'In The Time Of His Prosperity' (1996)

The Penguin Collection SUMMARY
The only known Vine short story, 'In The Time Of His Prosperity' was published as part of The Penguin Collection, a "special collection of writing by twelve acclaimed authors" issued to celebrate Penguin's 60th birthday. A miniature edition using similar artwork but containing only this story is also available; as this doesn't have an ISBN, it seems likely it was produced as a promotional item.


  • Vine's is the last story in the book (they are sorted in alphabetical order). The other contributing authors are William Boyd, Jonathan Coe, Jim Crace, Robertson Davies, Shena Mackay, Vladimir Nabokov, Will Self, Muriel Spark, Donna Tartt, William Trevor, and John Updike.

  • The fact that the only Vine short story appears in a collection celebrating Penguin's anniversary reinforces that gaining access to a second publisher was a motivation for the creation of the Vine identity, though not perhaps the primary one.

  • This story received its first US publication in the August 2005 edition of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, complete with artwork by Laurie Harden.

    Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine illustration by Laurie Harden

25 January, 1996

Although brief, this story has all the evocative atmosphere and mounting sense of dread we have come to expect from Vine. The Aztec era is not one that occurs elsewhere in her work, but the combination of sixties remembrance and a long-undiscovered diary is suggestive of both The House Of Stairs and Asta's Book. Well worth reading, if you can lay your hands on a second-hand copy.

In The Time Of His Prosperity

Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine

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