Friday, 26 March 2010

Collins White Circle 1942 Books Part I

Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. started publishing their White Circle imprint in 1942. The 1942 books did not have a series number on the cover. This has caused confusion about the number of books published. They are referred to as “NN” ("no number") in guides (Paperback Prices by Graham Holroyd has 23 listed partially alphabetically by author) and in dealer lists (one has 54 listed alphabetically by author). The correct number is 50.

Additionally there is evidence that supports a sequential ordering of the books. The 1942 books have an identifier – a letter, number or both in the lower left hand corner of the recto of the first leaf of each gathering after the first (i.e.: pages 33, 65, 97 etc.). A numeric identifier identical to the number on the cover is in the same place in White Circles published from 1943 to 1947. When the 1942 books are ordered in the obvious way using this identifier you get the following list. There are contemporary newspaper reports which support this publishing sequence.

Spring list:

A King's Enemies     Walsh, J.M.
B Death on Sunday     Rhode, John
C Death Before Honour     Hume, David
D The Stoat     Brock, Lynn
E The Bell of Death     Gilbert, Anthony
F Death Pays a Dividend     Rhode, John
G Wreckers Must Breathe     Innes, Hammond
H Make Way for the Mourners     Hume, David
I Spades at Midnight     Maddock, Stephen
J Jewel Thief     Mills, Arthur
K Death Leaves No Card     Burton, Miles
L ? - see below
M ? - see below
N ? - see below
O The Calendar     Wallace, Edgar
P Mr. Mortimer Gets the Jitters     Gray, Berkeley
Q Dames Don't Care     Cheyney, Peter
R Doorway to Danger     Maddock, Stephen
S Death at the Bar     Marsh, Ngaio
T Overture to Death     Marsh, Ngaio
A1 Seven Dead     Farjeon, Jefferson
A2 Belt of Suspicion     Wakefield, H. Russell
B1 U-Boat in the Hebrides     Divine, A.D.
B2 Secret Weapons     Walsh, J.M.
B3 The Mystery of the Smiling Doll     Holt, Henry
B4 Conquest Takes All     Gray, Berkeley

Fall list:

B5 Death of a Peer     Marsh, Ngaio  
B6 A Maid and a Million Men     Dunton, James G.
B7 This Man is Dangerous     Cheyney, Peter
B8 He Packed a Gun     Sanders, C.W.
C1 Death at Dyke's Corner     Lorac, E.C.R.
C2 Five Aces     Hume, David
C3 Aunt Sunday Sees it Through     Farjeon, Jefferson
C4 The Man From Peace River     Reid, Wallace Q.
D1 Fighting Buckaroo     Curran, Tex
D2 The Turquoise Trail     Tuttle, W.C.
37 Verdict of Twelve     Postgate, Raymond
38 Death on a Boat Train     Rhode, John
39 Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town     Leacock, Stephen
40 The Nutmeg Tree     Sharp, Margery
41 Attack Alarm      Innes, Hammond
42 My Own Murderer     Hull, Richard
43 Ironsides of the Yard      Gunn, Victor
44 Thou Shell of Death     Blake, Nicholas
45 The Creaking Chair     Meynell, Laurence
46 Vultures Ltd.     Gray, Berkeley
47 Goose Feathers     Digby, George
48 The Flying Years     Niven, Frederick
49 The Sky Pilot     Conner, Ralph
50 Treasure Island     Stevenson, Robert Louis
I don't have the following books. They have the identifiers L, M or N. Can anyone help?
Mr. Babbacombe Dies     Burton, Miles
Sweet Poison     Penny, Rupert
Wanted for Murder     Holt, Henry
Here are examples of the three types of covers issued that year.
White Circle R

White Circle B6

White Circle D2

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