Category Archives: Thrillers

Bestsellers Lost and Found

At Sheffield Hallam University this Saturday (November 18th) there will be  a presentation about ‘Bestsellers Lost and Found’, based on the 1937 set of cigarette cards: Famous British Authors. Here’s a sample of the writers that Wills chose to commemorate: Advertisements

Larkin and Greyfriars

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am rarely so enthusiastic as when exploring old issues of the Magnet comic, in which ‘Frank Richards’ each week delivered new instalments of the exploits of Harry Wharton, Billy Bunter and co. at Greyfriars School. Visiting Hull just in time to catch the deeply enjoyable Philip […]

‘Spy’ by Bernard Newman

The excellent news that came to me this week is that the grandchildren and step-grandchildren of Bernard Newman have taken control of his literary estate, and are engaged on the project of republishing his books. I have therefore spent two very enjoyable train journeys reading his Spy of 1935. This tells how he, Bernard Newman, […]

Coming back to Dornford Yates

I read quite a bit of Dornford Yates when I was researching post-war thrillers, but I hadn’t looked at one of his novels for quite a while. Last Saturday, though, I was in the excellent Daisy Lane Books in Holmfirth, and noticed that they had a row of Yateses, so I thought I’d take another […]

Pagan, by W. F. Morris

Pagan (1931) is by W.F. Morris, the author of Bretherton: Khaki or Field Grey?, that slightly mad yet highly enjoyable novel about a British officer who, while suffering from amnesia, becomes a general in the German Army. Morris is one of those ex-soldier novelists for whom the war is always the main theme, and the […]

Causes of the First World War (by Dennis Wheatley)

I’m always interested in novelists’ versions of the beginning of the war, and none is more challenging to conventional historians’  ideas than that of Dennis Wheatley in The Devil Rides Out (1934).  The wise and experienced Duc de Richleau is explaining to his companions in adventure the power of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: […]

‘Red for Danger’ by Evadne Price

With my interest in Evadne Price rekindled by Matt Houlbrook’s biography of Netley Lucas, I thought I’d take a look at one of the novels she wrote after her stint as ‘Helen Zenna Smith’. Red For Danger (1936) belongs to that quintessential inter-war genre, the comedy thriller. There is a plot based on crime, big […]

‘The Statue’ by Eden Philpotts and Arnold Bennett

The Statue (1908) by Eden Philpotts and Arnold Bennett links in a way to the ‘Future War’ fiction of the pre-1914 era, since the plot is overshadowed by the possibility of crisis and conflict between France and Germany. Both countries are vying to provide a huge loan to the Sultan of Morocco, with a rivalry […]

Mike Ashley’s ‘Adventures in the Strand’

Mike Ashley knows his fiction magazines; he is, after all, the author of The Age of the Storytellers, that invaluable resource for anyone interested in popular fiction between 1890 and 1940. Adventures in the Strand is his new book; it examines the long (1891-1930) relationship between the Strand Magazine and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, its […]

Lady Chatterley’s biscuits

I mentioned Lady Chatterley a few weeks back, and since then I’ve been thinking about her again. In fact I’ve won a prize with her. From time to time I enter the Spectator literary competitions, and a recent task was to imagine a scene from a famous novel if it had been sponsored by some […]