St. Clair O'Malley, abroad to a diplomatic posting in Beijing, China. She returned to England in 1927 because of a sick child and began writing to supplement the couple's income. In 1932, her first, and best known novel, Peking Picnic, was published under her pseudonym of Ann Bridge. It was a success and won the Atlantic Monthly prize of $10,000.


References: Bridge,
A Family of Two Worlds 1955. Neff, Everest Dream 2006.
8vo. pp. [8] 328.
  Condition: Very good, minor rubbing to corners, short closed tears to head of spine, toning to endpapers, small signature to front free endpaper, light scattered foxing, faint circular marks to panels..   Ref: 106206   Price: HK$ 2,500