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|7th June 2021||
I find in collecting, a curious law of nature seems to operate. When you want to find something, somehow it usually turns up. And not just for me. I was speaking the other day to a collector of a really obscure brand of early motor car, and he has experienced exactly the same thing.
In my case, having written about it in the February update, with the help of a little inspired digging, I have managed at last to locate the only known (although there ought to be a second) copy of DW’s unpublished work on stamps, 'Scenes and Portraits'.
It turns out that the book was written to accompany and explain the contents of a 'stamp table' which DW gifted to his step daughter Diana and her family in 1962, the best part of two decades after she had gone to live in the United States. It showcases, as one might expect, the depth of DW's knowledge of history, and I would like to express my considerable gratitude to the Wheatley family for allowing me to include on the website a complete transcript of the work.
'Scenes and Portraits'
|11th May 2021||
A short while ago, in connection with 'Unpublished Wheatley', I was corresponding with my friend Darren Nugent about DW’s film script for 'An Englishman’s Home', an invasion themed film made just before WWII, of which DW was one of the script writers. Darren commented about how this might have left DW singularly well placed when the following year he was asked by chance for his suggestions on how the country might best resist a real-life, and probably imminent, invasion.
Darren’s comments set me thinking, and the result is a new page, 'Fortune favours the well-prepared' in the Room in the Museum covering DW’s career in World War Two.
The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to me that DW had prepared himself as much as any mortal could for the chance which the Gods threw his way when the official charged with seeking ways to help Britain defend itself in its darkest hour just happened to be allocated DW’s wife as his taxi driver.
World War Two
|16th April 2021||
For bibliophiles, I’ve added an additional note about the dedication page in 'The Black Baroness'. It appears that some early readers may have mis-understood it.
For those who enjoy ‘The Museum’, I’ve put the full 1927 ‘Wine Scroll’, which has occasioned a couple (so far) of very entertaining and informative lectures at Conventions from Declan Leary, online.
I have also added to the final room some updates on DW’s burial plot at Brookwood Cemetery, for which I would like to express my thanks to Anna Mannion.
The Wine Merchant
The Final Years
|10th March 2021||
To the new suite on ‘Unpublished Wheatley’ and ‘Unlocated Wheatley’, I have added a third (and probably final) section, on the topic of ‘Important disposals of Dennis Wheatley material’. I hope you will enjoy it.
I have also added a couple of snippets to the ‘Book Notes’ section.
First, that on a preliminary page of ‘The Launching of Roger Brook’, DW noted that his earlier Duke de Richleau novel ‘Codeword Golden Fleece’ had been based on actual events. Despite enquiring of various specialists of the period, I have been unable to discover any further information about this. If any readers are military specialists of the period, if they can assist in researching this further, it would be greatly appreciated.
I have also added on the same page that the motto under the coat of arms on the first edition of ‘The Launching of Roger Brook’ contains a couple of apparent mistakes. Curiously, while the book trade often picks up on one of these (that ‘Sorsque’ should read ‘Forsque’), they never seem to pick up on the other. Perhaps, like Roger Brook, they dozed off in their Latin classes …and perhaps they were far from alone !
Important disposals of DW material
|11th February 2021||
This month I have created a new heading on the main Contents page to act as a nexus drawing together all the mentions of unpublished DW material on the site under the heading 'Unpublished Wheatley'. The individual descriptions of pretty much all of these items remain exactly where they were, but they can also now be accessed from this central point, so those interested in ‘Unpublished Wheatley’ can also see all these items listed together in a single location.
Away from written material, I have also done the same with a new launch section covering important physical objects associated with DW of which the whereabouts have now been lost. Hopefully it may serve as a prompt to get them rediscovered.
I very much hope you will find these new sections of interest.
|7th January 2021||
Our first update for 2021 is the report on our thirteenth Convention, which took place on Saturday 31st October last. We wondered how it would go, as we had never attempted a ‘virtual Convention’ before, but we need not have worried. We had a record number of attendances, including several ‘new faces’, all of whom clearly enjoyed the event.
What we will do Convention-wise in 2021, it is too early to say, other than to say that there will be one. If it is physical, we will aim to offer a ‘virtual option’, but if the circumstances are such that it has to be purely virtual like last year’s, I think we can confidently predict another success.
My very best wishes to all the site’s contributors and to all those who visit it; especially to those who provide (or have provided) kind feedback.
Whatever trials and tribulations we may face, I hope all my fellow aficionados have a healthy and enjoyable New Year. Charles
The 2020 ‘virtual Convention’ Report
|15th December 2020||
As is our custom, this month’s update has a Christmas theme.
In the 'cards sent by DW' section we have, thanks to Steve Whatley, a suggestion of what DW’s Christmas card of 1937 looked like.
Meanwhile, in the 'cards sent to DW' section, we can add a card sent to DW by Major-General Geoffrey White, a soldier of the Second Boer War, and later the Commandant of the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich.
I have also, thanks to observations from Steve Whatley and Jonathan McColl, done some tidying up of various parts of the site, most notably updating some of the links in the ‘Broadcasts’ section.
My thanks to all the many supporters of this site for the interest and support they have given me in this and other years, and my best wishes for an incident free, happy and prosperous Christmas when it comes along, and for 2021.
Christmas cards sent by Dennis Wheatley
Christmas cards sent to Dennis Wheatley
|23rd November 2020||
As mentioned in the last update, I have recently received some new material from a couple of followers of the site.
First, from Steve Whatley we have another discovery – that DW was the guest in the popular Woman’s Hour programme on BBC Radio on 17th April 1956.
Second, and thanks to Gaute Kongsnes in Norway, we now know what the covers of two of the Norwegian reprints, both of Roger Brook novels, look like. Both have rather attractive covers.
Many thanks to you both, And please keep the intel coming !
I hope everyone is having a comfortable ‘lockdown’.
Other Publications: Broadcasts
Wheatley Around The World: Norway
|31st October 2020||
Our 2020 Convention, the thirteenth, took place as planned on Saturday 31st October, and was held for the first time and due to current circumstances on ‘zoom’. Some twenty people attended, and it was a tremendous success. The usual Convention Report will follow shortly.
Meanwhile, and thanks to some recent material which has come my way, I am able to add some new and interesting items to the site’s ‘virtual Museum’.
First, chronologically, is DW’s leaving certificate from HMS Worcester.
Second, and rather fitting given that we are close to Remembrance Sunday, is a portion of the map which DW used as a young officer during the battle of Passchendaele, and which he later framed and hung on a wall in his house to remind him of his flirtations with the grim reaper in the Great War.
Finally, and from roughly the same era, we are now able to see what the interior of his home of the period, Clinton House in Streatham, looked like, due to the discovery of a family photo album.
That the local council allowed the house to be ransacked and then demolished is still a great sadness to me.
I should add that I have also received fresh material from Steve Whatley in the U.K. and from Gaute Kongsnes in Norway, and I will be putting these on the website later, and I hope they will forgive me for saving them up for a subsequent update so ‘feast’ is not followed by ‘famine’.
The DW Museum: The Early Years
The DW Museum: World War I
DW’s Homes: Clinton House
|29th September 2020||
Since various wartime anniversaries are going on at the moment, it seems appropriate to add a little more concerning DW’s secret wartime work.
First of all, I have added to last month’s update about the beautiful double agent that DW looked after at the start of the war something that I have only just learned - that DW’s stepson William Younger was so taken with her that he proposed marriage.
Second, a few of us have always wondered if DW was a party to the war’s most closely held secret, 'Ultra' – or that England had broken 'Enigma' and other top secret enemy codes.
Thanks to the original typescript of what was to become 'The Deception Planners', we now have the answer, and it is as amusing as it interesting. Yes he was, but his commanding officer, Johnny Bevan, was unaware that he knew !
Finally, for those who are attending this year's 'virtual Convention', a reminder that it will take place on Halloween (Saturday 31st October). For those attending, I’ve put a link to the programme on the Conventions page.
The Museum: World War Two / 1
The Museum: World War Two / 2
Dennis Wheatley Conventions
|31st July 2020||
My apologies for the lack of a June update.
This months’ updates are mostly 'Museum' related.
First-of-all, having had a fascinating and enjoyable correspondence with one of her descendants, I have decided to put a little more on one of the opening pages on World War Two about ‘Fritzi’ Gartner (née Stottinger), Maxwell Knight’s double-agent whose cover story was that she was Dennis Wheatley’s research assistant.
Elsewhere, I had never, until last year, come across any of the collages that DW made to decorate his house using items from his stamp collection. Jonathan Frost very kindly filled that gap for me the best part of a year ago, and the example he showed me now goes proudly on display on the website.
And finally, with Covid-19 still very much in circulation, it will come as no surprise to any of you that we have decided to postpone our next ‘physical’ Convention. Instead, we will be making our next Convention, on Halloween, Saturday 31st October virtual, and we will all be attending via ‘zoom’ or similar. We still have a few places left, so if anyone would like to join and has not yet registered an interest with me, please do contact me as soon as possible. All with an interest in DW are welcome!
The Museum: World War Two
The ‘Museum’ Room Nine: One of DW’s ‘stamp collages’
The 2020 Convention is going virtual !
|15th May 2020||
A May Miscellany
Here are a few more recent discoveries to help keep the boredom away during ‘lockdown’ …
First of all, the ever-vigilant Steve Whatley has come across some more foreign editions; an Italian edition of ‘Murder Off Miami’ probably dating from the mid 1980s, and Japanese editions of ‘Murder Off Miami’ and ‘Who Killed Robert Prentice’.
And second, we haven’t quite got to the bottom of the magic box that came up for auction in January. Courtesy of the box, I’ve been able to add DW’s sumptuous photo album from his days at Grove Place to the section of the Museum on DW’s homes.
I’m also able to add, courtesy of the same box, an intriguing little notebook from the early 1930s that could easily have gone missing over the ages and that sheds an interesting light on what life must have been like for DW as a struggling would-be author before the successful publication of ‘The Forbidden Territory’, revealing as it does that before his success with that and his short story ‘The Snake’, he had several publishing rejections.
I’ve put a commentary beside it because what it tells us about DW in 1932 is interesting, and if anyone can tell me the precise word-count of the published ‘Forbidden Territory’, I will be very grateful – you’ll understand why if you read this piece and look at the illustrations of the notebook pages … it’s possible that the ‘Forbidden Territory’ we all enjoy is a slightly edited-down version of the original …
Wheatley Around The World: Italy
Wheatley Around The World: Japan
The Museum: DW’s Homes
The Museum, Room Six: Instant success as an author
|16th April 2020||
More ‘Lost and Found’
Last month I described how DW’s long-lost first novel, 'Julie's Lovers' had turned up along with a handful of other interesting items in January in a London auction room. One of the other items in the cardboard box was DW’s own copy (number one of four) of the first, 1963, edition of Iwan Hedman and Jan Alexandersson’s bibliography of DW’s works, ‘Tre Decennium med Dennis Wheatley’, or ‘Three Decades with Dennis Wheatley’, which was the first bibliography to be produced of DW’s works in any language.
Seeing this, it seemed to me that (1) I should reproduce part of it on the website, and (2) it would give me an opportunity to put what Bob Rothwell wrote about this bibliography in the early days of the website into an updated context.
I have therefore prefaced Bob’s excellent piece with a few words of introduction, and added illustrations of all the editions of Iwan’s bibliography to the section, notwithstanding that they are recorded elsewhere on this site.
I am pleased to say there was even more than this in the box, and some of the other contents will be shown on the website in the coming months ...
Good luck to everybody in these troubled times.
If I may quote Ken Gallacher on the subject:
‘Keep Calm and read Dennis Wheatley’
Four decades with Dennis Wheatley
|19th March 2020||
‘Lost and Found’
At the 2012 Convention, I gave a short talk entitled ‘Unpublished Wheatley’ in which I listed the main pieces that DW was known or suspected to have written, and of which no copies were known. There were three novels (Julie’s Lovers, Of Vice and Virtue and The Lusty Youth of Roger Brook, although it was then unclear if the last had ever really existed or not) and five shorter pieces.
By the end of last year copies of the last two of the novels and three of the other pieces had been found, which I considered quite remarkable. I am delighted to say that we can now add the first full-length novel that DW ever wrote to that list.
The original typescript of Julie’s Lovers, which DW wrote as a teen-ager while under shell-fire in France in World War One plus part of the original manuscript were parts of a lot which came up for sale at one of the London Auction Rooms on 20th January this year.
Fortunately they were purchased by someone with a close connection to this site, so they are in safe hands, which is good.
If you can beat that for ‘New Year good news’, I will be very impressed.
Don’t hang up your hats yet though … apart from those few short written pieces, DW’s dancing faun from WW2 days and the English version of the 1934 film of ‘The Forbidden Territory’ with its missing eight minutes have yet to be found …
And while I’m on, best wishes to everybody in these difficult times …
World War One
|13th January 2020||
The New Year starts with the report on the twelfth Dennis Wheatley Convention, which was held at the end of October last year.
The Convention took place on Saturday 26th October, and was held as before at the Manor Hotel in Elstree.
If you are interested in attending our event in 2020, please keep an eye on the main Conventions and Field Trips page, although if we know of your interest already either I or one of our co-organisers will aim to keep you updated directly as well.
This site wishes all its supporters a very happy New Year !
The twelfth Dennis Wheatley Convention
26th October 2019
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