Thursday 26 December 2019

French Canadian Paperbacks Part V

        The most popular genre published by Les Éditions Moderne
Ltée of Montreal from 1944 to 1958 in their imprint Collection 
Petit Format (CPF) was romance; French term “roman d’amour”.
Two hundred and fifty-eight (58%) of the 443 titles were romance. This large percentage is not surprising given how popular the roman d’amour was in France with thousands published in the last century. 
     The CPF titles were all originally published in France. One 
popular author was Magali, pen name of Jeanne Philbert 
(1898-1986), who has at least 28 CPF titles. Her novels
have “heroines [who] win respect through their virtue whilst 
being passionately loved and desired by men whom, in their 
turn, they find supremely lovable.” (Romance and Readership in 
Twentieth-Century France by Diana Holmes, Oxford University 
Press, 2006). 

CPF 385 - March 1953

CPF 387 - March 1953

CPF 530 - October 1955

CPF 448 - Februry 1954

CPF 327 - October 1952

Saturday 21 December 2019

French Canadian Paperbacks Part IV

Continuing discussions of early Canadian publisher Les Editions Moderne's Collection Petit Format.

The art for the imprint was undistinguished, often a generic monochrome drawing, typically of a woman and man. One example is Dashiell Hammett's Pièges à filles (two of six stories from Dead Yellow Women, with two added)This is in contrast to the Presses de la Cité’s Un mystère books. The CFP cover is one of the generic covers while the Un mystère version is from the Dell edition of Dead Yellow Women.

A few times the CPF edition used the cover from the Un mystère edition, but printed in monochrome. An example is Cornell Woolrich’s (as William Irish) L’inspecteur ne sait pas danser (six of eight stories from The Dancing Detective). 

Collection Petit Format 364 - June 1955

Un mystère 24 - 1950

Collection Petit Format 222 - June 1951

Un mystère 46 - 1950

Thursday 5 December 2019

French Canadian Paperbacks Part III

It has been a while since I posted about French Canadian paperbacks. 

Here I describe the 1944-1958 Collection Petit Format (CPF) imprint from Montreal publisher Les Editions Moderne Ltee. There were 443 books in the imprint with romance (258), crime/thriller (84), popular (72) and 29 other. 

There are two authors who had books in each imprint - Peter Cheyney (1 book) and Merlda Mace (also 1), a pseudonym for Madeleine McCoy. Mace's second book Headlong for Murder was first published by New York's Julian Messner in 1943. The CPF title is Ici, danger. Below is Harlequin's edition of her third book Blondes Don't Cry. Both have as a character Christine Andersen.

Harlequin 25 - December 1949

Harlequin 25 back

Collection Petit Format 108 - October 1944

Collection Petit Format 108 back

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