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Saturday, September 05, 2015

Olive Moore

As with a lot of Bear Alley's most investigative posts, this one begins with an e-mail from my good pal John Herrington, who begins his latest with "I know you like a puzzle and this seems to be one."

Olive Moore was the author of three novels in the early 1930s who then 'disappeared'. Her works were collected in an omnibus edition in 1992, which was reviewed thus by Publishers Weekly:
English novelist Moore is utterly absent from conventional literary history: her work has never been anthologized, her name appears in virtually no literary "companions," and the years of her birth (c. 1905) and death (c. 1970) are not known for sure. Yet this volume--comprised of three short novels, a collection of notebook entries, and a selection of essays--showcases a writer of resounding eloquence and inspiring audacity.
    The first novel, the substantially autobiographical Celestial Seraglio, tumbles through the world of a French convent for both Catholic and English Protestant girls. Relationships develop, only to be smashed as adolescent enthusiasms turn from the lives of the saints to the confessional, to cynicism, and again to piety. Spleen recounts the ponderings of Ruth, a woman who has exiled herself to an Italian Mediterranean island following the birth of her deformed son. Her vision of (specifically European) social corruption and artistic vigor is heightened on the island, and when her husband dies, she returns alone to England strangely rejuvenated, ironically triumphant. In Fugue we once again find an Englishwoman abroad, this time in Alsace: Lavinia Reade is pregnant, unmarried, and losing her man. Love, friendship and independence are juggled before the macabre conclusion falls like a shroud. In her fiction, Moore's formal ambitions have a 1920s Modernist character; one is reminded of Virginia Woolf's dense, circular narratives, and in fact both writers lived in London's Bloomsbury.
    Moore's notebooks reveal this opinionated woman's personal, almost petulant side, which can scintillate as well as aggravate. Her ringing critical insights are too abbreviated, and casual thoughts are rendered too profoundly. But for all the salt one swallows, Moore's incisiveness gleams. She felt a devout responsibility to tell more than stories, yet she is far too sophisticated to sound pedagogic. Her authority springs from a prose that is, after all, delicious, delicate and bracing.
According to various references on the internet, Olive Moore was the pseudonym of a Constance Edith Vaughan; that she was apparently born in Herefordshire in circa 1904 and married the sculptor Sava Botzaris in the 1920s is all the information generally available.

The marriage between Sava Botzaritch (which is given as a variant spelling of his name) and one Constance B. Vaughan is one of only a couple of official records easily found. John bought a copy of the certificate, which revealed that on 24 December 1924, Sava Botzaritch, sculptor, married Constance Beaumont Vaughan, aged 21, a dancing instructor, and daughter of Charles Beaumont Vaughan, deceased.

According to a passenger record for a trip the two took to New York, Sava was born in Belgrade, Serbia, in around 1897, while his wife was born in Hereford, England, about five years later — his age was given as 31, hers as 26. Both are listed under the name Botzaritch. Three years earlier, in September 1926, Anastas Sava Botzaritch, a student of fine arts and sculptor of 34 Beak Street, Regent Street, London W, officially registered the name A. B. Sava as a "change of name", reverting to a family name: his father was Cavaliere Anastras Botzartich Sava, who had been court painter to King Peter I of Serbia.

Sava was actually born in 1894 and had been an interpreter during World War I, settling in London in 1922 where he worked as a caricaturist and portrait sculptor.

Returning to the marriage certificate. In 1900 Charles Beaumont Vaughan married Leah Miriam Freedberg in Yorkshire. Again, official records seem sparse. In the probate index there is an entry for Miriam Leah Beaumont-Vaughan a.k.a. Miriam Lewes who died in Bournemouth on 10 November 1964 (born c1884 according to her death registration under Miriam Lewes). Probate is given to Miriam Constance Beaumont-Vaughan, spinster.

Apart from this and the marriage, Miriam is also tricky to find. There is an entry in the Andrews
Newspaper cards relating to the above probate, which says 'she was an ex-actress and known as Miriam Lewes", though nothing was known of her origins. Several entries in The London Stage mention appearances by Miriam Lewes in various plays in the 1920s. And there is a Miriam Lewes(-)Vaughan, actress, born c1884, on passenger lists.

Their daughter, Miriam Constance Beaumont-Vaughan, was born in Hereford, the birth registered in the 1st quarter 1901; this ties in with the death record of a Constance Beaumont Vaughan, born 25 January 1901, who died in Cuckfield, Sussex, in 1979. She appears in the 1901 census as Mirian (sic) C B Vaughan (aged I month?), listed as a visitor at the household of Richard Davies, a grocer's assistant living at 31 Church Street, Hereford. There is no sign of her parents, but an actor named Leonard Thackeray can be found living in the same building alongside other boarders and lodgers.

Olive Moore's subsequent career is almost unknown. She was described as a dancing instructor when she married in 1924. Like her mother, she may have appeared on the stage: an Olive Moore is credited in the cast of Bruce Bairnsfather's musical Carry On, Sergeant at the New Oxford Theatre in 1925.

Her writing career possibly took dominance in the late 1920s and early 1930s, by which time she was known to the literary folk who circled Charles Lahr's Progressive Bookshop in Red Lion Street, London. Known to her friends as Connie Vaughan, she worked as a journalist for the Daily Sketch and living at 87 Doughty Street, Bloomsbury. She had separated from her husband by then; Alec Bristow, who knew her in the early 1930s, was unaware that she had married, although he knew of her relationship with Sava Botzaritch.

It was during this period that she published her three novels, the first described by its author as highly autobiographical; she also had an essay (Further Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine) published, the latter by Charles Lahr as a limited edition. In 1933, Moore claimed to be working on a novel entitled Amazon and Hero: The Drama of the Greek War for Independence, which was never published. Following the 1934 publication of a collection of aphorisms from her notebooks entitled The Apple is Bitten Again, she disappeared entirely from the literary scene.

In 1941, Anastras Botzartich Sava emigrated to Venezuela, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1947. There is some evidence that the two were divorced, as she was described as a spinster in probate records following the death of her mother in 1964. Nothing else is known about her life until her death in Cuckfield, Sussex, in 1979.

So it would appear that Olive Moore was actually the pen-name of Miriam Constance Beaumont-Vaughan, later Botzartich (1901-1979), rather than of Constance Edith Vaughan, who, incidentally, does appear to exist, which is almost certainly why there has been some misidentification.

Constance Edith Vaughan (1904-1986) was born in Hereford on 3 July 1904 but she appears in the 1911 census (as Edith Vaughan) along with her extensive family of seven siblings. She was the daughter of tailor maker Thomas Vaughan and his wife Maud, and later married Thomas B. Ingram in 1924. She lived in Hereford her whole life.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Comic Cuts - 4 September 2015

As a lifetime sandwich lover it pains me to say that bread has become my enemy.

If not my enemy, then at the very least it turned against me and had a sudden, violent episode last Tuesday that lasted almost exactly twelve hours. On Monday, we'd had a huge amount of cottage pie for lunch and hadn't bothered with tea as we were both still full. After Mel went to bed, I spent a couple of hours working on my James Hadley Chase cover gallery and then went off to watch a film.

At around 12:30 in the morning I was starting to feel peckish and thought I'd make myself some toast. The immediate problem was the discovery that I only had a small nub of bread from the end of a loaf. But that was OK... I wasn't that hungry and it was large enough to put a slice of cheese on. I dropped the nub into the toaster and pushed the handle down... and it bounced straight back up.

I tried this a couple of times and couldn't get the toaster to work. Thinking it was probably a build-up of crumbs, I decided to give it a bit of a clean. Free from crumbs and with everything slotted back together I popped the bread back in, pressed the handle down... and the master fuse to the whole house blew, plunging the kitchen into darkness.

The fuse is under the stairs in a cupboard full of quite hefty boxes full of magazines. So I had to carefully and quietly ease the front boxes out of the way so that I could reach to the back where the switch is that turns the power back on.

At that point I thought I'd do better to go to bed. I never did get to eat my tiny slice of toast.

Fast forward to almost exactly twelve hours later. Around 12:30 the following afternoon I had sorted myself out some lunch: a couple of chicken sandwiches made with a freshly-bought French stick. I'll preface my first bite by saying that I'd developed a bit of wonky tooth a day or two earlier. The tooth didn't survive, breaking against the crispy, solid surface of the bread as I bit down. To add insult to injury, while I was trying to munch down again in the hope that the bread might remove a couple of sharp spikes that had been left, the bread dislodged a filling, which I promptly swallowed.

If you're reading this on Friday morning, I'm at the dentist trying to get my teeth sorted out. Having, I might add, been dumped by my former dentist because I'd managed to miss a check-up a few months ago. When the hell did that become the norm? I don't even remember booking an appointment, let alone missing it. Apparently having a 37-year unbroken run of paying my National Insurance counts for nothing. I'm guessing it's another cynical attempt to make the NHS so unrecognisable and unworkable that we won't miss it when it disappears.

To calm myself down I've been trying to sort out a load of photographs. I'm always reminded whenever the local history society put on a little show that I've wandered around Wivenhoe for the past five years carrying a camera. I take loads of photos, mostly poorly composed or poorly lit, but by dint of taking a dozen photos I might get one decent shot. What I began doing over the bank holiday was to start going through the dozens of folders to weed out some of the crappiest of the photos. I also discovered that often I had taken multiple shots from almost the same position and they could be photoshopped together to make a wider or taller shot, often better than the two, three or four individual shots.

So today, rather than random scans – and, to be honest, doing the James Hadley Chase gallery hasn't left much time for other book covers – here are some widescreen photos I've taken of Wivenhoe Quay.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to post a couple of bits of research into the lives of Olive Moore and Leslie Fox over the next few days and anything else I can rustle up over the weekend.

Monday, August 31, 2015

James Hadley Chase cover gallery

What follows is the skeleton for a gallery dedicated to British gangster writer James Hadley Chase. I have dozens of his books and have been trying to discover where he made revisions or where titles were abridged. With so many scans to do – and an equal number to attempt to clean up – I haven't a hope of completing this in the next few days. However, I will try to add to it every day during this week (so it will be worth revisiting) and then I'll continue whenever I get a chance thereafter.

Unless otherwise noted, books appeared under the name James Hadley Chase

No Orchids for Miss Blandish (London, Jarrolds, May 1939)
Jarrolds, n.d. (Aug 1940), 255pp, 1/-. Cover by Merlin *56th thousand
Corgi Books 0552-10552-8, 1977, 188pp, 60p. Cover photo
When Dave Fenner was hired to solve the Blandish kidnapping, he knew the odds on finding the girl were against him – the cops were still looking for her three months after the ransom had been paid. And the kidnappers, Riley and his gang, had disappeared into thin air. But what none of them knew was that Riley himself had been wiped out by a rival gang – and the heiress was now in the hands of Ma Grisson and her son Slim, a vicious killer who couldn't stay away from women... especially his beautiful new captive. By the time Fenner began to close in on them, some terrible things had happened to Miss Blandish.
No Orchids for Miss Blandish [1st revision] (London, Jarrolds, Oct 1942; New York, Howell Soskin, 1942)
Jarrolds 233, Jun 1951, 192pp, 2/-. *757th thousand
Jarrolds, Oct 1952, 1/6.
The story of Miss Blandish needs no introduction. Over half a million copies of the book have been sold. More than seven million people people have read it.
    In the past twenty-five years no other character in fiction has so gripped the public imagination. The B.B.C. has mentioned Miss Blandish. Many reviewers and plays have burlesqued her. Her name has become as familiar to the public as any of the greatest Hollywood stars. She has been accepted as a house-hold word.
    This edition of No Orchids for Miss Blandish is based on the play of the same title, licensed by the Lord Chamberlain, presented by George Black, and dramatized by James Hadley Chase and Robert Nesbitt, with an additional dialogue by Val Guest.
No Orchids for Miss Blandish [2nd revision] (London, Panther, 1961; New York, Avon, 1961)
Panther 1250, Jul 1961, 155pp, 2/6. Typographical cover
---- Jul 1961 [2nd imp.], 155pp, 2/6. Cover by ??. * ?re-cover of the above.
---- [3rd imp.] 1966, 155pp, 3/6. Cover photo
---- [4th imp.] 1967
Panther Books 02834-X [5th imp.] 1969, 155pp, 5/- (25p). Cover photo
---- [6th imp.] 1970
Panther Books 02834-X-2 [7th imp.] 1971, 155pp, 25p. Cover photo. *Movie tie-in.
The most controversial thriller ever written.
This is James Hadley Chase's most disturbing, powerful novel – and it is also the most shatteringly controversial thriller ever written, bar none. It has sold millions upon millions of copies all over the world, shocking and enthralling all who have read it.
    This no-punches-pulled story of an attractive wealthy girl kidnapping, held to ransom – and ultimately raped – by a viciously sadistic criminal captures the authentic ruthlessness of gangsterism in all its searing brutality. It is most definitely not a story for the squeamish.
    The present Panther edition has been re-written and revised by the author who feels the original text with its outmoded dialogue and its 1938 atmosphere would not be acceptable to the new generation of readers who may be curious to read the most controversial, the most discussed and the best known gangster story ever written.
He Won’t Need It Now (as by James L. Docherty, London, Rich & Cowan, Nov 1939; [?revised? ?as by James Hadley Chase?, Rich & Cowan, May 1943])
as by James L. Docherty (James Hadley Chase), Rich & Cowan, (Dec 1940), 192pp, 1/-. *158th thousand
Panther Books 0586-03627-X, 1975, 45p. Cover photo
---- [2nd imp.] 1977.
---- [3rd imp.] 1979, 173pp, 65p. Cover photo by Beverley Le Barrow
Duffy and his dangerous dames
Bill Duffy is a newsman, a real pro photographer. He lives hard, drinks hard and he's tough – except where women are concerned. And when he finds himself with a ravishingly beautiful woman in her apartment very late one night, it takes all his willpower to resist – willpower, and a very mangled corpse which somehow fell down the elevator shaft. And that was just the beginning.
The Dead Stay Dumb (London, Jarrolds, Jan 1940)
Jarrolds, nd (Mar 1941), 192pp, 1/-. Cover by Dolan * 140th thousand

The Dead Stay Dumb [revised] (London, Jarrolds, Jul 1943; as Kiss My Fist!, New York, Eton E-112, 1952)
Jarrolds/Arrow 293, nd (Apr 1953), 144pp, 2/-, [anon]. *275th thousand
Panther 03444-7, 1971, 157pp,, 25p. Cover photo
---- [2nd imp.] 1971; [3rd imp.] 1973; [4th imp.] 1975, 40p.
Corgi Books 0552-11096-5, (Jun) 1979, (160pp). Cover photo
Corgi Books, ??. Cover photo
Dillon was just about the roughest, meanest gunman around – a real cool killer, meanest gunman around, evil as they come. It was bad news for a lot of people the day he hit town. Bad news for Myra, the curvaceous teenage tease... for Butch Horgan, her brutal, greedy father... for Nick Gurney, the small-time operator who thought he could string along with Dillon and hit it rich... for Hurst and Little Ernie, the ace racketeers who had a whole city carved up between them. And for a whole load of other characters whose ventilated corpses were to lie in the wake of Dillon's ruthless progress...
Lady - Here’s Your Wreath (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, May 1940)
as by Raymond Marshall (James Hadley Chase), Jarrolds, May 1941, 192pp, 1/-.
as by Raymond Marshall (James Hadley Chase), Jarrolds, n.d. (Jul 1950), 128pp, 2/-. *198th thousand
as by Raymond Marshall (James Hadley Chase), Jarrolds, n.d. (c.1952), 128pp, 2/-. *248th thousand
Panther 1181, 1961.
Corgi, ?.
Over the phone, the voice was metallic. And she had offered journalist Nick Mason a hefty sum to expose a murder frame up... Mason, intrigued, had gone along to the gas chamber to see Vessi die. Before the pellets hit the acid, Vessi insisted on his innocence. His last words gave Mason the clue to some odd business going on at the respectable Mackenzie Fabric Corporation. When he was warned off his investigations by a blonde fury of a hooker and a cold-eyed gunman, Mason almost decided to forget the whole thing... but by then he'd met the irresistible Mardi, the girl from Mackenzie Fabrics who might be able to lead him to the truth...
Twelve Chinks and a Woman (London, Jarrolds, Aug 1940; New York, Howell Soskin, 1941; as 12 Chinks and a Woman, New York, Handi-Books, 1942)
(no UK paperback)
Once again James Hadley Chase achieves an epic of tough writing that easily exceeds anything that he has previously written. Here are all the ingredients that you have come to expect from him – pace, punch and ferocious realism.
    This is the story of the smuggling of Chinese aliens from Cuba to Florida. It is also the story of Glorie, that tempestuous unbridled young woman who sets Dave Fenner a fantastic puzzle which involves him in deadly gang warfare before he finally solves it.
    Make no mistake about it, Twelve Chinks and a Woman is only for the really hardened fans of the tough school of writing. There are violent moments in this book that are incredibly savage and brutal. The author depicts his underworld without hesitation. It is as close to the jungle as the wild beasts that stalk there. Glorie, who will elevate the Victorian eyebrow, is without doubt the most incredible piece of nymphomania of any of the Tough Women as yet created by Chase.
    Chase fans who look for explosive action won't be disappointed. They've got it here!
Twelve Chinks and a Woman [1st revision] (London, Jarrolds, Apr 1943; as 12 Chinks and a Woman, New York, Avon, 1948; as 12 Chinamen and a Woman [?2nd revision?] (Chicago, Novel Library 37, 1950)
as The Doll’s Bad News, Panther 0586-03375-0, 1970, 142pp, 25p (5/-). Cover photo by Andrew Cockrill
as The Doll’s Bad News, Corgi 0552-10991-6, 1979, 154pp, 75p. Cover photo (Jilly Johnson)
Big Trouble
When a curvaceous, beautiful girl walks into your office, strips, and offers you a $6,000 retainer to help her out of the trouble she's in, it's hard to refuse. Especially if you're private eye Dave Fenner, the man who busted the notorious Blandish case.
    But by the time Dave had been beated half to death and been forced to shoot his way out of a load of unhealthy situations, he realised that chivalry – even if it was paid for in hard cash – was no way to stay alive.
Miss Callaghan Comes to Grief (London, Jarrolds, Mar 1941)
(no UK paperback)
This is the story of Miss Callaghan. Not of any particular Miss Callaghan but of the hundreds of Miss Callaghans who disappear from their homes suddenly and mysteriously and are seen no more by those who knew and loved them. This is also the story of Raven, who played with clockwork trains, the leader of the White Slave Ring in East St. Louis, who was responsible for keeping to full strength the army of women for the service of men. James Hadley Chase needs no introduction now. He has established a reputation for unmitigated toughness and plain writing. Under his blunt treatment the traffic of women in America is shown to be what it is – a loathsome, corrupt stain on the pages of American history.
Miss Shumway Waves Her Wand (London, Jarrolds, Jan 1944)
Corgi Books 0552-10381-0, 65p.

Just the Way It Is (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, Mar 1944)

Blondes’ Requiem (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, Aug 1945; New York, Crown, 1946)
(no UK paperback) 

Eve (London, Jarrolds, Sep 1945)
Panther Books 2835, Mar 1962, 159pp, 2/6. Cover by Charles
---- [2nd imp.] 1965; [3rd imp.] 1965; [4th imp.] 1966; [5th imp.] 1968.
Panther Books 02835-8, [6th imp.] 1969, 159pp, 5/- (25p). Cover photo
---- [7th imp.] 1969.
Corgi Books 0552-09780-2, 1975, 223pp, 40p. Cover photo
Corgi Books 0552-10839-1, ?. Cover photo (Jilly Johnson)
Clive Thurston was a hard, ruthless Hollywood writer. But his fame and reputation rested on the work of another man – a brilliant playwright who had conveniently died. Clive thought his secret was safe – but then he met Eve. Eve was on the game. To Clive she was an enigma – bold, shy, wanton, and childlike by turn. Clive was a pushover, from the moment he saw her he was a man possessed – possessed by a woman who was beautiful to look at but lethal to love...
Make the Corpse Walk (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, Jul 1946)
Panther 1690, 1964.
Corgi Books 0552-10081-1, 1976, 214pp, 50p. Cover photo
----, [2nd imp.] 1978; [3rd imp.] 1979.
Corgi Books 0552-10842-1 [4th imp.] 1982, 214pp, 85p. Cover photo
Money buys everything... or at least that's what eccentric millionaire Kester Weidmann believed. So when his brother died, Kester figured all he had to do was buy the services of a voodoo expert and bring him back to life.
    But first he had to find a voodoo expert. And for that he employed Rollo – a small-time operator who used the Gilded Lily Club as a front. Rollo thought he had it made – it would be the con trick of the century. But he was reckoning without the interference of Celie, his smouldering Creole mistress, and Butch, the club muscle-man, who both decided that Weidmann's fortune was worth a heck of a lot more than Rollo's flabby neck...
More Deadly Than the Male (as by Ambrose Grant, London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1946 [Feb 1947])
Guild Books 470, Sep 1953, 192pp, 2/-. Cover by Sheila Sanford
Corgi Books 0552-11915-6, 1982, 238pp, 95p. Cover photo
George Fraser, a lonely, timid fellow, lived in a dream world of gangsters, gunfights and beautiful women... He began to imagine himself as the toughest gangster of them all – to bolster up his feelings of inferiority. But George boasted once too often – and to the wrong person
     From that moment, harmless George Fraser was caught up in a deadly net of intrigue and became a cat's paw for murder...
I’ll Get You for This (London, Jarrolds, 1946 [Feb 1947]; New York, Avon, 1951)
Chester Cain, gunman and gambler, arrives at Paradise Palms for a well-earned vacation. The City Administrator, E. Killeano, has other ideas and using Miss Wonderly, a blonde stray, as bait, traps Cain into a murder frame-up.
    Killeano not only misjudges his man, he also misjudges Miss Wonderly, who turns against him and teams up with Cain.
    From then on the action, punctuated by gunfire, moves like an express train with a spectacular jail-break which is probably one of the most exciting sequences James Hadley Chase has yet written.
    I'll Get You for This is Hadley Chase writing at his best with wise-cracking dialogue, non-stop action and toughness-plus-one.
No Business of Mine (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, Dec 1947)

Trusted Like the Fox (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, Apr 1948)
as by Raymond Marshall, Jarrolds, May 1953, 192pp, 1/6.Panther 1715, 1964.
Corgi Books 0552-11043-4, 85p.
Two killers wanted her – one for protection and one for prey. One of them had slain a helpless man to hide the secret of his identity. And he was quite prepared to kill the girl if she tried to double-cross him. But he'd reckoned without that terrible accident – and he was totally unprepared for the insane murderer who made death a ritual with a silver-handled knife.
The Flesh of the Orchid (London, Jarrolds, Apr 1948; New York, Pocket Books, 1972)
Panther Books, 1965.
Panther Books 0586-01810-7, 1967,
Panther Books 0586-01810-7-2, 1970, 187pp, 5/- (25p). Cover photo by Keith Inman
Carol Blandish looked like a million dollars but she was worth plenty more
    Six million, in fact. So why should the Sullivans worry if she was crazy? All they wanted was her cash. And Roy Larson, the guy the Sullivans had been hired to kill, just wanted Carol's perfectly curved young body. All in all, it seemed like Carol was one helluva wanted girl...
    In this sequel to his smash-hit world bestseller No Orchids for Miss Blandish James Hadley Chase piles thrill on thrill in a story that moves at a breath-taking pace to a climax that will grip the reader in a fist of cold steel.
You Never Know With Women (London, Jarrolds, Jan 1949; New York, Pocket Books, 1972)
Corgi Books 0552-10276-8, 1976, 190pp, 60p. Cover photo
Floyd Jackson was down on his luck; a private investigator with no licence, no money and a lot of cop trouble. So when Fatso Gorman came to him with ten crisp hundred-dollar bills and a crazy story about a sleepwalking stripper who'd stolen an antique dagger, he was more than interested – even though he knew it had to be phoney. The job – returning the dagger – looked simple enough, but Floyd reckoned there had to be more to it than that. What he hadn't figured on, though, was being made the fall guy in a murder...
The Paw in the Bottle (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, Mar 1949)
as by Raymond Marshall, Jarrolds, Apr 1952, 2/-.
Panther 1201, 1961.
Corgi Books 0552-10922-3, 65p.

You’re Lonely When You’re Dead (London, Hale, Dec 1949; New York, Duell, 1950)
Pocket Books B43, (Aug) 1951, 256pp, 1/9. Cover by Taylor
Pocket Readers Circle Series, May 1953, 2/-.
Hale, 1958, 192pp, 2/6. Cover by John Pollack

Lay Her Among the Lillies (London, Hale, Apr 1950; as Too Dangerous to be Free, New York, Duell, 1951)
Guild Books 454, (Oct) 1952, 176pp, 2/-.
Hale, (1958?), 2/6.

Mallory (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, Jul 1950)
Panther 1636, 1964.

Figure It Out for Yourself (London, Hale, Nov 1950; as The Marijuana Mob, New York, Eton E-116, 1952)
Hale, (Jun) 1953, 158pp, 2/-, [anon]
Corgi Books 0552-10716-6. Cover photo (Jilly Johnson)
Corgi Books 0552-11659-9. Cover photo
When Perelli saved Malloy's life, the private eye promised to return the favour – on the house, Grade A service... Three weeks later, Perelli was framed on a kidnap charge. The victim, Dedrick, was married to one of the richest women in the world, who'd paid half a million to get him back and wasted her money. When Malloy stared investigating, all his leads wound up dead. Dedrick was a man nobody loved, with a past nobody wanted to talk about-suddenly even his wife wanted to buy Malloy off, with the biggest fee he'd ever seen. But that left Perelli set for the gas chamber-and Malloy liked to pay his debts...
But a Short Time to Live (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, Feb 1951)
Panther 1103, Aug 1960.
Corgi Books 0552-10477-0, 65p.

In a Vain Shadow (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, Jul 1951)
Panther 1771, Jan 1965.

Strictly for Cash (London, Hale, Jul 1951; New York, Pocket Books 75737, Mar 1973)
Hale, Jun 1953, 159pp, 2/-.
Hale, 1955, 159pp, 2/-, [anon]

Why Pick On Me? (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, Nov 1951)
Panther 1178, 1961.
Corgi Books 0552-10877-4, 65p.

The Double Shuffle (London, Hale, Feb 1952; New York, Dutton, 1953)
Hale, (Jul) 1954, 160pp, 2/-, [Brabbins].
abridged, London, Panther 2257, 1967.
abridged (diff to above), as Double Shuffle, London, Corgi 10562-7, 1974.
----, [2nd imp.] 1974
Corgi 0552-10562-7 [3rd imp.] 1977, 221pp, 60p.
Why would an obscure blonde dancer who performed in a G-string – with a deadly snake for a partner – be insured for a million dollars? That was what Steve Harmas, special investigator, had to try and find out. It was supposed to be simply a publicity stunt – a trick to get Susan Gellert's name in the newspapers – but somebody stood to gain an awful lot of money if she died. And Steve was sure that whoever it was didn't intend to wait very long before collecting the compensation money...
The Fast Buck (London, Hale, Oct 1952)
Hale, Jul 1954, 2/-.

The Wary Transgressor (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, Oct 1952)
Panther 1564, 1963.
Corgi Books 0552-09876-0, 1975, 204pp, 40p. Cover photo
He met her when he was down and out – guiding tourists round the sights of Milan. She was rich, beautiful and self-assured. He was a down-at-heel drifter on the run from the police. So when she suggested having lunch with him, David couldn't believe his luck.
    But it wasn't really luck that had arranged their meeting. It was just a small part of the plan – Laura's plan – in which David stood to inherit over six thousand lire. All he had to do was help commit a murder...
I’ll Bury My Dead (London, Hale, Apr 1953; New York, Dutton, 1954)
Hale, (May) 1955, 160pp, 2/-, [anon].

The Things Men Do (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, May 1953)
Panther 1390, 1962.

This Way for a Shroud (London, Hale, Oct 1953).
Hale, (May) 1955, 160pp, 2/-, [anon].

The Sucker Punch (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Jarrolds, Feb 1954)
Panther 1473, 1963.

Tiger by the Tail (London, Hale, May 1954)
Hale, 1956, 160pp, 2/-, [anon].
Mission to Venice (London, Hale, Sep 1954)

Safer Dead (London, Hale, Nov 1954; as Dead Ringer (with Maid for Murder by Milton K. Ozaki), New York, Ace Double D-135, 1955)
Hale, 1956, 160pp, 2/-, [Pollack]
Panther 1828, Jul 1965, 190pp, 3/6. Cover photo
Corgi Books 0552-09819-1, 1975, 40p. Cover photo
Corgi Books 0552-10840-5 [2nd imp.] 1978, 204pp, 60p. Cover photo
It should have been easy to find night-club dancer Fay Benson. For she'd disappeared wearing only a bra, spangled shorts and a top hat. But after fourteen months the police still didn't know if she was dead or alive. So when Chet Sladen began his own investigations on the Benson case he didn't expect to find very much. But he did find that two people connected with Fay had been murdered, and a third was viciously stabbed to death just after divulging some vital information. Chet knew that to continue the case might be dangerous – but he didn't realise just how dangerous it was going to be...
Mission to Siena (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Hale, Jul 1955)
Panther 2049, 1966.

You’ve Got It Coming (London, Hale, Oct 1955; New York, Pocket Books, 1973; revised, London, Hale, 1975)
Hale, 1958 (Dec 1957), 192pp, 2/6, [Pollack]

There’s Always a Price Tag (London, Hale, May 1956; New York, Pocket Books, 1973)
Hale, 1958 (Dec 1957), 192pp, 2/6, [anon].
Panther Books, 1967.
Corgi Books 0552-09744-6, 1975, 237pp, 40p. Cover photo
Corgi Books 0552-10856-1, 75p.
Even for a redhead, Helen Dester was wild – she'd driven one guy to drink and made another jump out of a top floor window.
    Glyn Nash realised that to tangle with her would be dangerous. But he had no option if he wanted to get a share in the three quarters of a million dollars insurance money which Helen stood to gain if her husband died accidentally – or even if he was murdered...
You Find Him - I’ll Fix Him (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Hale, Oct 1956)
Hale, (Nov) 1959, 192pp, 2/6, [Pollack].
Panther 2048, 1966.

The Guilty Are Afraid (London, Hale, May 1957; New York, Signet, 1959)
Hale, (Nov) 1959, 192pp, 2/6, [anon].
Corgi Books 0552-10564-3, 60p.
St. Raphael was the place they called Vacation City – a millionaire's playground of exclusive clubs and pretty girls with expensive tastes. Inquiry agent, Lew Brandon, flew to the City after receiving a message from his partner that he was involved on a big case and needed help – fast. Brandon didn't realise just how fast until he arrived in St. Raphael and found Jack Sheppey dead – pierced clean through with an ice-pick. Suddenly it seemed that everyone wanted Brandon out of town. The police made it clear he wasn't welcome and an influential millionaire threatened to make his stay very unpleasant. But somewhere in Vacation City a murderer was having himself a holiday. Lew Brandon meant to find him and the mysterious blonde who was the last person to see Jack Sheppey alive...
Not Safe to be Free (London, Hale, 1958; as The Case of the Strangled Starlet, New York, Signet, 1958)
Hale, 1959, 192pp, 2/6, [Pollack].

Hit and Run (as by Raymond Marshall, London, Hale, 1958;
Hale, (Nov) 1959, 2/6.
Panther, 1967.

Shock Treatment (London, Hale, 1959; New York, Signet 1696, 1959)

The World in My Pocket (London, Hale, 1959; New York, Popular Library, 1962)
Corgi Books, 1975
Corgi Books 0552-11381-6 [2nd imp.] 1979, 222pp, 75p. Cover photo
The red-head started it all. Her name was Ginny. She was hard and bright as a diamond, and she came to Morgan's mob with the perfect scheme for a million dollar heist. It all sounded too easy... but the mob weren't affluent enough to be sceptical. And with two hundred thousand each, they'd have the world in their pockets...
What’s Better Than Money? (London, Hale, 1960; New York, Pocket Books, 1972)

Come Easy - Go Easy (London, Hale, 1960; New York, Pocket Books, 1974)

A Lotus for Miss Quon (London, Hale, 1961)
Corgi Books 0552-09743-8, 1975, 222pp, 40p. Cover photo
Corgi Books 0552-10855-3, 75p.
He found the diamonds by accident. Just one little tap and the wall had split open, revealing a million dollars worth of glittering gems – gems which Steve Jaffe had no intention of giving up. So when his houseboy threatened to run and tell the police, Jaffe had no alternative but to stop him. And that's when the second accident occurred... the accident of murder...
    Jaffe had to get out of Saigon – quick. And the only person who could help him was Nhan Lee Quon, beautiful, trusting Nhan, the woman he'd used before, but never so cruelly or so selfishly...
Just Another Sucker (London, Hale, 1961; New York, Pocket Books, 1974)

I Would Rather Stay Poor (London, Hale, 1962; New York, Pocket Books, 1974)
Corgi Books 0552-09491-9, 1974, 223pp, 35p. Cover photo
Corgi Books 0552-10678-X, 60p.
Like most bank managers, Dave Calvin had acquired an irresistible charm that he could switch on whenever he felt the necessity. Underneath it he was cold, calculating, brutal – a perfect murderer...
    For years he had waited – watching an endless stream of money pass through his hands – knowing that a risk is only worth taking if the reward was justified. And a three hundred thousand dollar payroll was justification enough – even for murder...
A Coffin from Hong Kong (London, Hale, 1962)

Tell It to the Birds (London, Hale, 1963; New York, Pocket Books, 1974)

One Bright Summer Morning (London, Hale, 1963; New York, Pocket Books, 1974)

The Soft Centre (London, Hale, 1964)
Corgi Books 0552-10677-1, 60p.

This Is for Real (London, Hale, 1965; New York, Walker, 1967)

The Way the Cookie Crumbles (London, Hale, 1965; New York, Pocket Books, 1974)
Panther Books 0586-02707-6, 1969. Cover photo
Corgi Books 0552-11356-6, 1980, 203pp, 85p. Cover photo
Ticky Edris, the mis-shapen dwarf, and Phil Agir, the handsome con-man, devise a cunning plan to rob the safest bank in the world – the impregnable Florida Safe Deposit Bank.
    Ruthlessly Edris sets the plan in motion; a junkie call-girl, Muriel Marsh, is murdered – so is her schoolgirl daughter Norena. Her father is the Vice President of the bank...
    When sexy Ira Marsh, Muriel's sister, arrives at Paradise City, Florida's crime-free, millionaires' playground, the whole plan begins to look as if it is going to work...
Cade (London, Hale, 1966; New York, Pocket Books, 1973)

You Have Yourself a Deal (London, Hale, 1966; New York, Walker, 1968)

Well Now, My Pretty-- (London, Hale, 1967; New York, Pocket Books, 1972)

Have This One on Me (London, Hale, 1967)

An Ear to the Ground (London, Hale, 1968)

Believed Violent (London, Hale, 1968)
Panther Books 0586-02961-3, 1970.
---- [xth imp.] 1979.
Corgi Books 0552-11506-1, 1980. Cover photo (Jilly Johnson?)
Corgi Books 0552-11506-1 [2nd imp.] 1985, 184pp, £1.50. Cover photo (Jilly Johnson?)
The Russians will pay $4,000,000 for the top secret formula of a revolutionary new metal... and the CIA will do anything to stop them.
    American inventor Dr Paul Forrester is the man that both sides want. For he alone can decipher the vital code. But for two years Forrester has been in a mental asylum – ever since that bloody day when he walked in on his beautiful wife and her lover...
    So pretty Nona Jacey, Forrester's former lab-assistant, becomes a helpless pawn in the power struggle to possess the scientist... for she is the key to unlocking Forrester's mind.
The Vulture is a Patient Bird (London, Hale, 1969)

The Whiff of Money (London, Hale, 1969; Pocket Books, 1972)

There’s a Hippie on the Highway (London, Hale, 1970)

Like a Hole in the Head (London, Hale, 1970)

Want to Stay Alive? (London, Hale, 1971)

An Ace up My Sleeve (London, Hale, 1971)
Corgi Books, 1973.
---- [2nd imp.] 1974
Corgi Books 0552-10561-9 [3rd imp.] 1977, 173pp, 60p. Cover photo
An Ace Up My Sleeve is a story of blackmail. It is a story of three people, all out for one thing: all determined to do anything to get it.
    It is a story of bluff and counter-bluff – a game which develops into a deadly battle of violence and extortion.
    From the moment Helga Rolfe, the elegant wife of one of the richest of tycoons, picks up a gum-chewing boy, young enough to be her son, events jump, bank and skid through a series of 180-degree turns and hair-raising gambits, racing to a climax of shattering impact – for both winners and losers...
Just a Matter of Time (London, Hale, 1972)

You’re Dead Without Money (London, Hale, 1972)

Knock, Knock! Who’s There? (London, Hale, 1973)
Corgi Books 0552-09779-9, 1975, 40p. Cover photo
---- [2nd imp.] 1977.
Corgi Books 0552-11656-4 [3rd imp.] 1980, 237pp, 95p. Cover photo
Johnny Bianda was a man with a dream – a dream which he could never afford to turn into reality. For ten years he'd been a top gunman for the Mafia, and as one of their most trusted men had collected millions of dollars on their behalf – without once stealing a cent. But then, one day, there was a record take in the Mob's safe – and Johnny had a duplicate key...
    No one steals from the Mafia and lives to enjoy the rewards. But Johnny's plan was foolproof – or at least he thought until he lost his lucky medallion on the night he robbed the safe...
Have a Change of Scene (London, Hale, 1973)
Corgi Books 0552-09648-2, 1974, 190pp, 35p. Cover photo
---- [xth imp.] 60p.
It isn't often a diamond expert from Paradise City becomes an unpaid welfare worker in a poor, industrial town like Luceville. But Larry Carr had gone there for a purely selfish reason – to help him forget the terrible tragedy which had ruined his life and his career.
    At first the dirt and dishonesty of the town appalled him, but then, slowly, he became a part of it. He found himself enjoying the violence and the terror of life in the slums. But most of all he enjoyed being the slave of red-haired Rhea Morgan – a sensual beauty whose profession was crime. Obsessed by Rhea, Larry agreed to steal a diamond necklace for her worth 1 1/2 million dollars – but he hadn't bargained on committing murder too...
Goldfish Have No Hiding Place (London, Hale, 1974)
Corgi Books 0552-10841-3, 1976.
---- [2nd imp.] 1978
---- [3rd imp.] 1982, 173pp, 95p. Cover photo
Steve Manison's magazine dealt in corruption: he attacked the rich, the powerful and the famous – and he made enemies. In a job like that, you couldn't afford to have dirty secrets of your own. With the whole town itching for you to make a slip, it was like living in a goldfish bowl. But Steve had lived clean – until his beautiful, extravagant wife was caught shoplifting, and suddenly he was up to his neck in the dirtiest secrets of all – blackmail and murder...
So What Happens to Me? (London, Hale, 1974)

Believe This, You’ll Believe Anything (London, Hale, 1975)

The Joker in the Pack (London, Hale, 1975)
Corgi Books 0552-10426-4, 1977, 174pp, 60p. Cover photo
When Harman dies, she thought, I will inherit sixty million dollars and I will be free to do just what I like. I can have any man I want... when he dies!
    Sun-soaked Nassau... Helga Rolfe, flying in to join her elderly millionaire husband, Herman, found plenty of bad news awaiting her. Crippled, suspicious Herman, guessing how she'd played around since their marriage, had decided to put a tail on her – and was proposing to write some naty-looking terms into his will...
    Herman was right, of course – Helga's weakness was for handsome, sexy men – men like Harry Jackson, who she met on the beach the day she arrived. But Harry was not quite what she thought – and because of him she found herself in a nightmare world of blackmail, voodoo, and violence...
Do Me a Favour - Drop Dead (London, Hale, 1976)
Corgi Books 0552-10574-0, £1.50.

I Hold the Four Aces (London, Hale, 1976)
Corgi Books 0552-10715-8, 1978, 173pp, 65p. Cover photo
Helga Rolfe was blonde, beautiful, and bright enough to control her own multi-million empire. But not to control her secret weakness... she was sex crazy. And former lover, Archer, knew it. He had an old score to settle with her and he needed cash. When handsome gigolo Christopher Grenville crossed his path, he'd found the way to both.
    With Archer's coaching, Chris conned Helga into wanting him badly enough to propose marriage, and when Archer faked Chris's kidnapping, she was ready to pay the huge ransom. But events took a frightening twist when the local Mafia joined the action...
My Laugh Comes Last (London, Hale, 1977)
Corgi Books 0552-10876-6, 65p.
---- [xth imp.], 95p.

Consider Yourself Dead (London, Hale, 1978)
Corgi Books 0552-11042-6, 75p.

You Must Be Kidding (London, Hale, 1979)

A Can of Worms (London, Hale, 1979)
Corgi Books 0552-11598-3, 1981, 190pp, 95p. Cover photo
Private detective Bart Anderson was hired by Russ Hamel, a millionaire author, to shadow his beautiful wife Nancy. For Hamel had been receiving poison pen letters, claiming that his wife was having an affair...
    But as Bart's investigation progressed, he discovered that he had opened up a can of worms... for Nancy is not the faithful wife her husband assumes...
You Can Say That Again (London, Hale, 1980)

Try This One for Size (London, Hale, 1980)
Corgi Books, 1981.
Corgi Books 0552-11817-6 [2nd imp.] 1988.
---- [3rd imp.] 1990, 168pp, £2.50. Cover photo
When Claue Kendrick, owner of a shadily-run art gallery in Paradise City, was approached by Ed Haddon, the King of art thieves, to find a buyer for the priceless icon of Catherine the Great, he thought his greediest dreams had come true! For Herman Radnitz, the multi-millionaire, was prepared to pay six million dollars. But there was a catch – Radnitz wanted the icon delivered to Zurich as part of the deal.
    To his joy, Kendrick learnt of a couple travelling to Europe. All he had to do was make sure that the icon was planted on them unawares... the couple in question were none other than Detective Tom Lepski and his pretty wife...
Hand Me That Fig-Leaf (London, Hale, 1981)

Have a Nice Night (London, Hale, 1982)
Corgi Books, 1983.
---- [2nd imp.] 1983.
Corgi Books 0552-12126-6, 1990, 188pp, £2.50. Cover photo
When Detective Don Lepski shot down the runaway killer on his beat in Paradise City, he unleashed a chain of events that would involve two sets of criminals and a honeymoon couple in one of the most exciting nights any of them had seen for a long time.
    Wilbur Warrenton and his beautiful, grasping wife, Maria, are on their honeymoon in the luxurious Spanish Bay Hotel when their penthouse suite is the scene of a collision between a gang of jewel thieves, intent on stealing the famous Warrenton diamonds, and a gang of ransom-hungry Cubans – all determined to get exactly what they want – at any cost...
We’ll Share a Double Funeral (London, Hale, 1982)
Corgi Books 0552-12275-0, £1.25.

Not My Thing (London, Hale, Sep 1983)
Granada 0586-06085-5, 1984, 189pp.
---- [2nd imp.] 1984.
---- [3rd imp.] 1986, 189pp, £1.95. Cover photo by Beverley Le Barrow
---- [4th imp.] 1990, 189pp, £2.75. Cover as above
Marriage, murder and mayhem...
Ruthless tycoon Sherman Jamison is determined to have an heir. He will let nothing stand in his way.
    Not only is his wife unable to provide him with a child, but as a devout Catholic she will not consent to a divorce her husband so desperately wants.
    And so Jamison decides to get rid of her. PERMANENTLY.
Hit Them Where it Hurts (London, Hale, Apr 1984)

Get a Load of This (London, Hale, 1988)
Corgi Books 0552-13428-7, 1989, 191pp, £2.50. Cover photo
The sleazy jungle of lamp-lit streets, faded hotel lobbies and soulless freeways is the setting for a menagerie of typically brash Hadley Chase characters: all-metal blondes that weaken the resistance, merciless thugs and third-rate double-crossers, in this collection of hard-boiled stories by the thriller master, first published more than forty years ago and now appearing in paperback for the first time.
    Fast-paced and crackling with wit, this classic anthology shows why James Hadley Chase is the unchallenged British champion of the tough American tradition.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Dr. John Springhall (1943-2015)

A friend of mine has just made me aware that Dr. John Springhall, who was a Reader in History at the University of Ulster, died suddenly last Sunday. Doing a search I found the following funeral notice:

August 23, 2015, (suddenly), at his home, 22 York Avenue, Portstewart, dearly-beloved son of Iris and the late Onslow and loving brother of Chris. A celebration for the life of John will take place in Wades Funeral Home, Coleraine on Friday at 1.00 p.m., followed by a private cremation. No flowers by request. Donations in lieu, if desired, by making cheques payable to Diabetes U.K., c/o Ms. Charlene Wade, 3 Upper Abbey Street, Coleraine, BT52 1BF. Lovingly remembered by all his family, colleagues and friends.

John and I were only occasional correspondents, but I found his work of huge interest as our preoccupations often coincided, whether it was Victorian-era story papers or the moral panic surrounding horror comics in the 1950s. I always thought of him as "one of us" as, unlike most academics who simply research by reading other academic papers, he actually did some coal face research into the subjects he wrote about.

John was born on September 24, 1943 and educated at Shene Grammar School. He studied history at the University of Sussex before working at the Record Office of the Greater London Council for a year. He subsequently worked as a lecturer, for many years at the University of Ulster, and author, writing numerous academic papers and writing and editing six books ranging from Decolonization Since 1945 to Youth, Popular Culture and Moral Panics. His most recent book was The Genesis of Mass Culture: Show Business Live in America, 1840 to 1940 (2008).

Friday, August 28, 2015

Comic Cuts - 28 August 2015

The week has been dedicated to Hotel Business as we have an enlarged issue to produce. I'm slightly in the hinterland between commissioning and waiting for stuff to turn up, so I had a change to do some maintenance, copying files around a couple of external hard drives to make life easier. This included a lot of the images that have appeared as random scans every Friday for the past few years or as part of galleries or illustrations to biographical features or checklists.

I was surprised by some of the numbers: 477 Pan Books covers but only 93 for Panther Books (or 94 if you count the one above); 291 Fontana covers, 185 Corgi Books and 169 Digits... these aren't definitive figures, because a lot of the covers are in folders dedicated to authors, so there are, for instance, another 48 Fontana book covers in my Ngaio Marsh folder. These all need to be sorted out, but it takes hours making sure that I have everything saved and mirrored – I don't want to lose my scans again as happened a few years ago when scans for all the early galleries, like the Larry Niven gallery I put together in 2008, disappeared in a puff of smoke when one of my hard drives crashed, never to recover. All the scans I did for the Sci-Fi Art book... gone; a whole bunch of Chris Foss covers... gone.

Nowadays, everything that I copy off my computer for storage is copied twice. The only thing I'm bad about backing up is my actual main workspace, where I might tinker with hundreds of files over a few months; I really need to back these up more often.

The first gallery I did was back in 2006 when I posted a pile of John Wyndham Penguin covers. (There's also a more formal John Wyndham cover gallery that I compiled in 2012.) I think I've saved all the cover scans I've done since then – or tried to. I've just totted up the number of files I have sitting in the folder Book Covers and the figure is 8,287. There are, in addition, 5,425 cover scans that need to be cleaned-up sitting on my computer. Some of them are probably damaged beyond even the repairing skills of PhotoShop, but I continue to plod through them whenever I get a chance, or just want to relax... and it is surprisingly relaxing! You can listen to music while you're painting out folds and stains (!); better still, it's something that you can see the improvement in immediately, which is great for massaging the ego.

Our tomato total has now reached 141 and we've just had our third cucumber of the year. We're not expecting many more of the latter – it has been something of a failed experiment – but the two we've had have been really crunchy and tasty; there are two flowers on the plant so with luck and a fair wind, we may see some more growth before the end of the season. Come to think of it, when is the end of the cucumber season? I haven't a clue.

Just down the road from ours there used to be a little restaurant called Jardines, which ran for just over three years (August 2010 to December 2013). Bit pricey but nice. It closed a couple of years ago to be replaced in April 2014 by La Cava, a tapas restaurant. Had some mixed reviews to start but improved quickly and was generally considered OK. It closed around June and the former bar is being turned into a branch of Michaels, the property consultants. I can't help but think that we've lost out. Thankfully, Mel makes a fantastic paella.

Today's random scans... well, while I was sorting through all those cover scans I couldn't resist attacking a couple of old fifties covers with what's known as "good girl art". The two Brett Vane novels were published by Curtis Warren; H. W. Perl was the chief artist for these and they are some of the best work he produced – presumably Curtis Warren paid him better than some of the other publishers he worked for. I've also included a couple of Nat Karta novel published by Muir-Watson.

Four different artists tackling the subject of a single woman, none of them featuring a background. Some of these scan collections I put together aren't so random after all!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Commando issues 4839-4843

Commando issues published 27 August 2015.

Commando No 4839 – Eagles of the Crimera
In the Mid-19th Century, Adam Carrick, an American war correspondent with English ancestry, was at the frontline of the Crimean War. As British forces clashed with Russian infantry and cavalry, the young journalist stumbled upon a fascinating story — a long-standing rivalry between two British officers, one from the artillery and the other from a special Royal Engineers detachment.
   Adam even discovered some distant relatives of his own and soon became caught up in the fighting itself. Although a non-combatant, it soon became clear that the reporter would have to fight to survive.

With only a few notable exceptions — step forward the Convict Commandos — recurring characters have been rare on the pages of Commando over the last 50-odd years. However we were of the opinion that you, our readers, might like a series which carried the story over more than one issue. With the pen of Ferg Handley recruited to do the writing, we decided that a historical saga spanning many generations would hit the spot.
   Episode Ten sees the continuing story of three — entirely fictional —inter-linked families and now we find them in the thick of battle in the Crimean war.
   In this instalment, one main character is a war correspondent, rather than a soldier, which makes for a different tone and pace to previous episodes. However, it would seem that being part a family steeped in a unending legacy of war can only have one outcome…
   We hope you enjoy this story and the journey to come.—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Story: Ferg Handley
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Keith Page

Commando No 4840 – Tank Buster
TWO old tanks – two knocked-out Italian tanks whose guns still worked, and were trained on the prison camp fence – these and some vicious strands of barbed wire were what stood between a crowd of desperate British prisoners and freedom.
   Captain Al Kelly and Lieutenant Pete Smith reckoned there was a fighting chance of escaping – and that was all these two desert fighters asked…

This is a hard-hitting Commando yarn and no mistake. In the arid expanse of the North African desert, Captain Al Kelly, a non-nonsense Australian, has good reason to be mad at British Lieutenant Pete Smith — and a bitter clash ensues. But this vendetta is played out against a deadly backdrop — the battle for the war-torn port of Tobruk.
   Boutland’s script is taut, C.T. Rigby’s art is dynamic and Ken Barr’s font cover illustration is simply outstanding. I hope you agree.—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Story: Boutland
Art: C.T. Rigby
Cover: Ken Barr
Originally Commando 164 (Apr 1965)

Commando No 4841 – Prisoner At War
When his P47 Thunderbolt was shot down over Sicily, Major Mike Dante of the USAAF was caught by some passing Italian infantrymen. However, when Italy surrendered to Allied forces soon after, this particular unit were having none of it. They decided to wage their own guerrilla war against a vicious German panzer grenadier squad who had killed one of their comrades.
   Still technically a prisoner, Mike knew that a fierce battle lay ahead…one that he felt honour-bound to get involved in.

Story: Ferg Handley
Art: Morahin
Cover: Janek Matysiak

Commando No 4840 – Suicide Run!
BLEAK Point – a training area for Captain Jake Baron and his Royal Marine crews of high-speed launches packed with explosives. There they learned the perils of mechanical failure, rough seas, bad weather — and how to tackle enemy defences. They began to think, though, that the biggest danger came from their hosts and rivals — the Royal Navy!

This great sea tale has a lot going for it. At a secret base in a remote part of Scotland, a tough Commando Captain and his squad embark on their most hazardous task yet — piloting powerful experimental boats packed with explosives in the bows, ready to take out enemy targets on a one-way trip basis. Throw in a rivalry with the unit’s Royal Navy commander and writer R.A. Montague’s story soon speeds towards a thrilling conclusion.
   It’s nicely illustrated by Keith Shone, who, luckily, can draw explosions well — as there are lots of them throughout the 63 interior pages. An atmospheric cover by sea artist extraordinaire Jeff Bevan finishes things off perfectly.—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Story: R.A. Montague
Art: Keith Shone
Cover: Jeff Bevan
Originally published 2406 (Sep 1990).

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Caught in the Act: Pan Press

The dynasty that begat Pan Press began with Norman Feder, born in Riga, Latvia, in 1889. Norman, the son of Moishe Kremer and Chaie Kremer (nee Tzal) had a large family of brothers and sisters, a number of whom came to the UK in the years shortly before the First World War. Norman was in England by 2Q 1912, when he was married in Hackney, London, to Doris Esther Kamm.

The marriage resulted in two children, but did not last and the Kremers separated and divorced. Doris went on to marry Marks Plotkin in Hendon in 3Q 1924; they lived in Golders Green where Marks died in 1936. Doris died in 1954, aged 61.

Norman had married again, to Ida Sara Evelyn Cohen (or Kremer or Jacobs) in Thanet, Kent, in 2Q 1923. Norman carried on a business as a merchant in the 1920s, not always successfully (he was listed as "receiving orders" in 1927. He also ran a business importing plywood, a similar situation to his brother Nachman Kremer (1876-1944), who was a timber merchant.

Perhaps it was the impossibility of importing materials that led Norman Kremer and his family to set up a small publishing business during the war. The Alliance Press was incorporated in 1940 and its board consisted of Norman Kremer, his wife Ida, and the two of the children from his first marriage, Rita Zena Paneth and Major David Nathaniel Kremer.

The driving force behind the publishing company was Dr. Philip Paneth, who had married Norman Feder's eldest daughter, Rita, in 1943. Rita, born in London on 21 August 1913,  was listed in the marriage records under three names: Rita Z. Davidoff, Rita Z. Davis and Rita Z. Kramer. Davidoff was from her previous marriage in 1934 to Harris Davidoff and Davis was possibly a nom-de-plume.

Philip De Paney Paneth was a Czecholslovakian immigrant, born in Sobrancz on 8 July 1903. His earliest books appeared in Germany in the 1930s and was a foreign press correspondent in Prague between 1935 and 1939 before escaping to England. His earliest British publications appeared in 1939, Is Poland Lost? and Czechs Against Germans, both published by Nicholson & Watson. The latter was described in one review as offering "a full account of the condition of Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, and Carpatho-Ukraine under German rule. Dr. Paneth [is] in touch with all the leading figures of the country and his book, in spite of rather confused presentment, contains a great deal of useful information based on first-hand knowledge." (Western Morning News, 1 Jan 1940)

Paneth was caught up in the imprisonment of foreigners during the early months of the war and found himself detained in Walton Prison, Liverpool, under Article 12 (5A) of the Aliens Order. His considerable standing may be seen in the fact that Sir Richard Acland (MP for North-West Devon) asked in the House of Commons whether the Home Secretary would make a statement about Paneth and his situation and whether there was any prospect of his being released.

Alliance Press began publishing titles in 1943; amongst the earliest were books by Philip Paneth, mostly on foreign aspects of the Second World War (Alaskan Backdoor to Japan, Epic of the Soviet Cities, Meet Our Russian Allies, The Prime Minister: Winston S. Chuchill as seen by his enemies and friends, Reshaping Germany's Future, Sunset Over Japan, Turkey at the Crossroads). But he also penned books of humour (Have You Heard This?) and folk tales (Tales from East and West).

Rita Zena Paneth was also responsible for an early book of verse (Private Peregrinations), and other early authors included Mavis Axtell, Simon Fine, Harry C. Schnur, Alexander Howard & Ernest Newman, Magnus Irvine, James Russell, Max Mack, and Philippe d'Alba-Julienne.

Alliance published a broad range of titles, from political tracts to fairy stories. Humour played a strong part in their output, ranging from collections of stories from Italian papers to cartoons about Hitler reprinted from Russia.

The company also published The Bookshelf, edited by Philip Paneth, which ran for 17 monthly issues between January 1946 and May 1947 priced 2d. A spin-off company, Pan Press, published a range of other magazines (often edited by Philip and Rita Paneth) and booklets throughout 1945 and 1946.

Alliance maintained a busy schedule until early 1947 when their output was severely curtailed, possibly by the extremely poor weather. Their last titles appeared in May of that year. The company was still listed at their London address until 1950, but had disappeared from the telephone book by 1950.

Alliance are all but forgotten these days, with only a handful of collectors interested in their output, and then those titles by minor but popular authors of the day such as Mike Hervey and Leslie Fox.

Ida Kremer was injured in a car accident in Paris, France, in 1948; she returned to England where she died on 16 August 1948 at St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington. The Kremers were living at that time at The Croft, Constable Road, Birchington, Kent.

Norman Kremer's third wife was Liselotte H. De Chabennes, whom he married in Chelsea in 2Q 1956. He eventually died in Brighton, Sussex, in 1967, aged 78.

Philip Paneth separated from his wife and went to America in the 1950s. There he continued to write, penning a number of books during the 1960s. He lived in New York, where he died on 16 May 1981. He was survived by two children, including Nigel Sefton Paneth (b. 19 Sep. 1946).

Rita Paneth was, by 1951, running a business of a kindergarten service, nursery school and children's hotel at 5 Sussex Place, Hyde Park, London W1. This was described "an hotel where rice pudding is on the menu every day, where clothes are provided for guests, and where a doctor's certificate must be produced before registering."

The 'hotel' included rooms for mothers or nannies with children, dormitories for children on their own, with a staff of college-trained nannies and teachers to take care of them. Children from all over the world were met at stations and airports with a brake decorated with nursery pictures and they leave with decorated labels on their luggage. The older children were offered ballet, riding, boxing and skating lessons, although many of the children were younger, brought to London by mothers around Christmas time  to visit the pantomimes.

Rita Paneth was quoted as saying "We have had children from every country in the world except Iceland. They settle down quite happily, and start to speak English, or understand each other's baby talk in a few days. Our most difficult problem is to persuade Eastern children to eat English vegetables." (Sunderland Daily Echo, 10 October 1951)

The hotel lasted a few years but the business, which traded under a variety of names, including Panda Kindergarten Service, Panda Children's Hotel, Kindergarten Service, Argincourt School and Panda Children's School, was sued for debts in 1953.

Rita Zena Paneth lived in Hove where she married Sol Feder in 1985. She died in Hove on 22 May 1999.

David Nathaniel Kremer, born 21 June 1915 and married Esther Z Van Praagh in 1945, died in Tavistock, Devon, in 1987, survived by two children, Ivan M. H. and Charles R. F..

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

John N. Makris

A back-cover biography reveals the following about Makris
John N. Makris has been a crime reporter for the Boston Traveller, feature writer for the Boston Sunday Globe, Chicago Sunday Tribune, and New York News, and book reviewer for the Boston Sunday Herald. He has also handled a number of murder investigations for a prominent Boston criminal lawyer who is now a judge. Mr. Makris is currently a free-lance writer and has contributed to many magazines including The Saturday Evening Post, Argosy and Pageant. He lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Makris contributed stories and true-crime non-fiction to numerous magazines from the 1930s on, including Dare-Devil Aces, Smash Stories, National Detective Cases, Headquarters Detective, Greatest Detective Cases, 20th Century Crime Cases, Argosy and Mechanix Illustrated.

Makris was born in Massachusetts, in 1917, the son of Nicholas and Diamond Makris (nee Diamando Demakis), who were both Greek immigrants. Nicholas was a pedler for a fruit company living in Watertown, Massachusetts, where his children John, Betty (d. 2014, who later married Constantine Smerlas), Olga (d. 2011, later married Charles J. Paras), James N. (d. 2008), Catherine (later married Arthur DerBoghaosian) and Irene (later married Aristides Cagos) were all born.

Aside from his work as a crime reporter, Makris wrote a single novel, published as half of an Ace Double in 1953. In 1955, Matt Cvetic (Wikipedia), who had been involved in an FBI sting, posing as a Communist, was writing a book about his experiences with the aid of "a rewrite man" by the name of John N. Makris (). The book was dropped by a Boston publisher and it was eventually self-published as The Big Decision in 1959.

He was a patron of the Watertown Public Library. Makris, I believe, was married to Katherine C. George and had two children, Barbara and Nicholas. Makris died in 1975, survived by his wife who, when she died in 2008, was survived by three grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.


Nightshade (with High Stakes by Lester Dent). New York, Ace Books D-21, 1953.

The Silent Investigators. The great untold story of the United States Postal Inspection Service, intro. by D. H. Stephens. New York, Dutton, 1959.
The Big Decision. The story of Matt Cvetic, Counterspy by Matt Cvetic (ghosted). Hollywood, CA. Mat Cvetic, 1959.

Boston Murders, ed. John K. Makris. New York, Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1948.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Pan Press Inside Detective and Front Page Detective

Pan Press was a small outfit founded shortly after the war to take advantage of the paper shortage. Their first books began appearing about five months after VE Day, drawing most of its authors from Alliance Press, which was run by the same people. Alliance published many of the same authors, including a trio of prolific pamphlet providers – most of the books being only 64-pagers – Leslie H. Fox, Michael Hervey and A. O. Pulford.

One little development of Pan Press was the publication of books in two series: Front Page Detective and Inside Detective Thriller. Both were slim (again, 64-pages) booklets with typographical covers usually promoting two of the true-crime stories inside. The collections often contained four stories reprinted from the American pulps Front Page Detective and Inside Detective, published by Dell Magazines. Inside Detective began life in March 1935, with Front Page Detective joining the ranks of true-crime magazines in August 1936.

The magazines haven't, as far as I'm aware, been indexed, so I've no way of confirming the sources of each of the stories. That said, I wouldn't be surprised to find that the lead story of "The Jig-Saw Corpse" by William F. X. Geoghagen came from Inside Detective March 1945, which advertises a story "Jigsaw Corpse in Brooklyn" on the cover. "The Oakes Case" story by Raymond C. Schindler is likely to be from the same magazine's October 1944 issue.

If anyone can fill in the gaps in the contents, please drop me a line.

Front Page Detective

Fishman, Joseph F. • Bullets for Two • (Nov 1945), 64pp, 1/6, [anon].
     • Fishman, Joseph F. * Bullets for Two * tc
     • Adams, James Taylor * The Mountain Murder * tc
     • others

Thorp, John S. • The Phantom Bandit of the Pullman • (Nov) 1945, 64pp, 1/6.
     • Thorp, John S. * The Phantom Bandit of the Pullman * tc
     • Blake, Alison * Last Date With Margaret * tc
     • others

Makris, John N. • The Mystery of Brompton Road • (Dec 1945), 64pp, 1/6, [A. O. Pulford].
     • Makris, John N. * The Mystery of Brompton Road * tc
     • Durand, Anthony * Murder of the Paris Playboy * tc
     • Fiske, Martin * Clue of the Pretty Girl's Snapshot * tc
     • Lane, Carlos * Meet Inspector King * tc
     • Stevens, Mark * Box-Car Extradition * tc

Schindler, Raymond C. • The Oakes Case • nd (Jun 1946), 62pp, 1/6.
     • Schindler, Raymond C. * The Oakes Case * tc
     • Harrell, Jack * Printed in Blood * tc
     • three others

Geoghagen, William F. X. • The Jig-Saw Corpse • (Jul 1946), 64pp, 1/6.
     • Geoghagen, William F. X. * The Jig-Saw Corpse * tc
     • Blake, Alison * Thread for a Hangman's Rope * tc
     • others

Inside Detective Thriller

Harrell, Jack • Death Comes to the Hermit [and] But Ghosts Can’t Kill by Dudley Hiller • (Mar 1946), 64pp, 1/6, [typo/Kay Furnival].
     5 • Harrell, Jack * Death Comes to the Hermit * tc
     21 • Hiller, Dudley * But Ghosts Can't Kill * tc
     31 • Murray, Bert * Mrs. Doom * tc
     47 • Tobeas, Walter S. * Cafe Society's Great Jewel Swindle * tc

Henderson, Jesse G. • She Had to Kill • nd (May 1946), 63pp, 1/6, [B.W.Farr].
     • Henderson, Jesse G. * She Had to Kill * tc
     • Makris, John N. * In Love with a Convict * tc
     • Frame, Barnabby * Death putts at the 19th Hole * tc
     • Haddock, Hugh V. Solving Missouri's Roadside Riddle * tc

Parkhill, Andy • The Queen of Spades and Robin Hood of the West by C.V. Tench • nd (Mar 1946), 64pp, 1/6, [typo/Kay Furnival].     • Parkhill, Andy * The Queen of Spades Screamed Murder! * tc
     • Tench, C. V. * Robin Hood of the West * tc
     • Durand, Anthony * Poison Plot of the Paris War Baby * tc
     • Thorp, John S. * Hide and Go Seek * tc

(* Cover images for almost the complete run of Inside Detective can be found here.)