Sunday, 28 February 2010

Thomas P. Kelley - Prince of the Canadian Pulp Recyclers

A 1982 article (John Robert Colombo, "Has Anybody Seen Thomas P. Kelley?", The Globe and Mail, January 9, 1982, p. E13) about Kelley referred to him as the self-described "King of the Canadian Pulp Writers". I suggest he is also "Prince of the Canadian Pulp Recyclers".

Four collections of his true-crime stories were published by four publishers - Harlequin Books, Arrow Publishing, Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada's White Circle and Federal Publishing (under a pseudonym). There were 67 stories in the books but 10 were published twice and two, three times, leaving 53 different stories. The Arrow and Harlequin collections each had one-half of the stories duplicated. None of the stories were duplicated exactly. All but two had different titles and those in the White Circle were 2/3 to 3/4 shorter. Title changes reflect the intended audience with Federal's being the most lurid.

Only the White Circle gave the original printing of the stories - in New Liberty Magazine. The other stories were likely first published in the true-crime magazines. The Federal is magazine size, the rest mass market.

Oddly, Export Publishing Enterprises, while publishing three books by Kelley, didn't have a collection from him. Export did publish a collection of detective fiction by various contributors, any one or more of whom might have been a Kelley pseudonym.

1)      Arrow 115 The Hairy Man / Harlequin 435 The Hairy Man
2)      Arrow 115 The Terrible Donnelly Feud / White Circle 378 The Donnelly Feud
3)      Arrow 115 Rev. Wilson - Safe Cracker / White Circle 378 Reverend Wilson - King of the Cracksmen
4)      Arrow 115 Red Ryan - Bank Robber / White Circle 378 Rise and Fall of "Red" Ryan
5)      Arrow 115 Four Bad Men / White Circle 378 The Murderin' McLeans
6)      Federal Big Book 1 Toronto's Lewd Lady / Harlequin 435 Unholy Passion / White Circle 378 Where is John Hogan?
7)      Harlequin 435 The Midnight Riders / White Circle 378 The Midnight Riders
8)      Federal Big Book 1 Quebec's She-Devil / White Circle 378 Quebec Witch
9)      Harlequin 435 The Toronto Terror / White Circle 378 The Blazing Deathbed 
10)    Federal Big Book 1 Silky Siren of Disaster / Harlequin 435 Betraying Jezebel / White Circle 378 The Crime of Doctor King
11)    Federal Big Book 1 Backwoods Sister of Sin / White Circle 378 The Gowan Triangle
12)    Federal Big Book 1 Witch With an Axe on Fire / White Circle 378 The Headless Victim

Arrow 115 February 1950 - 10 stories

Federal Big Book 1 1950 - 16 stories

Harlequin 435 August 1958 - 11 stories (art by Norm Eastman)

White Circle 378 1949 - 30 stories

News Stand Library 123 August 1950

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Harlequin Non-fiction Part I

Harlequin published 481 titles (501 books but 20 multiple edition titles) from mid 1949 until the end of 1959, when the reign of romance began. Thirty-one (6%) of these were non-fiction. Or, at least were sold as non-fiction - some as we'll see stretch the definition. The usual suspects are seen: sports, crime, heath and home life. Here are four.

One of the earliest is Bouquet Knitters Guide, originally published by Dominion Woolens and Worsteds Limited of Toronto in 1949. The art is by "jeg" and is reproduced from the original edition.

Harlequin 71 August 1950

Next is Health, Sex and Birth Control. Published by Toronto's Anchor Press in 1942, the Harlequin edition was the seventh printing of the book. There were at least five further Harlequin printings.

Harlequin 161 March 1952

Third is Why Be a Sucker? published by Toronto's The Metheun Company [1952]. The Harlequin edition reproduces the cover from this edition. My copy has a loosely inserted ad which is likely original to the book.

Harlequin 186 August 1952

Harlequin 186 ad

And last is our friend Thomas Kelley recycling his true crime stories with Canada's Greatest Crimes, a paperback original.

Harlequin 435 August 1958 - Art by Norm Eastman

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Neil or Niel?

A recent comment is the inspiration for this post.

For the 12 or 15 people in the world who know or care the Canadian publisher Export Publishing Enterprises Ltd. has a well deserved reputation for editorial sloppiness. Here's an example.

Danny Halperin was a Canadian writer of pulp literature in the 1940s and, at least, early 1950s. He was published under a number of pseudonyms including one used on four Export books - Neil H. Perrin. But Export had trouble with his first name.

The first book is News Stand Library (NSL) 66 - This Was Joanna. It's "Niel" on the front cover and title page, "Neil" on the spine and back cover. The book was published in Export's American series as 10A with the same title but a different pseudonym, Grant R. Brooks.

The second book is NSL 75 - Introducing Mr. Phreet. It's "Niel" on the front cover, "Neil" on the back cover and title page with no first name on the spine.

The third book is NSL 89 - Death be My Destiny. It's "Neil" on the front cover, spine, back cover and title page.

The fourth book is NSL 21A - The Door Between. It's "Neil" on the front cover, spine, back cover and title page.

The final tally is "Neil" 12 times, "Niel" three times.

Interestingly, Perrin/Halperin is the subject of an article (Michelle Denise Smith, "Guns, Lies, and Ice: The Canadian Pulp Magazine Industry and the Crime Fiction of Raymond Chandler and Niel [sic] Perrin", Dime Novel Roundup, Vol. 74, No. 1, February 2005) contrasting him with, of all people, Raymond Chandler. The focus is on their pulp work so none of Export's novels are mentioned. Oddly "Niel" is used in the title and throughout the article even though a cover of the Canadian pulp World Wide Detective is reproduced showing an article by "Neil Perrin". The article doesn't mention that Perrin is a pseudonym.


NSL 66 - September 1949

NSL 75 - October 1949

NSL 89 - January 1950

NSL 21A - February 1950

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Export's News Stand Library US Series Part V

In the first four part to this post I discussed Export Publishing Enterprises Ltd's News Stand Library (NSL) 28 American books. Twenty of these books were published with and without dust jackets. I haven't noted this before but 14 of the dust jackets were numbered. These numbers were different from the the numbers on the books which ran from 1A to 28A and there is no clear pattern to the numbering. Here are the numbers for the twenty dust jackets plus two more examples. As usual the DJ artists are unknown.

4A Each Night a Black Desire   /  15           
5A Offer Any Price   /  16
6A Sin for Your Supper    /  19
7A The Pagans   /   14
8A Dirty City   /   3
9A Torch of Violence   /   none
10A This Was Joanna   /  13
12A Frustration   /   none
13A No Place in Heaven   /  1
14A Death Be My Destiny   /  none
15A Jesse James   /  none
16A Daughters of Desire   /   none
17A The Penthouse Killings   /   none
18A Let Out The Beast   /   2
19A In Passion's Fiery Pit   /   4
20A Sugar-puss on Dorchester   /  C8
21A The Door Between   /  20
22A The Governor's Mistress   /   C5
23A Pick Up   /   C6
24A Overnight Escapade and other stories   /   C7

News Stand Library 8A with DJ (August 1949)

News Stand Library 8A without DJ (D. Rickard artist)

News Stand Library 15A with DJ (January 1950)

News Stand Library 15A without DJ (D. Rickard artist)

Monday, 22 February 2010

Handy Library - an Early Imprint

Here we're looking at the first Canadian digests in the modern (1935 on) paperback era. Published by Al Valentine's Adam Publishing Company in October 1941 the Handy Library imprint lasted two issues. Valentine was the publisher of pulps, some of which are listed on the back cover of Handy Library 1.

Both books are paperback originals with cover art by Wilf Long. Here is a cover by Long for one of Valentine's pulps - Uncanny Tales.

Handy Library 1

Handy Library 1 back cover

Handy Library 2

Uncanny Tales Vol. 2 No. 14 - February 1942

Collins White Circle Authors Part VIII

Among the 142 authors whose work was published by Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. in their White Circle imprint were two who used pen names. Geoffrey Martin Bennett wrote as Sea-Lion and Lewis Anselm da Costa Ritchie (Ricci) as bartimeus. Both were serving officers in the Royal Navy and as such could not use their names on published works. All three books were originally published by the parent firm Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. All stories involve naval settings and characters.

Ritchie's only WC title, Steady as You Go, was one of two White Circles reprinted with a different cover.

White Circle 52 - 1943

White Circle 52 reprint - 1943 (Margaret Paull artist)

White Circle CD 403 - 1949 (D. Rickard artist)

White Circle CD 456 - 1950

Friday, 19 February 2010

Canadian Best-Seller Library Part I

This blog is subtitled "Canadian Paperbacks of the 40s and early 50s" but books from the 60s and 70s will find a home here from time to time. A couple of recent posts included books from the New Canadian Library series published by McClelland & Stewart from 1958 to 1978. The series was one of a number of series that M&S published to feature Canadian writing. The original NCL series had 152 books. After a three year hiatus the series started up in 1981 and continues to this day. Among the other series that M&S published was the 46 book Canadian Best-Seller Library (CBL) from 1964 to 1968. Three-quarters were non fiction (with iconic Canadian writers such as Pierre Berton, Peter Newman and Farley Mowat).

Some of the fiction were recycled as part of the NCL including one of the two books described here.

The Incomparable Atuk was Mordecai Richler's fifth novel, published in 1963, four years after The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. The American title is Stick Your Neck Out. Unlike any of his previous novels, Atuk is a broad satire on Canadian celebrity and culture. As a recent Richler biography says "Richler exposes all the pettiness and smallness of the cultural scene as he saw it, hanging out to ridicule the pretensions and absurdities patently obvious in the cultural nationalism of the day" (M. G. Vassanji, Mordecai Richler, Toronto: Penguin, 2009, p. 26). M&S published the first paperback edition in 1965 as CBL 7, then again as NCL 79 in 1971.

Leslie McFarlane has almost certainly had more of his books sold than Richler. Under the publishing house name Franklin W. Dixon he wrote 21 of the Hardy Boys adventures. His hockey novel McGonigle Scores! was published as CBL 21 in 1966 as a paperback original.




Thursday, 18 February 2010

Canadian Paperbacks - Other Editions Part III

Frederick Niven is a little remembered Scots-Canadian author who shares some facts with the much better known Canadian author Stephen Leacock. Both were born outside of Canada, both died in 1944 and both have a literary award named after them. The Frederick Niven Literary Award was administered by the Scottish Centre of International PEN and given every three years for a novel by a Scot. I say "was" because I can find nothing to indicate that the award is still given. The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour is given annually to the best book of humour written by a Canadian.

They also share paperback publishers. In an earlier post I discussed Leacock's Literary Lapses, published by Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd and McClelland & Stewart. Niven's The Flying Years was also published as a Collins's White Circle and a M&S New Canadian Library.

The first WC edition was one of the initial 50 published in 1942. A second edition was published in 1944 and then reprinted the next year. The NCL edition came 30 years later in 1974. This book demonstrates some of the sloppy work often seen in the NCL series. The copyright page states the book was originally published in 1942, not the correct 1935. The back cover notes 1935 as the "written" date, not the publishing date. The text is printed (poorly) from the Collins WC edition of 1944 rather than being reset.

The WC edition was discussed in an October 10, 1942 Globe & Mail story titled "White Circles". The article starts with "Canadian-made reprints of books of proven popularity mean a long step forward in local publishing" and the last paragraph says "there are plenty of other titles; new ones are being added fast, and copies are being absorbed by the public in very large quantities." The article is unsigned but likely W. A. Deacon.

White Circle - 1942

White Circle 1942 back cover

White Circle 116 - Margaret Paull artist

White Circle 116 back cover

New Canadian Library 102

New Canadian Library 102 back cover

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Canadian Paperbacks - Other Editions Part II

Stephen Leacock's self published his first literary book, Literary Lapses, in 1910 when he was 40. In 1939 the first paperback edition was published by Penguin Books. Six years later Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. published its White Circle edition. In January 1958 Canadian publisher McClelland & Stewart published Literary Lapses as one of its first four offerings in the New Canadian Library (NCL) imprint. Coincidentally the Penguin edition is 212 and the White Circle edition is 213. The Penguin edition has a dust jacket identical to the book's covers except for the flaps.

A Bibliography of Stephen Leacock by Carl Spadoni (Toronto: ECW Press, 1998), pages 97 and 98, notes that the Penguin edition sold over 46,000 copies in the first five months after publication. The bibliography also notes that McClelland & Stewart held the Canadian rights to the book and refused Collins (who were Penguin's agent in Canada) permission to sell the Penguin edition in Canada. But in 1945, the year after Leacock died, Collins was able to publish the first Canadian paperback edition. The Collins edition has been printed from the same plates as the Penguin edition.

The Penguin edition has a short biography of Leacock but no introduction. B. K. Sandwell, a Canadian editor and author, provided a three page introduction to the Collins edition which also had a couple of photographs of Leacock by the celebrity photographer of the day, Karsh. The NCL edition has a five page introduction by Robertson Davies and remains in print. The texts are the same except the NCL edition doesn't have a one page of acknowledgements from the author.

Penguin 212

Penguin 212 back cover

Penguin 212 DJ flaps

White Circle 213 - Margaret Paull artist

White Circle 213 back cover

New Canadian Library 3

New Canadian Library 3 back cover

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Collins White Circle Authors Part VII

There is a fascinating wikipedia entry listing the top selling authors of fiction. The list ranks authors with estimated sales of at least 100,000,000 - some 80 in all. It seems to me that the list is as well documented as any such list needs to be.

Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. published three of the list's authors in their White Circle imprint. Agatha Christie (2 - 4 billion sold - tied with Shakespeare at number 1) and Mickey Spillane (100-200 million - 36th on the list) have been the subjects of earlier posts. Here we'll look at the third author - Erskine Caldwell (80-100 million - 63rd).

Collins published three of Caldwell's 25 novels - Tobacco Road (first published 1932), Trouble in July (1940) and A House in the Uplands (1946). Tobacco Road is Collins most reprinted WC with six printings while Trouble in July has four printings and A House in the Uplands one. It is interesting to note that Collins didn't publish Caldwell's best selling novel - God's Little Acre. In Canada that was left to a small publisher, Anglo-American Publishing, to pirate the American edition. All cover art is by unknown.

White Circle 257 - 1946

White Circle 335 - 1948

White Circle 346 - 1948

Monday, 15 February 2010

Collins White Circle Artists Part XV - Margaret Paull (4)

Parts I, II and III presented the first 20 of the 67 signed covers that Margaret Paull did for the White Circle imprint published by Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. Here are four more from 1944 plus one of her dust jackets for a Collins's hard cover. Paull was an employee of Collins and as such was in a very uncommon position. Most cover artists of the day were free lance commercial artists whose work might be seen largely with one publisher but also with others.

Paull's dust jacket is for one of Hugh MacLennan's lesser known works, The Precipice, published by Collins Canada in 1948. The cover is described in a Quill & Quire (November 1948, p. 17) story on Canadian dust jacket design as presenting "the contrasts between the warm if simple and humdrum life of the small Canadian town, and the bleak, skyscraper existence of the great American city." Never reprinted as a White Circle paperback, The Precipice can't have been as successful as Two Solitudes and Barometer Rising. The art is unattributed in the book.


White Circle 98

White Circle 112

White Circle 113

White Circle 114