It started innocently: a friend recommended Davies so I began with his first trilogy. Now I'm an addict, first gobbling up his fiction and then moving on to his non-fiction. The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks is Davies second or third publication of a collection of very short -- mostly one paragraph -- musings of his alter ego, the eccentric, out-spoken, crypto-curmudgeion, Samuel Marchbanks. These were first published individually as regular additions to the paper Davies edited in the '40s and '50s. This edition contains additional notes by Davies that explain references to people or events that may be unknown to younger generations. Davies' notes are often sly.
Marchbanks is definitely not for everyone. If you haven't read enough Davies before you attempt this collection, you might very well stop reading in disgust at some of the silly items, or perhaps misunderstand the intent of the items. For example, some of them suggest that Davies has been annoyed by some human stupidity and chooses an oblique way of showing his disgust by having Marchbanks exaggerate a similar situation. Only a complete faith in Davies kept me reading beyond the first few pages. (So very glad I did!)
Throughout the book character-types are introduced as letter-writers to Marchbanks; these characters reappear at intervals, building a continuing story of their foibles. Marchbanks, too, writes letters, mostly to his lawyers or government officials. E.g., Davies resentment of Canadian taxes is illustrated through Marchbanks' letters to "Haubergeon Hydra", Davies representative civil servant.
Throughout the collection you'll find sarcasm, whimsey, cynicism, thinly-disguised anger and pure nonsense (viz., Chief Thunderbelly, the indigent Caucasian who passes himself off as a native American). Perhaps one has to be a bit of a cynic to enjoy Marchbanks; it certainly isn't a good introductory book to Davies. As for me, I've been wallowing in the book.