Ivy Compton-Burnett (pronounced 'Cumpton-Burnit', 5 June 1884 – 27 August 1969) was an English novelist (published in the original hardbacks as 'I. Compton-Burnett'). Her work is propelled by almost perpetual dialogue, and concentrates on family (and sometimes school) life in roughly the Edwardian era. Many of her novels turn on unexpected crimes or misdemeanours that are uncovered, such as illegitimacy and even murder, though her books have no detectives.
There is also a pronounced upstairs-downstairs angle, with powerful butlers and cooks lording it over maids and servant boys; and impoverished governesses. This reflects the world of Ivy's youth in Hove, to the west of Brighton, on the southern English coast.