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‘HERON’ EDITION

(The site is most grateful to Jonathan McColl of Dingwall, Ross-shire, who shared the details of his own original collection with Bob and assisted with the following information. Thanks are also due to Gary Friggens for giving Bob first refusal for the above amulet which was a free gift with his subscription and to Clive Williams for his research into the Heron paperbacks.)

 

In 1971 the following advert appeared in various Sunday newspapers for a unique illustrated edition of Dennis Wheatley's fictional works.  Described as

"A collection of almost sinful luxury"

and with

"No Devil’s Agreement
to claim your free volume"

they were to be obtained through a monthly subscription of only £1.35 per volume with the first volume free!

Heron advert

(click here for a text-only version of this advert)

In 1974 Weekend magazine carried the following colour advert on their back page, by which time the price had gone up to £1.50 plus p&p:

Heron advert

 

The edition was published by Edito-Service S.A. of Geneva by arrangement with Hutchinson and distributed in the UK by Heron Books of London.


Edito-Service / Heron Books were responsible throughout the 60s, 70s and early 80s for publishing 'Collectors Editions' of famous authors, including Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas, Aldous Huxley, Alistair MacLean, Wilbur Smith and many many others.

For details of other Heron Books, click here


In this Wheatley collection 52 of his titles were eventually published between 1972 and 1977.  The missing titles are an odd assortment and seem to make no sense.  These are
Gunmen, Gallants And Ghosts,
The Man Who Missed The War,
Sixty Days To Live  and
Star Of Ill-Omen.

The books, designed by William B. Taylor with a frontispiece portrait of Dennis Wheatley by Mark Gerson, are all a uniform 205mm x 120mm, bound in red moroccan leather-looking plastic (sorry – 'richly grained scarlet Skivertex'!), and embossed in gilt and black on the front and spine.  As a bonus for Wheatley fans, each title also contains illustrated scenes from the story by various artists.

hardback edition

18 titles were published in 1972, 14 in 1973, 14 in 1974, 3 in 1975, none in 1976, and 3 in 1977.  As this collection was a monthly subscription one, the publishing dates obviously have no relevance to their release date.  The actual release dates appear to be very haphazard: for some months, no deliveries, then a parcel with a number of titles equating to the missing months, then back to monthly for a time, then missing months, and so on.

As far as I can ascertain, the adverts and issues continued up to the early to mid 80s, after which the Heron company disappeared without trace!

With the exception of the 1977 titles, all titles for distribution in the UK were published by Heron Books, London and printed by Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England.  Those which were distributed outside the UK were published by Edito-Service S.A., Geneva and printed in various locations
(I have seen the following:
  printed in Switzerland;
  printed in France;
  printed in France, bound in Switzerland;
  printed in Italy, bound in Switzerland).
The 1977 titles were published by Leisure Arts Ltd, London and printed by Hazell Watson & Viney.

With respect to the hardbacks, in the majority of titles, underneath the publishing details, there appears a reference number of either 4 numbers (for those printed in England) or a series of separated numbers/letters (for those printed outside England), or, rarely, nothing at all.

UK code example

UK code example

non-UK code example

Non-UK code example

The English numbers give no clue as to their meaning, but it is the other set of characters that give the answer to the issue order. The code starts off with 13 043 and is followed by two numbers ranging from 01 to 49 (the issue number).  This is followed by nothing or R and a single number ranging from 1 to 6 (e.g. 13 043 21 R2) (we speculate, without any evidence, that the R might refer to a Reprint no.or a Region code?).  The final 3 issues in 1977 had only the 4 figure UK codes.


The following table shows all the 'Heron' hardback titles in order of issue:
(For a list in alphabetical order of title, look at the 'Heron' edition section of the bibliography page)

Title Publish Date Edition Details Publisher Code
The Devil Rides Out 1972 Original illustrations by Ian Miller Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 01
The Launching Of Roger Brook 1972 Original illustrations by Richard Dalkins Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 02
The Satanist 1972 Original illustrations by Richard Dalkins Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 03
They Found Atlantis 1972 Original illustrations by Ian Miller Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 04
The Forbidden Territory 1972 Original illustrations by Tony Benyon Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 05
The Scarlet Impostor 1972 Original illustrations by Ian Miller Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 06
To The Devil—A Daughter 1972 Original illustrations by Michel De St.Ouen Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 07
The Prisoner In The Mask 1972 Original illustrations by Tony Benyon Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 08
The Shadow Of Tyburn Tree 1972 Original illustrations by John Holder Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 09
Faked Passports 1972 Original illustrations by John Holder Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 10
The Ka Of Gifford Hillary 1972 Original illustrations by Peter Whiteman Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 11
The Eunuch Of Stamboul 1972 Original illustrations by Steve Henderson Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 12
Strange Conflict 1972 Original illustrations by Jeffrey Morgan Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 13
The Quest Of Julian Day 1972 Original illustrations by Steve Henderson Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 14
The Black Baroness 1972 Original illustrations by Jeffrey Morgan Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 15
Uncharted Seas 1972 Original illustrations by John Roberts Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 16
The Rising Storm 1972 Original illustrations by Barry Wilkinson Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 17
The Man Who Killed The King 1972 Original illustrations by Malcolm Poynter Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 18
V For Vengeance 1972 Original illustrations by Steve Henderson Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 19
The Haunting Of Toby Jugg 1973 Original illustrations by David Hollinshead Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 20
The Fabulous Valley 1973 Original illustrations by Alan Saunders Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 21
The Second Seal 1973 Original illustrations by Anthony Matthews Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 22
Come Into My Parlour 1973 Original illustrations by P. Rixon Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 23
The Golden Spaniard 1973 Original illustrations by Peter Whiteman Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 24
Unholy Crusade 1973 Original illustrations by J. O'Gara Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 25
The Dark Secret Of Josephine 1973 Original illustrations by Steve Henderson Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 26
Traitors' Gate 1973 Original illustrations by Rosemary Honeybourne Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 27
The Sword Of Fate 1973 Original illustrations by Peter Whiteman Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 28
Mayhem In Greece 1973 Original illustrations by Hugh Marshall Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 29
Three Inquisitive People 1973 Original illustrations by Shirley Bellwood Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 30
Mediterranean Nights 1973 Original illustrations by Ellen Gilbert
(compilation as 1963 Arrow edition)
Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 31
They Used Dark Forces 1973 Original illustrations by Hugh Marshall Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 32
The Rape Of Venice 1974 Original illustrations by Patrick Rixon Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 33
Contraband 1974 Original illustrations by Peter Whiteman Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 34
Vendetta In Spain 1974 Original illustrations by Tony Matthews Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 35
The Sultan's Daughter 1974 Original illustrations by Jenny Thorne Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 36
Codeword – Golden Fleece 1974 Original illustrations by Kathy Barton Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 37
The Wanton Princess 1974 Original illustrations by Roy Spencer Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 38
The White Witch Of The South Seas 1974 Original illustrations by Stephen Bennett Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 39
Bill For The Use Of A Body 1974 Original illustrations by Gary Rees Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 40
Evil In A Mask 1974 Original illustrations by Jim Russell Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 41
The Island Where Time Stands Still 1974 Original illustrations by Bill Jarvis Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 42
Gateway To Hell 1974 Original illustrations by Virginia Smith Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 43
Curtain Of Fear 1974 Original illustrations by Janet Archer Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 44
The Ravishing Of Lady Mary Ware 1974 Original illustrations by Anne Knight Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 45
Black August 1974 Original illustrations by David Hollinshead Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 46
Dangerous Inheritance 1975 Original illustrations by Gordon King Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 47
The Irish Witch 1975 Original illustrations by Patricia Ludlow Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 48
Desperate Measures 1975 Original illustrations by Tony Morris Edito-Service S.A., Geneva 13 043 49
The Secret War 1977 Original illustrations by Tony Morris Leisure Arts Ltd, London 3121
Such Power Is Dangerous 1977 Original illustrations by David Whitfield Leisure Arts Ltd, London 3171
The Strange Story Of Linda Lee 1977 Original illustrations by David Whitfield Leisure Arts Ltd, London 3081

In addition to the hardbacks a series of softbacks was also issued, smaller in size and with a simpler design.  I have no idea if all the titles were repeated in the softbacks, nor when or how they were issued.

softback edition 1 softback edition 2

So far the following softbacks have been identified. Those that may also have been issued but that have not yet been positively identified are shown with question marks at the bottom of the table.

Title Publish Date Publisher Code
Note: the books in italics are in a purely notional order - if you come across any of them, please let me know
To The Devil A Daughter 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 001 (19)
The Launching Of Roger Brook 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 002 (19)
The Satanist 1972 ES, Italy 13 078 003 (19)
The Devil Rides Out 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 004 (19)
The Prisoner In The Mask 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 005 (19)
The Shadow Of Tyburn Tree 1972 ES, Italy 13 078 006 (19)
The Forbidden Territory 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 007 (19)
Strange Conflict 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 008 (19)
Uncharted Seas 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 009 (19)
The Scarlet Impostor 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 010 (19)
Faked Passports 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 011 (19)
The Rising Storm 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 012 (19)
Ka of Gifford Hillary 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 013 (19)
The Eunuch of Stambol 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 014 (19)
The Quest of Julian Day 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 015 (19)
The Black Baroness 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 016 (19)
V For Vengeance 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 017 (19)
Come To My Parlour 1973 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 018 (19)
The Haunting of Toby Jugg 1973 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 019 (19)
The Fabulous Valley 1973 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 020 (19)
The Sword of Fate 1973 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 021 (19)
The Second Seal 1973 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 022 (19)
Mayhem In Greece 1973 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 023 (19)
They Used Dark Forces 1973 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 024 (19)
The Man Who Killed The King 1972 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 025 (19)
The Golden Spaniard 1973 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 026 (19)
Dark Secret Of Josephine 1973 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 027 (19)
Unholy Crusade 1973 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 028 (19)
Traitor’s Gate 1973 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 029 (19)
Vendetta in Spain 1974 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 030 (19)
Mediterranean Nights 1973 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 031 (19)
Contraband 1974 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 032 (19)
Codeword Golden Fleece 1974 Heron Books, Italy 13 078 033 (19)
Three Inquisitive People (?)      
Dangerous Inheritance (?)      
Gateway to Hell (?)      
Black August (?)      
The Island Where Time Stands Still (?)      
The White Witch of the South Seas (?)      
Bill for the use of a Body (?)      
Rape of Venice (?)      
The Wanton Princess (?)      
The Sultan’s Daughter (?)      
Evil in a Mask (?)      
The Ravishing of Lady Ware (?)      
Desperate Measures (?)      
Such Power is Dangerous (?)      
The Secret War (?)      
They Found Atlantis 1972 ES, Italy 13 078 049 (19)
Curtain of Fear (?)      
The Strange Story of Linda Lee (?)      
The Irish Witch (?)      

If there is anyone reading this that has a more accurate knowledge of this very attractive collection, then please contact me.

(link to e-mail)

Any contributions for inclusion on this page would be gratefully received and acknowledged.

 

 

 

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This page last updated       Copyright © 2002-2006 Bob Rothwell. 2007-2017 Charles Beck.

 

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