Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Harlequin Mysteries - Raven House Part V

 "Agents and authors simply believed that Raven House was an ideal dumping ground for trunk manuscripts, failed proposals, and any old shlock that they happened to have lying around"

    Helen Heller, Raven House editor, quoted in Paul Grescoe, The Merchants of Venus (Raincoast Books, 1996), page 147.

Continuing our look at Harlequin's Raven House imprint's authors.

The first is Christina Blake. Like Richard A. Moore, her two Raven House books appear to be the only ones ever published. George Ogan had three titles issued by Raven House. But he was someone at the end of his career (he died in 1983) so these are likely the "lying around" type. 

The next author is the best known of Raven House's forty authors - Cornell Woolrich with over forty movies made from his novels and short stories. His one book for Raven House was the last in the series and is one of only two Raven House Mysteries that remain in print.

Raven House Mysteries 11 - November 1980

Raven House Mysteries 11 back

Raven House Mysteries 12 - November 1980

Raven House Mysteries 12 back

Raven House Mysteries 72 - August 1981

Raven House Mysteries 72 back

Monday, 29 May 2023

Harlequin Mysteries - Raven House Part IV

"Agents and authors simply believed that Raven House was an ideal dumping ground for trunk manuscripts, failed proposals, and any old shlock that they happened to have lying around"

    Helen Heller, Raven House editor, quoted in Paul Grescoe, The Merchants of Venus (Raincoast Books, 1996), page 147.

This quote is a good place to start looking at the forty authors published by Raven House. 

Nine had only Raven House titles which had been published earlier, twenty-seven had only paperback originals and four had both. We've already seen one author, Lana Hutton Bowen-Judd, who published ten originals in one year with Raven. I don't know if they were "shlock" but that many titles must have been "lying around" as the author was nearly 60.

Gary Paulsen's (1939-2021) two books with Raven House are among his over 200 books published from 1966 to 2022. In contrast Richard A. Moore's two Raven House books appear to be his only novels.

Raven House  Mysteries 17 - December 1980

Raven House Mysteries 17 back

Raven House Mysteries 7 - October 1980

Raven House Mysteries 7 back

Raven House Mysteries 20 - December 1980

Raven House Mysteries 20 back

Sunday, 28 May 2023

Harlequin Mysteries - Raven House Part III

In addition to selling Raven House Mysteries on Canadian newsstands and in drug and cigar stores (and maybe bookstores), Harlequin had a subscription plan which is found on the last page of the books. New subscribers received the first four books free plus, each month, four new books. Total cost was $7/month with free shipping.

The first four books had the words "introductory copy" circling the number in the top right front cover and the price had a stroke through it. There is a fifth book with this description but it is unnumbered and is not mentioned in the subscription plan ads. This appears to be a promotional title for the series.

The first books had a September 1980 published date. Oddly they have an April 1980 printing date. Other books (at least to December 1980) follow the same pattern with the print date six or seven months before the published date. Seems odd to print and wharehouse hundreds of thousands of books and tie up capital for half-a-year.

Raven House Mysteries (nn) - September 1980

Raven House Mysteries 1 - September 1980

Raven House Mysteries 7 - October 1980

Raven House Mysteries 7 subscription ad

Friday, 26 May 2023

Harlequin Mysteries - Raven House Part II

In my first post about Harlequin imprint Raven House I listed the 74 books in the series. Here is more about this now obscure series.

The publisher is Worldwide Library. Harlequin is never mentioned but Worldwide's address is Harlequin's head office in Toronto (still there in 2023). Obviously Harlequin wanted to protect their romance brand and not confuse their intended mystery reader audience.

I said there are 43 authors with Raven House books. But four are pseudonyms for an author whose name is Lana Hutton Bowen-Judd (1922-1985). The Sara Woods books were previously published. The other ten were first published as Raven House Mysteries.Here are her 13 Raven House books.

5       Burton, Anne              The Dear Departed

17     Burton, Anne              Where There's a Will

57     Burton, Anne              Worse Than a Crime

1       Challis, Mary              Crimes Past

13     Challis, Mary               Burden of Proof

53     Challis, Mary               The Ghost of an Idea

69     Challis, Mary               A Very Good Hater

9       Leek, Margaret           The Healthy Grave

29     Leek, Margaret            We Must Have a Trial

66     Leek, Margaret            Voice of the Past

21     Woods, Sara               The Knavish Crows

48     Woods, Sara               They Love Not Poison

nn     Woods, Sara               Though I Know She Lies

Raven House Mysteries 1 - September 1980

Raven House Mysteries 1 back

Raven House Mysteries 17 - December 1980

Raven House Mysteries 17 back

Raven House Mysteries (nn) - September 1980

Raven House Mysteries (nn) back

Harlequin Mysteries - Raven House Part I

"The first batch of a new imprint, Raven House mysteries, contains eight books, all paperbacks priced at $2.25 and written by members of the Mystery Writers of America: A FRAGRANT DEATH (#1) by Christina Blake, THE MOSES BOTTLE (#3) by Russell Mead, DEATH IN THE PAST (#4) by Richard A. Moore, DRILLING FOR DEATH (#7) by John Wolfe, TO GUARD THE RIGHT (#8) by Hugh Zachary, RED IS FOR SHROUDS (#6) by Mary Ann Taylor, DANGER ON CUE (#2) by Rebecca Holland and TO KILL A JUDGE (#5) by George Ogan.

This first series is not exactly auspicious. It contains some dreadful hack writing, the low point of which is to be found in ''Danger on Cue.'' This is prose of the ''Paul's lips found mine'' variety. Paul also has hazel eyes with a ''direct, penetrating glance'' (of which the reader is constantly reminded). The best entry is probably ''To Kill a Judge,'' though the ending is overly theatrical. ''Red Is for Shrouds'' has a decent buildup toward the end, when a beleaguered sheriff solves a multiple murder case during a town meeting. Otherwise, it is hard to recommend much in this unimaginative series. "

              Newgate Callendar, New York Times November 15, 1981

Raven House Mysteries was a 74 book Harlequin imprint lasting, not surprising given the above review, only from 1980 to 1982. Callendar is wrong about Raven House being a new imprint. The first book was released in September 1980 and the last (#72) is dated August 1981. Harlequin then renumbered a number of books, likely for the US market, and this is the first group with a September 1981 date. I have put the new number in brackets.

There are 57 paperback originals and 17 previously published titles from 43 different authors. The first book is unnumbered and described as an "introductory copy" on the front cover.     

        Woods, Sarah            Though I Know She Lies
1 Challis, Mary         Crimes Past
2 Taylor, Mary Ann Red is for Shrouds
3 Gillespie, Robert B. The Crossword Mystery
4 Howard, James A. Murder Takes a Wife
5 Burton, Anne         The Dear Departed
6 Wolfe, John         Drilling for Death
7 Moore, Richard A. Death in the Past
8 Shannon, Dell         Rain With Violence
9 Leek, Margaret         The Healthy Grave
10 Kane, Henry         The Midnight Man
11 Ogan, George         To Kill a Judge
12 Blake, Christina         A Fragrant Death
13 Challis, Mary         Burden of Proof
14 Williams, Wynn         Take the Money and Die
15 Gault, William      The Bad Samaritan
16 Masur, Harold Q.       Send Another Hearse
17 Burton, Anne         Where There's a Will
18 Holland, Rebecca Danger on Cue
19 Zachary, Hugh         To Guard the Right
20 Paulsen, Gary         The Sweeper
21 Woods, Sara         The Knavish Crows
22 Mead, Russell         The Moses Bottle
23 Taylor, Mary Ann Return to Murder
24 Fleet, Charles         A Place Like Hessberg
25 Block, C. Burke     Art for Keeps
26 Waugh, Hillary         The Glenna Powers Case
27 Blom, K. Arne         The Limits of Pain
28 O'Callaghan, Maxine Death is Forever
29 Leek, Margaret         We Must Have a Trial
30 Levi, Peter                 The Head in the Soup
31 Goulart, Ron         Ghosting
32 Ogan, George         Murder in the Wind
33 Fox, James M.         The Wheel is Fixed
34 Gillespie, Robert B. Little Sally Does it Again
35 St. James, Bernard April Thirtieth
36 Taschdjian, Claire Classified Death
37 Gault, William      The Cana Diversion
38 Moore, Richard A. Death of a Source
39 Walker, Irma         Murder in 25 Words or Less
40 Wise, William         The Amazon Factor
41 Howard, James A. Death Audit
42 Julian, Robert         Murder in Focus
43 Mead, Russell         The Nightingale Trivet
44 Wick, Carter         Dark House, Dark Road
45 Fox, James M.         A Shroud for Mr. Bundy
46 O'Callaghan, Maxine Run From Nightmare
47 Paulsen, Gary     Clutterkill
48 Woods, Sara         They Love Not Poison
49 Zachary, Hugh         Top Level Death
50 Shannon, Dell         Case Pending
51 Waugh, Hillary         The Doria Rafe Case
52 Blake, Christina         Deadly Legacy
53 Challis, Mary         The Ghost of an Idea
54 Maron, Margaret On Coffee With
55 Ogan, George         Murder by Proxy
56 Roberts, Willo Davis The Face at the Window
57 Burton, Anne         Worse Than a Crime
58 Mead, Russell         The Third One
59 Pici, J.R.                 The Papa Legacy
60 Sadler, Mark         Touch of Death
61 Fox, James M.         The Coven
62 Masur, Harold Q. The Mourning After
63 MacKellar, Sinclair Prompt for Murder
64 Shannon, Dell         The Ace of Spades
65 Howard, James A. Friday is a Killing Day
66 Leek, Margaret         Voice of the Past
67 Walker, Irma         The Man In the Driver's Seat
68 Waugh, Hillary         The Billy Cantrell Case
69 Challis, Mary         A Very Good Hater
70 Dunlap, Susan         Karma
71 O'Donohoe, Nick April Snow
72 Woolrich, Cornell The Bride Wore Black

Plus one book published only in the second series.

33 Halliday, Brett     Dividend on Death

Raven House Mysteries 6 - October 1980

Raven House Mysteries 6 back

Raven House Mysteries 17 - December 1980

Raven House Mysteries 17 back

Sunday, 19 February 2023

George Victor Martin in Canada

George Victor Martin (1900-1959) had three novels published. The last was his most successful, at least in paperback. There are three US editions (under three different titles), one UK and two Canadian.

The first Canadian edition was from Toronto publisher Export Enterprises, one of its first two unnumbered books. There are two printings - May and June 1948. The second edition came out five years later as the Canadian printing of a US edition. 

The US edition was published by Avon Books as one of their Eton imprint. The Canadian printing is renumbered as part of Avon's short lived uniquely Canadian numbering editions from 1951 to 1953. There are 62 of the renumbered Avons from C751 to C812.

Avon C805 - 1953

Avon C805 back

News Stand Library nn - May 1948

News Stand Library nn back