Welcome to the website of Jane Torday, author of 'Dearest Jane... My Father's Life and Letters'


Published April 2014


Dearest Jane... My Father's Life and Letters




As the eldest daughter of a prolific letter writer, Jane Torday received hundreds of letters from her father over the years. From irreverent advice and hilarious family anecdotes to moments of great poignancy, Roger Mortimer‘s missives are a touching and witty portrait of his life and relationships over the years.


Dearest Jane begins with Roger’s time as a young army officer in Egypt, and then as a POW in the Second World War, where his sense of humour endured despite the conditions. Jane accompanies her father’s letters with her own memories and anecdotes, as we meet familiar characters such as Nidnod, Lupin and Lumpy, and learn more about the extended family, friends and pets who leap from the pages of his letters.


This is an arresting and extraordinary record, not only of Roger Mortimer’s life but also of the history of an entire family between 1960 and 1991. Sparkling with the dry wit for which Mortimer’s letters are famous, and accompanied by an affectionate personal portrait, this book will delight both old and new readers.







Please support your local bookshop and order your copy from them! To buy 'Dearest Jane...' from Jane's local book shop, click here.

‘A tender, hilarious, perceptive and sometimes painfully honest account of a daughter’s love for her father, this latest addition to the Mortimer family correspondence comes from Dear Lupin’s ‘bossy elder sister’. Every family should have one.


Jane Torday, though her book depends on the wit and wisdom of letters from her Dad, is a natural writer with a strong sense of narrative drive. As a portrait of a family – mother Nidnod, father Roger, siblings Lupin and Lumpy, it is sharply observed as well as memorably affectionate.


Above all, it is Roger Mortimer who is the star of the show. His final request: ‘I don’t want a memorial service, just a quick fry up.’ Fabulous stuff.'


Elisabeth Luard

‘Jane Torday and her father are perfect companions, and this is a life in letters as never before – often hilarious, occasionally objectionable, ever engaging, original and always honest. This book is like an old-fashioned Fleet Street lunch, and you will rise from the table both light-headed and wonderfully indulged.’


Simon Garfield

'Dearest Jane is an extremely entertaining and wonderful portrait of Roger Mortimer as a soldier, racing correspondent and family man.


This collection of Roger's witty and poignant letters to his eldest daughter Jane is coupled with Jane's own elegant writing that thoughtfully explains the context of the letters, sets the scene and adds her own insight into Mortimer family life.


I thoroughly enjoyed Dearest Jane; an engaging and very funny read. Roger's forthright opinions are often humorous and his heartfelt words of wisdom are tender and moving, expressing the warmth of this father-daughter relationship. On many occasions I found myself laughing out loud at the sharp observation of the family antics we all recognise!


In one of Roger's letters to Jane from the mid 1980s he writes, "I personally think that you have a good book lurking in you somewhere provided you can add patience to your other talents and virtues". This is certainly true, Dearest Jane is testament to Roger's foresight and Jane's dedication and narrative skill.'


Claire, Cogito Books




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