Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Norman Conquest Part III

Norman Conquest's creator Berkeley Gray's real name was Edwy Searle Brooks (1889-1965). He also wrote as Victor Gunn. Here are the last of the 17 Norman Conquest books published by Wm Collins Co & Sons Canada.

White Circle 383 - 1949

White Circle 465 - 1950

White Circle 442 - 1950

White Circle 486 - 1951

White Circle 512 - 1951

White Circle 527 - 1951

Friday, 1 November 2019

Norman Conquest Part II

In Part I I introduced the Norman Conquest series by Berkeley Gray. Specifically the 17 novels from the series published by Toronto publisher Wm Collins & Sons Canada from 1942 to 1952. 

Today not a single one of the 51 novels in the series is in print. Here are the next six White Circle editions.

White Circle 291 - 1946

White Circle 60 - 1943

White Circle 227 - 1945

White Circle 244 - 1945

White Circle 267 - 1946

White Circle 360 - 1948

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Norman Conquest Part I

Series characters have long been a staple of the crime/mystery/thriller genre. Today large publishers are very careful about keeping a well-selling character in print. Older series are typically brought back into print in a systematic way. The best example today is Penguin's new editions of Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret series - all 75 novels, most in new translations. In the early days of paperbacks this was not the case.

An example is Berkeley Gray's Norman Conquest series - 51 novels between 1938 and 1969. The early Canadian paperback imprint from Wm. Collins and Sons Canada, White Circle Pocket Library, published 17 of the first 24 between 1942 and 1952, at which time the WC imprint ended. They had been published between 1938 and 1951 by the parent company in the UK. In addition to skipping seven of the books the ones that were published are not in sequence. The list below has the original publish date and the WC number.

1 Mr. Mortimer Gets the Jitters 1938 P
2 Vultures Limited 1938 46
3 Miss Dynamite 1939 85
6 Conquest Takes All 1940 B4
7 Meet the Don 1940 344
9 Convict 1066 1940 291
11 Six Feet of Dynamite 1942 60
12 Blonde for Danger 1943 227
13 The Gay Desperado 1944 244
14 Cavalier Conquest 1944 267
16 Mr. Ball of Fire 1946 360
17 Killer Conquest 1947 383
19 The Spot Marked X 1948 465
20 Duel Murder 1948 442
21 Daredevil Conquest 1950 486
22 Seven Dawns to Death 1950 512
23 Operation Conquest 1951 527

White Circle P - 1942

White Circle 46 -1942

White Circle 85 - 1943

White Circle B4 - 1942

White Circle 344 - 1947

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Vehicule Press

The latest, 14th, Ricochet offering from Montreal publisher Vehicule Press is out - Kenneth Orvis's The Damned and the Destroyed first published in 1962.

The intro author (also author of The Dusty Bookcase) says it's Orvis's best book.

Here is his first book from Harlequin Books.

Harlequin 367 - April 1956

Harlequin 367 back

Sunday, 1 September 2019

WWII and Paperbacks Part I

My last three posts have been WWII themed. Today is the 80th anniversary of the start of the war.

You will have seen that Canadian paperback publishers did very little directly for the war effort. But the US and British publishers' efforts did help their allies, the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Armed Services Editions is the best known US series. They were published over 46 months from September 1943 to June 1947. Here are four from December 1945. 

ASE 952 

ASE 952 back

ASE 954

ASE 954 back

ASE 949

ASE 949 back

ASE 951

ASE 951 back

Monday, 1 July 2019

152 and counting

The British North American Act, enacted March 29, 1867 by the British Parliament, provided for Confederation of the three British North American colonies, Canada (Upper and Lower), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Now much amended as the Constitution Act, 1867, it was proclaimed into law on July 1, 1867 and Canada was born. The first official birthday celebration was in 1868, July 1 being named Dominion Day in 1879 and Canada Day in 1982.

My last two posts discussed Canadian paperbacks in WWII.

Here is one of the 1,159,000 men and women from Canada and Newfoundland who served in that war. This is his record on the Library and Archives Canada website.

Given Name(s):
Date of Birth:
Date of Death:
Flight Lieutenant
Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number:

F/L Metivier was my uncle. He was the pilot in Lancaster bomber number KB761 when it was shot down over the English Channel after one of the last bombing runs to Germany. He and his aircrew died five weeks before the end of the war.

The first picture is the April 1942 graduating "F" Flight class 46 in Hagersville, Ontario. My uncle is fourth from left in the middle row. The second picture is my uncle with his younger brother at their home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. I still have his uniform.

His log book has the last two entries in another hand, including March 31, 1945 "MISSING".

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Canadian Paperbacks and WWII Part II

In my last post I discussed a small Canadian publisher's Armed Services paperbacks. As far as I know that is the only effort of this sort in Canada. 

Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada started its White Circle imprint in spring 1942, 2 1/2 years after Canada declared war on Germany. Collins did not publish separate services editions but did acknowledge the war and asked its readers to share the books with "your friends in the services". 

White Circle 55 - 1943

White Circle 55 back

White Circle 59 - 1943

White Circle 59 back

White Circle 102 - 1943

White Circle 102 back

Friday, 14 June 2019

Canadian Paperbacks and WWII Part I

recent post on a favourite blog has inspired me to comment on Canadian paperbacks and WWII.

The Americans produced their well-known Armed Services Editions and English publishers their less well-known Services Editions. Canada did not have a similar effort. But there are a few examples of Canadian paperback publishers helping out with getting books to the armed services.

Beaver Publications of Hamilton, Ontario published three books in 1941. They were the first mass market paperbacks published in Canada. All had illustrated covers that were sold on newsstands as well as armed services editions that were packaged as a gift box for families and friends to send to soldiers, sailors and airmen. The covers were coloured for the three services - Canadian Army (tan/yellow), Royal Canadian Navy (blue) and Royal Canadian Air Force (red). I have also seen a blue box.

Beaver Armed Services Gift Box

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Harlequin and the Pulps

Canadian mass market paperback publisher Harlequin's early years overlapped the last years of the pulps. Harlequin started in 1949 and the pulps were gone by the late 1950s.

Two Complete Detective Books was published from 1939 to 1954 - 76 issues in which 151 titles were published (one title was in two issues). Seven of those titles were also published by Harlequin. They are:

9 The Dark Page Fuller, Samuel Michael
10 Here's Blood In Your Eye Long, Manning 
43 The Clean Up Barry, Joe
44 The So Blue Marble Hughes, Dorothy B.
79 Lazarus 7 Sale, Richard
83 Fall Guy Barry, Joe
180 If the Coffin Fits Keene, Day

Harlequin 10 - August 1949

Harlequin 10 back

Two Complete Detective Books 26 - May 1944

Two Complete Detective Books 26 back