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31 January 2019

I hope 2019 is starting well for everyone.

I have recently sent Field Trip and Convention attendees a list of possible things we can do this year (if you haven’t received it and would like to, please let me know), and as one of them is a Colchester Field Trip, I have loaded into the Field Trip section an account of a reconnoitre that Mike Bramley and I did of the area last summer. It built on some earlier and excellent research by ‘Oldjiver’, as some of you will recall.

Elsewhere, one of the nice things about collecting Dennis Wheatley is that sometimes you find things that you didn’t even know you should be looking for. An example of this is our first Japanese edition. Steve Whatley rang me up to say he had discovered it. It is a sumptuously produced Japanese translation of ‘The Satanist’, and I couldn’t resist buying a copy, even though the cover illustration is rather nasty. It comes in a slipcase and is a quality production if there ever was one. Judging by the back cover, there are at least four more Japanese editions to be found.

Field Trips:
A reconnoitre of the Colchester area

Wheatley around the World:

12 December 2018

Following our traditional Christmas motif, if you click on the link to the right, or on the icon on the left hand side of the Contents page, you can see a selection of Christmas cards sent out by DW or sent to DW.

New to the cards sent to DW section are a card sent to DW by Sir John Pilcher, the British Ambassador to Japan between 1967 and 1972, and a card sent to DW from the Houses of Parliament by Henry Hopkinson, the 1st Baron Colyton, a British diplomat and conservative politician.

Elsewhere, and in the modern era, I was delighted to see that in the 1st December issue of the Guardian, in its Review section, novelist Sarah Waters listed Dennis Wheatley as her 'guilty reading pleasure'.

'Dennis Wheatley novels. I can't defend them at all. Grandiose, repetitive, preposterous to the point of insanity, offensive in a thousand different ways – they’re like giant Donald Trump tweets.'

Well, no offence to Donald Trump, but I know which I’d rather read!

Best wishes to all supporters of this site for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Charles B.

Dennis Wheatley’s Christmas cards through the decades

Christmas Cards written to Dennis Wheatley

Other publications: Critiques/ books and articles about DW
30 November 2018

This month’s update is the report on the Eleventh Dennis Wheatley Convention, which was held on Saturday 13th October. I hope it will bring back pleasant memories for those who attended, and act as a spur for those (if there are any !) who are undecided as to whether to come next time. Not only did we all learn a lot, but more importantly a good time was definitely had by all !

A report on Mike and my exploratory visit to Colchester will hopefully follow next time !

The 2018 Convention

31 October 2018

Thanks to the generosity of Colin McCourt, I can advise that the current edition of 'The Dark Side' has a six page article 'The Devil Rides Again' by Brian J.Robb, discussing the Hammer film of 'The Devil Rides Out'.

I will publish a report of the 2018 Convention and of an Essex 'pre-Field Trip' next time, but in the meantime I have added to the Museum page on DW’s memoirs an obituary of Anthony Lejeune that Steve Whatley wrote for this year's Convention Programme, with Steve's kind permission. Another ground-breaking article from the same Programme will follow with next month’s Convention Report.

Other publications /Critiques / Books and articles about

The Museum: The Final Years
14 September 2018

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. In a previous update I said that I would soon have to stop adding to the Museum section on DW's Library lest it became too voluminous. Despite that I am going to add (at least) one more item.

DW's copy of John Buchan's 'Greenmantle' surfaced this month, and Buchan is so significant, and the story of the book’s signing so charming, that I feel little hesitation in including it. I hope you will not consider me at fault in so doing.

Elsewhere, this year's Convention is fast approaching, and I will shortly be contacting those who are coming for their dinner menu choices and for payment. This year despite rising hotel prices we have a record attendance, which is pleasing.

The Museum: Dennis Wheatley's Library

The 2018 Convention
21 August 2018

This month's update comes thanks to Jamie Sturgeon, and is the inclusion of two articles written by the Wheatleys in 1938 in the 'Articles by' section – both in editions of 'Answers' Magazine, a magazine I had never heard of before.

Away from the usual updates, I should mention that we are now accepting bookings for our Eleventh Convention, which will take place at The Laura Ashley The Manor Hotel in Elstree on Saturday 13th October. Price for the day is £120 for the Convention, buffet lunch and dinner, or £85 if you aren’t joining us for the dinner. This year we are letting everyone organise and book their hotel accommodation for themselves – either at the Convention hotel or elsewhere according to their preferences and budget. If you would like to come and haven’t let me know yet, please contact me.

Elsewhere, I should mention that Mike Bramley and I and our partners had a highly enjoyable day in Colchester a week or so ago, looking for places that figured in 'To The Devil a Daughter' and building on Old Jiver's sterling research that is to be found in The Library, with a view to our possibly having a Colchester / Essex Field Trip some time next year . Mike will be giving a fuller account of what we might do at some stage in the Convention proceedings.

Articles by Dennis Wheatley
19 July 2018

This month’s update contains three new items for the 'Museum'.

In the section on 'Stranger than Fiction', DW's account of writing his 'War Papers' between 1940 and 1941, I am adding to the exhibits General Lord 'Pug' Ismay's copy, which came up for auction earlier this year. This is a tremendous association copy given that Ismay was, before he went on to become the first Secretary General of NATO, Churchill's Chief Military Assistant in World War Two. He and DW were close friends, so this is a rather special copy.

The final two new exhibits are the folders which contain the typescripts of two of the volumes of DW's autobiography

One of them is of 'The Deception Planners' with its original title 'Secrets of the War Cabinet'. The other is of DW's final volume 'The Old Man Said', which was never published in its entirety, with only a small portion being extracted and inserted as a final section ('Autumn') in 'Drink and Ink'. It is good to know that, even if unpublished, the remainder survives. I had the pleasure of discovering these folders in an attic a short while ago.

The Museum : The Post War Years

The Museum : The Final Years
20 June 2018

Anyone who liked the new exhibit which went live in the Museum in the April update – the letter inviting DW to receive his 'Bronze Star' at the end of World War Two - will, I hope, love this month's new exhibit, and perhaps love it even more ...

I have long been searching for it, and thanks to the excellent Ian Sayer, I have now found it – an item relating to one of the annual London Controlling Section reunion dinners. These dinners, of the wartime Deception Planners and their masters – the likes of Lord Alanbrooke, Lord Ismay and Lord Alexander – must have been quite something. What the people around that table didn’t know about the inner workings of World War Two simply wouldn’t have been worth knowing!

Elsewhere, one must never forget the ‘publications’ sections, and here I am most grateful again to my correspondent in the Netherlands Hillebrand Komrij, who has discovered, at some cost, two hitherto unknown pre-war Belgian editions of the Crime Dossiers. Thank you Hillebrand, and please keep them coming!

The Museum : The Post War Years

Wheatley around the World : Belgium
23 May 2018

This month's update is the report on the May 2018 London Field Trip.

The Field Trip took place on Saturday 5th May, and was very much the brainchild of Franklin Johnson, who was unfortunately unable to attend, as were several other longstanding Conventioneers.

In brilliant sunshine we visited DW's last home, 60 Cadogan Square, Melina Place - identified by Phil Baker as the inspiration for the house with the observatory from which the Duke de Richleau rescues Simon Aron near the beginning of 'The Devil Rides Out' - and the nearby site of DW's one time home in St Johns Wood Park, from which he was bombed out in December 1940.

We then had lunch at Rules, London's oldest restaurant, an old haunt of DW’s, followed by a trip to the Churchill War Rooms, where DW worked as a 'Deception Planner' later in the war; and we finished off the day with a champagne reception at the British Academy at Ten Carlton House Terrace as a tribute to DW's fictional character Sir Pellinore Gwaine-Cust, who lived at the non-existent Number Ninety Four.

A superb day was had by all!

The May 2018 London Field Trip
25 April 2018

This month, we have two interesting additions...

First of all, in the Museum's section on DW in World War Two, I have put on display the letter DW received from the American Embassy in November 1946 inviting him to attend the Ambassador's Residence the following month to be presented with his Bronze Star.

What an amazing find ! I had no idea until a few weeks ago that this was how it was done, or that DW's letter still survived!

Secondly, and later than I should have done, I am recording Nicholas Booth's excellent book 'Lucifer Rising', which gives a much more balanced account than most of the extent to which British Intelligence investigated, and sometimes sought to exploit, their opponents' alleged beliefs in the occult.

The book contains a number of references to DW, and a full page picture of DW is rather nicely captioned 'The grand old man'. Nicely done!

The Museum: World War Two

Other Publications:
Critiques/Books and articles about...

22 March 2018

I shall have to stop adding to the section on DW’s Library soon lest it become too voluminous, but this month, thanks to a contribution from Mark Mortimer, I am able to add a book DW owned on Palmistry from immediately after the First World War.

Elsewhere , in the ‘Other Publications’ section, I have added two items. The first is Cathi Unsworth’s latest novel, ‘That Old Black Magic. Cathi has been dubbed ‘The first lady of noire writing’, and this, her sixth novel, is very much a Dennis Wheatley homage. It refers to one of Maxwell Knight’s friends being “a writer of thrillers who was given to throwing a good party”, and has a pentagram scene that compares very decently with the one in ‘To The Devil A Daughter’ – that’s saying something, and the book – like its predecessors a very complex mix of fact and fiction – is skilfully done indeed

In the same section and on a more light-hearted note, I have added Kevin Pearce’s latest and least literary discovery – an action figure of the Duke de Richleau !

And finally, a final reminder in case anyone wants to come and hasn’t let me know - the date of the London Field Trip is confirmed as Saturday 5th May. Full details can be found in the Library.

The Museum :
Dennis Wheatley's Library

Other Publications:

The London Field Trip

19 February 2018

This month, we have some interesting additions

First, for the bibliophiles among you, Kevin Pearce has discovered the only known copy (so far) of the second state gift binding of the ‘Century of Spy Stories’, which is now illustrated on the site.

Second, for those who enjoy reading about DW’s life, I have added, courtesy of Ian Sayer, a photo of a young Captain Hubert Stringer. Stringer was the officer who gave DW his ‘big break in World War II, and never before have we known what he looked like.

Third, another good friend of this site, James Hallgate of Lucius Books in York, has yet again found something of interest to the DW community; a typescript article by DW entitled ‘The making of my Library’. It was originally published by DW’s friend Frederick Cowles in the Swinton and Pendlebury Public Libraries Bulletin in July 1936 (I owe this information to the indefatigable Steve Whatley) and is reproduced here by permission of, and with my usual thanks to Dominic Wheatley. It is far more personal than the account given in DW’s autobiography, and is rather charming - at least to me. A public library publishing a bulletin btw … how times have changed …

Fourth, having updated the ‘Introduction to Dennis Wheatley’ on the website last month, I have updated the ‘About this site’ section this month

And finally, the date of the London Field Trip is confirmed as Saturday 5th May. I will be putting more about this in ‘The Library’ shortly. Do join us!

First editions 1938 - 1939

The Museum – World War II

The Museum – DW’s Library

About this Site

The London Field Trip

15 January 2018

The New Year begins with a nice (and pretty accurate) article commemorating the 121st anniversary of DW’s birth in The Daily Telegraph.

Since it is some years since it was written, I have taken the opportunity of the New Year to re-write and update the opening summary of DW’s life.

Other publications
/Critiques/Books and articles about …

Dennis Wheatley – an introduction

06 December 2017

Following our traditional Christmas motif, if you click on the link to the right, or on the icon on the left hand side of the Contents page, you can see a selection of Christmas cards sent out by DW. New to the section is a calendar for 1935 featuring Tamara Desni from the 1934 film of ‘The Forbidden Territory’.

In the corresponding section on cards sent to DW, there are also two new items; a card sent to DW by Sir Derek Jakeway, the Governor of Fiji, and a card sent to DW by Betty and Eric Wight-Boycott. Exactly who the latter were is obscure (if you know, please tell me !), but they sent him a nice card from Assam !.

All three of these items came to light while perusing the new material in the archives at Leeds University, and are reproduced with the permission of Special Collections, Leeds University Library (MS 1942).

As in years gone by, I wish a very happy Christmas and New Year to all the site’s visitors and to all the many and growing friends of its cause.

Dennis Wheatley’s Christmas cards through the decades

Christmas Cards written to Dennis Wheatley

30 November 2017

This month’s update is the report on our tenth Convention, held at the Laura Ashley the manor hotel on 10th / 11th November 2017.

Please see the Conventions launch page for details of next year’s Convention, which will be held on Saturday 13th October 2018.

We will hope to see many of you there

The 2017 Convention

Conventions and Field Trips

18 October 2017

Last month I added to the site the compliments slip that is often found in copies of ‘The Seven Ages of Justerinis’ (1949). For completeness I am therefore adding to the same section the insert that is often found in ‘The Eight Ages of Justerinis’ (1965) and the insert that is often found in ‘Saturdays with Bricks’ (1961). The latter is not strictly speaking ‘publicity material’, and I always imagine DW fuming at the red tape which obliged him to include it, but it ought to be recorded somewhere, and this place is as suitable as any.

I believe this completes the cataloguing of the inserts generally found in DW first editions (publicity postcards, bookmarks etc.), but if anyone thinks differently, please let me know and I will update the site accordingly !

Elsewhere, and later than I should have, I am including Anthony Cave Brown’s book ‘Bodyguard of Lies’ (1975) , which was one of the earliest books to discuss the top secret ‘London Controlling Section’, and DW’s role in it.

Finally, and more recently, Colin McCourt very kindly passed me earlier in the year a press cutting from the Daily Express of April 14th 2017, in which Dave Davies of ‘The Kinks’ (younger brother of Ray) discussed his ‘six best books’. I am delighted to say that weighing in at number three was ‘The Ka of Gifford Hillary’ .

This also gives me an opportunity to say that sometimes, when I am sent DW related material by well-wishers to the site, I stagger putting them on the site rather than put them all on-at-once, to avoid having ‘feast followed by famine’. I hope those who have sent me excellent pieces which are awaiting publication will indulge me and understand why I do this. Hopefully never for more than a few months, and ‘thank you’ !

Hutchinson & other publicity material

Other publications
/Critiques/Books and articles about …

Other publications
/Critiques/Books and articles about …

13 September 2017

When I was creating the room in the Museum on DW's Library, I was conscious that there was a gap (and there are others) … the gap was that I was unable to exhibit any of the memoirs signed to DW by the grandees of World War II. Thanks to the assistance of that wonderful grandee of the bookselling trade Maggs Bros, who recently handled four lovely specimens, that has now been rectified.

The Museum : DW's Library

Also, thanks to the good offices of an old friend of this site, Clive Williams, I am recording in the 'Other Publications' section a copy of the compliments slip that is occasionally found in copies of 'The Seven Ages of Justerinis' (1949).

Hutchinson & other publicity material

Elsewhere in DW news, we have a DW book being offered for a record sum. Christopher Lee's inscribed copy of 'The Devil Rides Out' is being offered by London booksellers Henry Southeran for the princely sum of £30,000. If you buy it, please let me know!

16 August 2017

It must, I suppose, be something about how the human brain works, but sometimes something ‘hides in plain sight’. This is what happened with this month’s star exhibits. They had been sitting in a pile of papers, and for some reason which I absolutely cannot fathom, I had not until now appreciated just how important they are. The exhibits in question are the ‘thank you’ letter that the guest of honour wrote to DW following the launch party for ‘The Forbidden Territory’ on 3rd January 1933, and a follow-up thank you from the same personage, the rather impressive looking Belgian Ambassador, for a price list for wine. Even though he had just written a best seller, DW was not (yet) giving up on his career in wine. What an amazing find !

Elsewhere, I am updating the site to record an excellent talk given by Chris Josiffe at Treadwell’s Bookshop on 10th August about Rollo Ahmed, one of the three main experts that DW consulted while writing ‘The Devil Rides Out’. I have taken the opportunity to add to this section a full list of Phil Baker’s various (and excellent !) talks about DW and his works.

The Museum Room Six : Instant success as an author

Broadcasts etc.

20 July 2017

First of all I’m delighted to advise that Paul Adams has written another book with DW topicality – his new book Secret Luton includes a section on DW at Biscot Camp and his meeting Gordon Eric Gordon Tombe.

Secondly, I’ve added a couple of recent-ish talks to the section on Broadcasts etc; and I’m hoping to add entries for Phil Baker’s various talks there shortly.

Third, although they were mentioned elsewhere, I have added details of the three 2013 Bloomsbury paperbacks to the paperback section,

and fourth, for completeness, I’m adding a section to the site cataloguing the various Ebooks of DW’s novels – this last section is very much ‘work in progress’.

Other publications : Critiques/books and articles about DW …

Broadcasts etc.

Paperbacks: 1953 to current

16 June 2017

Thanks to feedback following the launch of the new Room on DW’s Library, I am able to add a few more illustrations of DW’s own copies of his own works

I am also, thanks to Richard Humphreys, able to add an illustration of the last missing dust jacket for Hutchinson’s ‘Century of …’ series – the jacket for ‘A Century of Nature Stories’, which, while not strictly DW related, will nevertheless be of bibliographical interest.

The Museum : DW’s Library

Hutchinson’s ‘Century of …’ series
26 April 2017

After last month’s massive update, this month sees a smaller number of items added. In the new Room on DW’s Library I am adding one further book – a book on Voodoo from the Occult section of DW’s Library.

The Museum : DW’s Library
The Occult

I have also added further references to the sections on Wilde and on Anthony Powell; the latter giving the source for our knowledge that Powell enlisted DW’s help with part of the plot for ‘A Dance to the Music of Time.’

Oscar Wilde
Anthony Powell

Finally, and with thanks to Kevin Pearce, Dorothea Rota and Steve Whatley, in the bibliographic section I have added further details of recipients of the limited editions of ‘Old Rowley’ and of ‘The Devil and All His Works’.

'Old Rowley'
'The Devil and All His Works'
29 March 2017

This month sees a further special exhibition go live in the virtual Museum – an exhibition on DW’s Library. I had been meaning to create this for some time as his Library was such an important facet of DW’s life, but in the event it has taken some two years to assemble and comment on the material. I hope you will enjoy the new Room as much as the others; the extent of DW’s Library was very impressive.

The Museum : DW’s Library

My thanks go, as always, to the various contributors, whose names are given at the bottom of the pages, and who include various booksellers, Leeds University Library’s Special Collections for some early manuscript material, and our friend Steve Whatley for one item. I would also like to pay tribute here to Nigel Burwood of ‘Any Amount of Books’, who wrote two excellent online articles about DW’s Library in ‘Bookride’ in 2011, which set a very high standard to be followed.

16 February 2017

A further recent find in Leeds University’s Special Collections is some material on the exhibition that DW and the Bond Street Galleries put on in 1967 to publicise the paintings of Fijian artist Semisi Maya. I am indebted as always to Special Collections for their unfailing courtesy and for their permission to display it.

The Museum Room 9: Semisi Maya

Viewers will recall the rather charming sketch DW drew of himself as a young(ish) wine merchant that I put on display in the Museum last month. My thanks to Darren Nugent for pointing out to me that the ‘Two Pipes’ of Port that DW sold in the sketch would have been a staggering one thousand four hundred and forty bottles (!).

The Museum Room 5: The Wine Merchant

Finally, if any DW aficionados live near Southend and are around on Saturday 11th March, Darren has reminded me that there is a talk on ‘Dennis Wheatley – the man, his life and his works’ as part of the Essex Book Festival. Subject sounds good, but not too sure about the speaker …

The Library : The Essex Book Festival 2017
20 January 2017

First of all my thanks to my Netherlands correspondent Hillebrand Komrij for giving me the details of a hitherto unknown Dutch edition of ‘The Malinsay Massacre’, and for letting me reproduce on the site an article he has written about the Crime Dossiers – thank you Hillebrand !

Wheatley around the World : Holland

Secondly, it gives me great pleasure to include a rather charming new exhibit in the site’s ‘virtual Museum’.

The Museum Room 5: The Wine Merchant

In the New Year I was browsing the material in Leeds University’s Special Collections (first visited with Darren Nugent in 2015; I hope to go there again with Darren soon), and I came across a rather lovely drawing by DW showing him extolling the virtues of laying down Port to one of his noble customers. My (profuse) thanks to Special Collections and the Wheatley family for permitting me to display it.


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