Mary Killen

Mary Killen writes The Spectator's Dear Mary column.

Dear Mary: What should I do when my dinner guests dive for their iPads?

11 January 2014 9:00 am

Q. We had our son’s fiancée and her family to stay recently. After dinner, expecting conversation, we were shocked to…

Dear Mary: Lunch vs the novel

4 January 2014 9:00 am

Q. I travel internationally two or three times per month for work, often with one or two colleagues. While the…

Dear Mary solves problems for Sir Les Patterson, Rachel Johnson, Rory Stewart and more

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Once again Mary has invited some of her favourite figures in the public eye to submit personal queries for her…

Dear Mary: How appropriate is it to send a Christmas card with the word 'merry' to a widow? 

7 December 2013 9:00 am

Q. Six years ago a rather glamorous man bought the house opposite me. Although he always responds to requests for…

Dear Mary: How can I tell my mother-in-law she's being mean?

30 November 2013 9:00 am

Q. My egregious mother-in-law turns 80 this December. She is not short of a bob but for one of my…

Dear Mary: How to enlist people with field marshal experience to deal with bossy party hostesses

23 November 2013 9:00 am

Q. A friend generously hosts an annual Christmas party in London where we see many old friends we have been…

Dear Mary: How can I be ready when Cupid strikes?

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Q. Walking at a local beauty spot the other day, I passed a handsome young man. We exchanged a few…

Mary Killen: Sandi Toksvig is wrong about the placement of the pudding fork

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Sandi Toksvig, as this book’s cover declares, ‘makes Stephen Fry look like a layabout’. The broadcaster, author, comedian, actress and…

Dear Mary: How do I empty a chamberpot without my hosts noticing?

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Q. One of our daughter’s godmothers has given very generous presents but never with any regularity. She was unable to…

Dear Mary: Should I thrust my backside at other people in the theatre?

2 November 2013 9:00 am

Q. I am no interior decorator, but we have a couple of rather subtle paint colours in the house that…

Dear Mary — The e-cigarette party is the new Tupperware party

26 October 2013 9:00 am

Q. One of my oldest and best friends, who has lived up north for years, begged me to let her…

Dear Mary: What do I do when the pizzas arrive at the opening of my art show?

19 October 2013 9:00 am

Q. I spent a week in a house party abroad, with an elderly and extremely polite friend of mine and…

Dear Mary

12 October 2013 9:00 am

Q. Is it acceptable to deal with time-critical online business while attending church? Some matters just won’t wait — Glastonbury tickets…

Dear Mary: How can I make a surgeon give me my book back?

5 October 2013 9:00 am

Q. Towards the end of last year, I began three months of treatment for a knee replacement. During one consultation…

How can I be a member of the Chipping Norton set?

28 September 2013 9:00 am

Q. I am working on becoming a member of the Chipping Norton set. Should I be pronouncing the excellent open-air…

Dear Mary: How can I make my host pour me a drink?

21 September 2013 9:00 am

Q. Some years ago, on holiday in Egypt, we found ourselves in the company of a couple who wanted to…

Dear Mary: The rules of wearing a dressing gown

14 September 2013 9:00 am

Q. What to do when you are an unwilling eavesdropper in a train carriage in which people you know assume…

Dear Mary

7 September 2013 9:00 am

Q. In response to correspondence re. wedding gifts: there is no need for a couple to have a list at…

Dear Mary: How can I stop this bore reading his novel aloud?

31 August 2013 9:00 am

Q. Is there a polite way of halting a wannabe novelist from reading his oeuvre aloud to an unwilling audience?…

Dear Mary

24 August 2013 9:00 am

Q. My boyfriend, an artist, is driving himself and others mad by his inability to keep track of his mobile.…

Dear Mary: How will I know if he really loves me?

17 August 2013 9:00 am

Q. To ask for money in lieu of a wedding present (Dear Mary, 3 August) is ghastly, but an established…

Dear Mary: How can I tell her that her table manners are disgusting?

10 August 2013 9:00 am

Q. My mainly male colleagues and I were happy to learn that an attractive young woman would be joining the…

Dear Mary

3 August 2013 9:00 am

Q. I very recently attended my son’s black-tie leavers’ ball at his school on one of the hottest evenings of…

Dear Mary: What must I do to reclaim the best poolside chair?

27 July 2013 9:00 am

Q. I know this seems petty but last year, on our villa holiday, my brother-in-law always took the best chair…

Dear Mary: Why it's fine to crash funerals

20 July 2013 9:00 am

Q. Regarding the writing of ‘no presents’ on an invitation (Dear Mary, 6 July), my own experience is that many…