A Fish Dinner in Memison

'The Merry Decapitation without Trousers' one of Eddison's childhood treasures, a German wire toy which is described by Lessingham in A Fish Dinner in Memison, chapter 17

‘The Merry Decapitation without Trousers’, mentioned in ch. 17

The second novel in the Zimiamvia trilogy has two parallel narratives running through it. In pre-war England and Italy the passionate love affair of Edward Lessingham and Lady Mary Scarnside is conducted at a pace both languid and urgent. Their cat-and-mouse courtship continues into marriage and having survived the First World War they raise their children in the beautiful surroundings of Nether Wasdale, a picture of tranquil perfection – until tragedy strikes.

In the world of Zimiamvia, their love affair is mirrored by Duke Barganax’s pursuit of the Lady Fiorinda (the goddess Aphrodite in mortal guise) who toys with his affections mercilessly from the vantage point of her divinity. Meanwhile her matching deity, King Mezentius, is beset by intrigue and must use all his powers to deal with the rogue Vicar of Rerek (Horius Parry) in order to avert a threatened coup and retain his dominion over the Three Kingdoms.

The climax of the book is the fish banquet given by the Duchess Amalie in Memison at which the relationship between the two worlds becomes clear: an unexpected and shocking finale.