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|22 December 2009||
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 page, you
can see a selection of Christmas cards sent out by DW.
You can also see a selection of cards sent to DW by the various celebrities of the day.
In the cards sent by DW section, I’ve added cards for 1964, 1967-70, and 1973-4, some of which were sent to this site’s friend Iwan Morelius. In addition I’ve added a more unusual item – a 1951 Christmas poster. Presumably this was stuck up somewhere in public in Lymington.
In the cards sent to DW category, I’ve added cards from Maxwell Knight (“M”), Lord Clanmorris (“George Smiley”), novelists Hammond Innes, Howard Spring and others.
As in previous years, many thanks to Steve Whatley for providing some of the material.
As tradition demands, the icon on the left will disappear on Twelfth Night.
A happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year to all the site’s visitors and to all friends of its cause.
|Dennis Wheatley’s Christmas cards through the decades
|23 November 2009||
This month sees the opening of the second of the main
rooms in the site’s virtual Museum. This room covers
DW's life in World War I.
A significant amount of the material is being displayed in public for the very first time, and I would like to express my thanks to all those who have kindly allowed me to display material from their collections, and once again to thank the Wheatley family for their permission for, and encouragement in the overall venture.
I hope you will find the new room interesting and informative.
Elsewhere, Steve Patton's excellent review of the 2009 Convention has been added to the site. Thanks to all those who made it such a successful event !
|The Museum : Room Two - World War I
The Dennis Wheatley Convention 2009
|29 October 2009||
This month sees a number of updates to the pictorial section on Books and Articles about DW. It includes an edition of Criminology Magazine from the 1960s which features a profile of DW, an article about DW in Club Magazine for Men from the 1970s, and an article in Collectors Weekly from the same period which talks about DW’s passion for collecting, and in particular his collection of figurines of Napoleon’s generals.
It also includes from 1976 an intriguing little book called ‘Dear John’ in which an eleven year old boy asked the celebrities of the day for their favourite quotes. DW’s quote is a rather interesting and unusual one, and I reproduced it.
From later publications, Little Shoppe of Horrors 13 (1996) contains an account of Colin McCourt’s visit to DW’s old home at 48 Queens Gate before it was renovated, and the Sunday Times Magazine of 17th March 1996 contained Ian Sayer & Douglas Botting’s article which first revealed the existence of DW’s “DEGT” manuscript, in which he gave his own account of his best friend Gordon Eric Gordon Tombe’s disappearance and murder. For further details of this critical event in DW’s life, read Phil Baker’s book !
|14 October 2009||
At last the moment we’ve all been waiting for ! As some of you already know, Phil Baker’s long awaited biography of DW is now available – and what a work it is !
As those of you who have read his previous books will know, Phil is an enormously entertaining writer, and one who takes his research incredibly seriously.
My hat goes off to Dedalus for publishing such an impressive tome. At 699 pages long including references and index, they have enabled Phil to do ample justice to his subject. He has had access to a huge array of unpublished material and has produced a book which, while full of detail, is eminently readable … indeed it reads as well as a DW novel itself.
Phil has split the book into fifty shortish chapters (with catchy titles such as ‘… in a Cloud of Blue Smoke’) that ensure that someone with a passing interest in DW will not get bogged down, while thanks to his painstaking research, virtually every chapter includes large amounts of information which is being made public for the very first time.
It is at the same time dispassionate and sympathetic to DW … an enormously difficult act to pull off , and I guarantee that having read it, you will be dipping into it (or re-reading it) for many years to come.
Congratulations, Phil, and my advice to any Wheatley enthusiasts who haven’t ordered their copies yet – order your copy now !
|30 September 2009||I am once again in Richard Humphreys’ debt. He has extremely kindly given me his original copy of the Daily Mail for 29th March 1944, which contains an article by DW entitled ‘Have you read these yet ?’
||Other publications / Articles by DW|
|Moving forward some 65 years, the Daily Mail for 30th July contained an illustrated question about whether DW’s ‘The Devil Rides Out’ predicted World War II. It also made reference to Colin McCourt’s excellent musical.||Critiques / Books & Articles about Dennis Wheatley|
|On the musical, many thanks to Colin for advising that excerpts can now be seen on YouTube. To go to them, click on the link to the right, and then click on the link on the bottom of the page, which will take you to the excerpts. I can’t recommend the musical enough …||The Devil Rides Out: Colin McCourt’s musical version|
|On the Book Club editions, William Stewart from Halifax, Nova Scotia (my first Canadian correspondent, I think) has very kindly pointed me to an article about the development of Book Clubs in the 1930s, and the role that DW’s friend Christina Foyle played.||Book Club Editions|
|Ivor Sampson, who has played a key role in the campaign to save Clinton, has very kindly sent me two photos of Clinton in 2002.||The Museum / DW’s Homes… Clinton House|
|Last, but most definitely not least, Duncan West has doubled the size of the Other Publications / Other section by providing me with details of three modern novels which contain passing reference to DW or his novels … Reginald Hill’s A Killing Kindness and Phil Rickman’s Wine of Angels and Midwinter of the Spirit.||Other publications / Other|
If you aren’t already aware, if you’re in London, The Cabinet War Rooms are running a rather good special exhibition called Undercover: Life in Churchill’s Bunker.
It features a plan showing where DW worked, quite a decent display on him (at least as large as those on some prominent generals), and if you pick up an old fashioned phone you can listen to an excerpt from an interview DW gave about his war work. Highly recommended. The exhibition closes on 30th September 2010.
|The Cabinet War Rooms & The Churchill Museum|
|21 August 2009||
First of all, a massive ‘thank you’ to Matthew Coniam, whose ‘Dennis Wheatley Project’ I wrote about last time. Matthew has succeeded in locating a copy of the first film ever made of one of DW’s books, Phil Rosen’s 1934 rendering of ‘The Forbidden Territory’, and he has very generously given me a copy. I hope to show it at the 2009 Convention, and I hope Matthew will be able to join us for the viewing, which must be the first for many, many years. Thank you, Matthew !
For a link to Matthew’s site and his review of the film, go to the Links section. For details of the 2009 Convention, to be held at Elstree on 7th November, click on the link below. If you want to attend, please contact me now.
The 2009 Convention
As for updates, this month I am adding some updates to one of my favourite sections – the earliest DW paperbacks. As far as I know, only Bob and I have really followed these, and at first sight it might seem strange that I should find this neglected corner so fascinating – but the books are so transient (the paper is thin, and they were not made to last), they come from such an evocative time (many would have been read in wartime), and some of the cover designs are so striking I cannot help but love them. I am recording three previously unrecorded items – two versions of the 60th thousand of Three Inquisitive People (one English, one Australian) and what survives of a very battered copy of Uncharted Seas with a previously unseen cover illustration. They may not be signed first editions, but they deserve to be loved !
Finally, I am logging a recent novel which features DW as a quasi - fictional character - ‘The House of Lost Souls’ by F G Cottam. Other references to DW in recent novels will follow shortly.
|Other publications / Other|
|05 August 2009||
This month I have added a new sub-section to the ‘Other Publications’ section illustrating magazines in which DW wrote articles (a complete compendium of DW’s known articles is to be found in the ‘Bibliography of all things Wheatley’ section).
It includes various magazines which contained book reviews by DW, an article entitled ‘Is There A Lost Continent ?’ in Prediction Magazine in 1938, an article entitled ‘It Was Fun being a Wine Merchant’ in The Journal of the International Wine & Food Society, and a couple of recipes in celebrity cookbooks.
I am very grateful to Luke Honey for alerting me to ‘Celebrity Cooking For You - Dishes Chosen by the Famous’ compiled by Renee Hellman, which was published in 1961. It contains recipes for Duck Montmorency and for one of DW’s favourite drinks – Moselle (or Peach) Bola.
As Luke pointed out to me, in Chapter V of The Devil Rides Out (‘Embodied Evil’), when the Duke and Rex return to Simon’s deserted house, Rex helps himself to ‘a slab of Duck a la Montmorency’ before he and the Duke venture upstairs for a nasty surprise …Thank you, Luke !
|If you want to see the latest developments regarding the fate of one of DW’s homes, Clinton House, see The Library.
|Finally, in the Links section, I’ve added a link to Matthew Coniam’s Dennis Wheatley Project. Matthew has embarked on a project similar to the one currently being undertaken in our Library, to read each of DW’s books in the order in which they were written, and to write reviews. Good luck, Matthew !
|26 June 2009||
Thanks to Lin Campbell in New Zealand, I am able to add a very intriguing item – a first edition of Contraband with a variant dust jacket. The text block collates perfectly to the standard first edition, so the question is – what is it ? Given that all the jacketed inscribed copies I have seen have the traditional dust jacket, and given that Australia and New Zealand used pounds, shillings and pence in the 1930s, I am inclined to say provisionally that this may have been a special jacket for the colonial market, but for the moment this is pure speculation. Thanks, Lin for advising me of such an intriguing item !
In foreign publications, a copy of DW’s first foreign publication,
I’ve belatedly become aware of a 2004 drama documentary called ‘Fooling Hitler’ produced by Tiger Aspect Productions. It gives a (not wholly accurate) account of the work of the Deception Planners in World War II, and the cast includes Peter Pacey as Dennis Wheatley. It’s not entirely flattering to DW, but is nevertheless enjoyable. It’s not on general release, but does get shown on TV from time to time.
In the Other Publications section I’ve added a recent edition of the Sunday Times Magazine which mentioned DW and, thanks once again to Steve Whatley, a new book on Churchill’s Bunker, which has a few references to DW.
Some small updates have been made to the notes concerning the wrap around band sometimes found on copies of the first edition of The Devil Rides Out to take account of recent discoveries.
Those of you who are interested in social networking may be interested to know there is a new social networking site dedicated to Dennis Wheatley at Socialgo.com – I’ve put a link on the Homepage. Socialgo.com is a venture which is supported by current members of the Wheatley family, so if you’re into social networking, please support it.
Finally, I’ve put some news in the Library on Phil Baker’s forthcoming, book on DW The Devil is a Gentleman: The Life and Times of Dennis Wheatley. The scheduled publication date is 9th September and I’ll have to take a few days off work so I can read it immediately it comes out !
|5 June 2009||
Next month I will revert to books and publications, but while I’m assembling material and getting permissions for the next Room in the Museum, I thought that perhaps it was not too early to have the Museum’s first ‘special exhibition’.
It’s on DW’s Homes, and seeks to list all his homes, identifying where they are (or were, if they are no longer standing), showing pictures of what they look (or looked) like, and saying something about them.
One in particular, Clinton House, where he lived from 1913 to 1922, is in a state of severe disrepair, and the opportunity to see it may soon be gone.
I hope you will find the section interesting and I am always interested in new material if anyone has any fresh material to add to the section.
|20 April 2009||
In the section on books and articles relating to DW, I’ve added some old and some more recent material.
Among the older material, and thanks to Richard Humphreys, I’ve added a 1934 edition of PictureGoer, which has a photo of the filmset of The Forbidden Territory, and I’ve also added a copy of The Bystander from 1939 which contains a review of the film An Englishman’s Home, to the script of which DW made a contribution. I’ve also added two copies of Hampshire – The County Magazine from the 1960s which have short pieces on DW.
Among more recent items, I’ve added Chorion’s Catalogue, which has their inaugural piece on DW and, thanks to Paul Adams, The Borley Rectory Companion, which also has a section on DW.
Among foreign editions, I've added the missing episode from the serialisation of The Fabulous Valley in the 1930s U.S. magazine 'This Week' and a Dutch reprint of The Launching of Roger Brook, the latter thanks to Steve Whatley.
Finally, among the Board Games, I’ve added an illustration of the second edition of Invasion, and updated the Notes. I’ve also added a variant box for Alibi and update the Notes on that, thanks again for the latter to Steve Whatley.
|30 March 2009||
I've updated the Notes for Collectors to take account of some recent sale results.
In the section on books and articles relating to DW, I have included Iwan Morelius' wonderful souvenir book about the 2008 Convention, Shadows in the Attic, a guide to British supernatural fiction 1820 - 1950, which has a short biography of DW, and Shivers Magazine for February 2004, which also has an article on DW - for this last, many thanks to Paul Barnes.
Thanks to Clive Williams for finding a recent US reprint of The Quest of Julian Day.
Thanks to Steve Whatley for supplying me with a copy of the publicity postcard for Old Rowley and of a paper advertising the 1957 omnibus volume Roger Brook in the French Revolution.
In the same section I have added a note about the wrap-around band that is sometimes found on the first edition of The Devil Rides Out, and that may not be quite what it seems.
As a final piece of thanks for this month, Clive Williams has done some diligent research into the little studied Heron paperbacks - the fruits of his labours have been added to the appropriate section.
|5 March 2009|| This month sees the first room of the Dennis Wheatley Museum open on the website.
As some as you will know, this is a project I have been working on with great enthusiasm for some time. One day perhaps there will be a museum of 'bricks and mortar' devoted to DW, but until there is, my aim is to record and describe some of the key exhibits relating to his life online.
I am starting with 'Room One' which is devoted to DW's early life, and this will be followed (d.v., as my father used to say) by a further sequence of rooms devoted to his later life. These will be interspersed between the 'regular' updates, with perhaps one more going live before the Autumn (when Phil Baker's book comes out) and the others at stages thereafter.
The aim of the venture is to bring together material which would never otherwise be seen in the same place, and to preserve some of this very transient material electronically in case anything (God forbid) befalls any of it.
I also hope that the material displayed will act as a companion to Phil's eagerly awaited book when it comes out.
I am grateful to the various people who have 'found me' material, and to the Wheatley family for their permission to display it.
Thank you all.
|The Museum: Room One|
|28 January 2009|| The Fall 2008 issue of Penny Blood, the U.S. Magazine edited by Nick Louras, contains a long article about DW. Well done Nick !
In the same section I have added the March 1976 issue of Film Review and, thanks to Jim Devlin, Who’s Who in Horror and Fantasy Fiction (1971), which has a good biographical entry on DW.
In the ‘Short Stories & Extracts’ section, I’ve added two copies of Creasey Magazine and two further editions of The Spy’s Bedside Book, of which the first is thanks to the ever vigilant Richard Humphreys.
Finally, many thanks to Jamie Sturgeon for pointing out that Frederick Cowles’ book Vagabond Pilgrimage was dedicated to Dennis Wheatley.
A few more ‘spots’ by members of the DW fraternity will follow shortly, and a number of additions have also been made to the Bibliography of all things Wheatley section.
Critiques /Books & Articles about Dennis Wheatley
Short Stories / Extracts
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