Muriel Spark's letter to Alec Guinness, 8 July 1972.
Muriel Spark had someone in mind when she wrote the central part of Lister the butler for her 1971 novel 'Not to Disturb'.
In a letter to the actor Sir Alec Guinness, she wrote:
'Do you remember when we met in Rome that I told you I was writing a book with the principle character specially for you. It is called "Not to Disturb" and I am sending you a copy gratefully and hopefully.'
Spark mentions potential theatre and film adaptations, and while Sir Alec's reply is the model of tact, it is a polite but firm 'no'. He wrote: 'The part of Lister is a jolly good part for any actor. BUT I would be very bad casting’.