Friday, March 27, 2015

Quote of the Day

Gabrielle was so taken aback that for a second she just stood there while Susan rained blows on her head; she then recovered, seized the first thing that came to her hand - which happened to be a jugsaw puzzle with which one of the Removes proposed to amuse herself after supper - and hit Susan over the head with that. As the pieces fell round Susan like a miniature snow-storm, she reeled a bit, then went into the attack again and kept on banging Gabrielle over the head with Gail's book, which made the most satisfactory and resounding thuds. Gabrielle, retreating, put up her arms to cover her head, but Susan was still getting in some shrewd blows, amid yells of encouragement from the Removes who hadn't seen such a fight since they had left the kindergarten - when suddenly the door was flung open and a prefect called Avril Barrett strode into the room.

From SUSAN'S TRYING TERM, Chapter 6, More Trouble.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jane Shaw Postcard

Last year my friend Jan Johnson sent me this postcard that she picked up at a book sale in Crail. The postcard was issued to promote the publication of Susan and Friends: the Jane Shaw Companion in 2002. The following information is given on the back of the card:

Jane Shaw and Alison Lindsay, 1994 (photo: Ernest Marchand)
Susan and Friends: the Jane Shaw Companion (2002), edited by Alison Lindsay, is published by Bettany Press, price 
£14.99 including UK postage).

Jumble Sale

An illustration from Jane Shaw's last published short story, Jumble Sale (1963).

Monkton Combe near Bath

This is the countryside between Bath and Monkton Combe, which served as the setting for three of the Penny books (Threepenny Bit, Fourpenny Fair and Crooked Sixpence). In Twopence Coloured, Penny and Jill become friends with Laura and John Mallory during their trip to France. The Mallory siblings invite the girls to visit them in Monkton Combe (in the book the village is called Friars Combe). The Carter sisters become regular visitors to the area. The village is used once again in the novella by "Jean Bell", A Girl with Ideas, penned after the Penny series had been laid to rest. In that story, the village is given the name of Thornton Combe.

Quote of the Day

They went out to the Masters' garden and waited there for the police. Inspector Collins was absolutely delighted to catch George and said all sorts of nice things to Penny. In George's pocket he found the missing fifty pounds and gave it to Stephen to return to the vicar.
"Better hurry back and put his mind at rest, poor old chap," said Stephen, and they all raced back to the Fair in his rattle-trap.

From FOURPENNY FAIR, Chapter 15, Proof.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Family Trouble

Illustration from the very beginning of Family Trouble. Nicky has just fallen out of the apple tree and nearly "flattened" Edward.

Quote of the Day

I thought of retiring to bed with a headache, but as I had never done such a thing in the whole of my life before, far less on Carnival day, that would start all sorts of awkward questions from the family. And I must say at this point that it's very, very difficult to do anything at all out of the ordinary, such as retiring to bed on Carnival day, when you have a family like mine standing round and asking questions.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dotty's Latin Quotes

Twice in the Susan books Miss Johnson speaks Latin to Susan. The first time is at the end of Chapter 2 of Susan at School, when Susan gets stuck in the window and Dotty tries to free her. She tells Susan to be patient, with the Latin proverb Festinatio tarda est, which is equivalent to our More haste, less speed. The second time is in Chapter 14 of Susan's Trying Term. Again speaking philosophically, Dotty quotes Plautus, saying Quid te igitur retulit Beneficium esse oratione, si ad rem auxilium emortuum est? This means What was the use of being bountiful in talk if all real help was dead in you? Although Susan agrees with her teacher, we are told that "her knowledge of Latin consisted of amo, amas, amat and she wasn't even too sure of that". This is yet another example of Susan and the Carmichaels' parents continuing to throw money away on a private education for their children, even though it is obvious that they never learn anything.

Where is Susan? (full dj)

A complete and very well preserved dust jacket of Where is Susan? Click on the image for a much enlarged view. On the left are ads for the Jean series.

Moochers Abroad (spine)

Willow Green School

Sometimes people ask me about a Jane Shaw book with the title of Willow Green School. "Is it any good and where can I get hold of a copy?" The answer is that you can't get it because this book does not exist. There are three books in the Thomas series: Looking After Thomas, Willow Green Mystery and The Tall Man. The first and third stories are set in Paris and Interlaken, respectively. Willow Green Mystery is set in Kent but there is no school called Willow Green School. The Waring boys attend a prep school called Bishop's and the girls go Ridgeways. But the book is in not a school story. So where did the myth of "Willow Green School" originate? The answer is that on the Collecting Books and Magazines website there is a Jane Shaw page with a partial bibliography, and one of the books listed there is Willow Green School, a misprint.

Quote of the Day

Robin opened his mouth to put Sara in her place, when Uncle Thomas intervened hurriedly:
"Much as I'd like to have you boys beside me, I think it would be better if you went in the back. More room." So Sara made a triumphant face at Robin, and climing into the front seat, was proceeding to make herself comfortable, when her mother looked up from the welter of luggage and bicycles and boys which was surrounding her and said:
"Don't sit about, Sara, get up and do something."

From HIGHLAND HOLIDAY, Chapter 2, Arran Revisited.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Moochers Abroad (blurb)

The rather wordy blurb from the back cover of The Moochers Abroad, published by Lutterworth Press in 1951.

Note on HotGL: Angela's Name

The two heroines of House of the Glimmering Light are, first of all, Angela Winter and, in a slightly secondary role, Noël Sinclair. However, when the girls introduce themselves, the following curious dialogue about their names takes place:

"Noël Semple," said the girl. "What's yours?"
"Angela Winter."
"Between us," murmured Noël, we sound like a Christmas carol-."
Angela giggled. "As a matter of fact, my name isn't really Angela at all, it's Elizabeth, but once when I was small I got involved in a pageant as one of those Non Angli, sed Angeli experts - you know - and my Aunt Fanny must have been feeling sentimental, for she said I was such a living example of it that she insisted on calling me Angela ever after. So she says, but she never liked the name Elizabeth."

This is puzzling. Why all this apparently unnecessary fuss over Angela's name? I've tried to think of some possible reasons:

1. Jane Shaw is saying in a roundabout way that she's not too keen on the name Elizabeth. This theory crumbled at once. Amanda's Spies, The Crew of the Belinda and The Matchmakers all have sympathetic characters named Elizabeth. There is also Elizabeth Rogers, the budding actress and classmate of Susan's at St. Ronan's, and Dizzy from Anything Can Happen and Nothing Happened After All;

2. This passage sets up Angela's "angelic" nature and appearance, which will help her in the undercover work she is going to become involved in;

3. It's a way of emphasizing the close bond between Angela and her aunt, which will be important later on in the story.

I think the latter two reasons are quite possible, but maybe there is something else at play here.

Quote of the Day

As she watched, unexpectedly, so unexpectedly that she jumped, a little graceful ship in full sail came across the path of the moon on the water. It came so silently, without lights, it had such an inexplicable air of strangeness that despite its beauty she felt there was something wrong about it, something uncanny: no living thing could she see on board. The moon went behind a cloud, the Loch was darkened, but still the white ship gleamed.

From HOUSE OF THE GLIMMERING LIGHT, Chapter 5, The White Ship.