Mary Killen

Mary Killen writes The Spectator's Dear Mary column.

Dear Mary: is it OK to drop by to see a friend’s garden during the pandemic?

6 June 2020 9:00 am

Q. I own a small, somewhat shabby and antiquated but well-located flat in central London which I have been happy…

Dear Mary: What is the etiquette about watching graphic sex scenes as a family?

30 May 2020 9:00 am

Q. Please can you tell me the correct etiquette about signing the visitors book after you are married? Obviously you…

Dear Mary: What Zoom background will impress my boss?

23 May 2020 9:00 am

Q. My goddaughter was getting married in July but due to Covid-19 this has been postponed. I had already chosen…

Dear Mary: Why don’t my neighbours appreciate my 8 p.m. Thursday firework?

16 May 2020 9:00 am

Q. For me the hallmark of a really close friend is someone with whom you feel comfortable enough to bring…

Dear Mary: What do I say to the neighbour who comments on my daily exercise?

9 May 2020 9:00 am

Q To your correspondent with a guest whose table manners offend (2 May), you suggest screening him off with a…

Dear Mary: How do I handle my lockdown guest’s lack of table manners?

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Q. I am being driven to distraction by a touchy relation who has responded to the lockdown by WhatsApping me…

Dear Mary: How can I stop my friends spreading coronavirus conspiracy theories?

25 April 2020 9:00 am

Q. Several of my friends and family members have moved on from dark thoughts concerning 9/11, the Kennedy assassination and…

Dear Mary: How do I get out of bossy chain emails?

18 April 2020 9:00 am

Q. Each day while working from home, I have at least one hour-long meeting via Zoom. One of my colleagues…

Dear Mary: How can I self-isolate without people bothering me on Zoom?

11 April 2020 9:00 am

Q. Caught in Switzerland as the ski resort shut down around my ears, and feeling like a walking health hazard,…

Dear Mary: How much should I pay my cleaner during the lockdown?

4 April 2020 9:00 am

Q. Mary, what percentage of cleaners’ normal wages should we pay them when they can’t come in for the foreseeable…

Dear Mary: Can my marriage survive my husband working from home?

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Q. Our son and his girlfriend have announced their engagement and we are delighted with his choice. Our problem is…

Dear Mary: How can I avoid being bored by my quarantine pasta diet?

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Q. We recently welcomed an 18-year-old au pair into our young family, and I’m pleased that she has settled in…

Dear Mary: How can I stop my family scoffing our coronavirus chocolate stockpile?

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Q. How can I stop a member of the household from glutting out on the chocolate supply I have stockpiled?…

Dear Mary: How can I foil a notorious place-swapper at my daughter’s wedding?

7 March 2020 9:00 am

Q. I am arranging the seating plan for my daughter’s wedding and have a problem with one of her guests…

It’s not all bad news

7 March 2020 9:00 am

Even a deadly pandemic has its positives

Dear Mary: Should I return my pod coffee maker on moral grounds?

29 February 2020 9:00 am

Q. I adore doing jigsaws and these days there’s an added bonus — by posting my progress on Instagram I…

Dear Mary: Should I tell my friend that his expensive lunch made me ill?

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

Q. I see a lot of two of our grandchildren because they live in our London house. We are centrally…

Dear Mary: What is the etiquette about kissing during the coronavirus scare?

15 February 2020 9:00 am

Q. I am having a drinks party to celebrate the publication of my latest book. I sent out invitations (to…

Dear Mary: As an actor, how do I cope with strangers who think they know me?

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

Q. I have hired a private room in a restaurant in order to give dinner to a large number of…

Brexit ruined our social lives. Can we now kiss and make up?

1 February 2020 9:00 am

Remainers’ anger has subsided, but this is an uneasy peace

Dear Mary: How can I get my friend to shave off his hideous wispy moustache?

1 February 2020 9:00 am

Q. An elderly cousin gave my husband and me a wedding present of two weeks in his villa in the…

Dear Mary: How can I stop my mother-in-law sitting on newspaper whenever she comes to my house?

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Q. When my mother-in-law visits, she puts newspaper on a dining chair before sitting down. I’m so speechless that someone…

Dear Mary: How can I stop other diners eating my chips?

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Q. My husband and I are committed Brexiteers. For many years we have regularly enjoyed friendly bridge evenings with a…

Dear Mary: How can I hang out with smokers at parties without freezing?

11 January 2020 9:00 am

Q. As a young woman I tend not to wear that much to social events in the evening, but I…

When a footman’s home is his castle

21 December 2019 9:00 am

My own love for this memoir may be all to do with snobbery and self-identification. Moreover, I’ve always thought a…