Sunday, February 26, 2012

Venture to South Africa illustration

An illustration from Chapter 11 of Venture to South Africa, At Loch Vaal. The Eliots spend the January holidays at Uncle Alec's cottage near the lake. Joseph, the native boy gardener displays the snake he has killed, which is a great thrill to the Eliot children, although snakes on the loose is something that Mrs. Eliot is not too happy about.

Places in Jane Shaw: Gallery Road

Wichwood Village is a thinly disguised Dulwich; for example, Tollgate Road is really College Road. But one name that is the same in both the Susan books and real life is Gallery Road. This is where Maggie Zimmerli ran the art gallery and also where Bill and Susan rode around delivering newspapers when Bill took over Timmy's paper route for a few days in A Job for Susan.  

Jane Shaw Quiz 27

Which places in Jane Shaw's stories are based on the Cornish village of Crackington Haven?

The answer to Quiz 26: The famous, albeit fictional, famous film star whose house is invaded by Ricky, Julie and Fay is Larry Payne.

Quote of the Day

Sara was being reluctantly forced to the conclusion that the infant had taken a dislike to her on sight when she saw a gleam of hope. Scrabbling in her bag she brought out a piece of Toblerone, rather tattered as to its wrappings but still recognizable. The crying stopped as suddenly as if a tap had been turned off. Sara broke a piece and handed it to the child, now turned towards her and solemnly watching her with wet, black eyes. Having swallowed it the child smiled, a very small watery one, but still a smile. Sara was enormously gratified to see it, and grinned at her.

From BRETON ADVENTURE, Chapter 13, Sara Does Some Rescue Work.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Collins' Annual 1960

This is the cover of the Collins' Girls' Annual 1960, which contains Susan and the Spae-Wife, the last of the Susan short stories.

Jane Shaw Quiz 26

Who is the famous film star whose house is invaded by Ricky, Julie and Fay in Crooks Tour?

The answer to Quiz 25: Caroline's father is called Gavin Storm and he is a lawyer.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Places in Jane Shaw: Davaar Lighthouse

In Highland Holiday, Sara would look out of her bedroom window every night to wait for beam coming from the Davaar Lighthouse across the water on the east of Kintyre. The lighthouse was built in 1854 by David and Thomas Stevenson. In this picture, we can see Arran in the distance. When Sara visited, the lighthouse had a keeper, but in 1983 it was automated. In Highland Holiday, Sara never saw the beam that she had been used to in her childhood because it was deactivated as an economy during the War.

Susan Interferes (Children's Press)

The most familiar cover of Susan Interferes shows Susan arguing with the irate Swiss school master. Here is an alternative Children's Press cover, showing Pea-green toting his air gun on the quay at Rosendorf upon the arrival of the Ghastlys to that, hitherto, peaceful village. Once again, Midge's blond locks have turned black...

Jane Shaw Quiz 25

What is the name of Caroline's father and what is his profession?

The answer to Quiz 24: The Head Girl in the Northmead books is Elizabeth Lamont.

Quote of the Day

"A nice writing-pad, yes, please?" murmured a soft sing-song voice.
And for an awful moment Sara thought that her recent struggles with the stove, not to mention being practically burned to death, had turned her brain. She looked away, then back again, but the apparition didn't vanish, but stood there, a smile on its black face, clutching a writing-pad of hideous violet in its black hands.
With unwonted strength of mind Sara said, "Oh, no, thanks - not to-day," and the poor little Indian, for after all he was only coffee-coloured, and not even black coffee, as he had seemed to Sara, said:
"Nice hairpeens? Nice safety-peens, please?"
Sara, who was frightened half out of her wits, said again, "Oh, no, thank you, I have a lot of nice safety-pins," and longed for Mrs. Macalister to come to her rescue, and prepared to shut the door. To her dismay the little man looked ready to cry, so gaining more confidence she suddenly said, "Look here - I'll buy a writing-pad if you'll light my Primus for me-"

From HIGHLAND HOLIDAY, Chapter 4, Tribulations of a Cook. It's hard to imagine an episode like this making it into print today.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Buried Treasures 3

Yesterday was an important day for me. After almost a year of full-time study and practice, I finally began my new career as a massage therapist. My first client had made an appointment for 5 p.m. and I was a bit nervous before it; butterflies in the stomach, that sort of thing. To regain my composure, I read my first ever Susan story, Susan's School Play. This is the colour frontispiece of the Collins' Annual, showing cheeky Peregrine dressed in a nymph's tunic backstage. The other girls take to him, but Susan and Midge have had their fill and concoct a plan to get rid of him. I love this story. And when my client arrived, I was much more relaxed and thankfully all went well, thanks to this wonderful short story...

Jane Shaw Quiz 24

Who is the head girl at New House in the Northmead books?

The answer to Quiz 23: the unusual item that Sid rashly promises to provide for the orphan boys' play is a suit of armour.

Quote of the Day

But the embarrassments of the evening were not yet over. After the next group of yodelling songs Peregrine left their table and went and spoke to the leader of the band; and the next thing that Susan and the Carmichaels knew, Peregrine was standing up on the front of the platform reciting! As bold as brass, standing there reciting in German! And the strange thing was, everybody seemed to be enjoying it! Not only the ghastly Gascoignes, who were nearly doubled up with laughter, but lots of other people were laughing like anything too. Even Aunt Lucy and Uncle Charles laughed a little, although Susan was jolly sure that they didn't know what they were laughing at. Only Susan and her cousins didn't laugh. They sat with straight faces, wishing that either they, or preferably Pea-green, would drop dead.

From SUSAN INTERFERES, Chapter 8, Happy Days with the Gascoignes. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Twopence Coloured illustration

A scene from Chapter 11 of Twopence Coloured, Market Day. Penny discovers Louise at the  Manoir de la Falaise.

Jane Shaw Quiz 23

In Fourpenny Fair, Sid makes a rash promise that he will find an unusual item to help advertise the play that the boys at the orphanage are putting on. What is this item?

The answer to Quiz 22: Bill and Stobbs like to collect stamps.

Quote of the Day

And then, old Mr. Starky went on, when he came out to Willow Green and he saw the jewels he got the fright of his life, because they were the most beautiful collection of jewellery that he had ever seen, and he knew then that there was something wrong - no woman with a collection like that would take them to an obscure little refugee jeweller in Maidstone if she wanted them re-set, she would take them to the best jeweller in London or Paris.

From WILLOW GREEN MYSTERY, Chapter 10, Exit Esmeralda.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pea-green's Chemistry Set

Here's an illustration from the 1958 short story Susan and the Home-made Bomb. We can see the awful Peregrine Gascoigne toying with his chemistry set, which he has set up in the so-called rumpus-room, just as Susan arrives. As usual, Susan is going to come out much the worse after her encounter with Pea-green.

Jane Shaw Quiz 22

What hobby does Bill Carmichael share with his friend Stobbs?

The answer to Quiz 21: Susan's nickname for Oliver Maddison in Susan's Kind Heart is Twist, and his special talent is that he sings and plays the guitar.

Quote of the Day

So at last they were on the road, six people and two dogs and a lot of luggage being quite a load for the new car which, however, seemed to take it in its stride. They left Cape Town and went across a wide plain, where bright autumn leaves still clung to the vines, towards a great range of mountains. They could see the road, going up across the face of the mountains like a scar; but what the Eliots couldn't make out was where it went - it just suddenly seemed to disappear.

From VENTURE TO SOUTH AFRICA, Chapter 5, The Journey Ends.