Monday, January 30, 2012

Buried Treasures 2

From left to right, Fay, Julie and Ricky of Crooks Tour fame. This is the colour illustration from their short story Crooks Limited.

Jane Shaw Quiz 21

A new friend for Susan and the Carmichaels in Susan's Kind Heart is Oliver Maddison. What nickname does Susan give him and what is his special talent?

The answer to Quiz 20: Ann Burton is in Susan's year at school. She is well known for two things: her lisp and her fame as a "terrible gossip" who is always first with the news.

Roches de Saint Quay 2

A Google Earth picture of the rocks by Alexander Jung, which links to here. The photo is called A Cormorant Drying its Wings.

Roches de Saint Quay

Here is a map of Brittany showing where the Binic stories were set. I was really curious about the mysterious islands that are only visible at low tide. The Storms and the Moochers go there for la pêche, or shrimping. Readers of Breton Adventure will recall the memorable chapter when Sara spends the day shrimping on these rocks and then absent-mindedly leaves her catch behind. These islands turned out to be the Roches de Saint Quay. When the Moochers visit them, they are described as "barren, sun-scorched rocks". The map shows the area including St. Brieuc, where Jane Shaw's very first story begins, Binic and the Roches de Saint Quay. Farther along, as the coast tips northwards, is the Île de Brehat that was visited by Susan and Penny.

Quote of the Day

Opposite the house was the Picture Gallery, which was quite famous, and in front of the houses in Tollgate Road were grass verges surrounded by black and white posts. There really was a tollgate, too, farther up the road, a trap for unwary motorists who had to pay threepence or go round another way; and there was an old millpond where the Carmichael children had fed the ducks in their extreme youth. To Susan, coming from the tenements and drab greyness of Glasgow, Wichwood was like a fairy-tale village. To-night, as they came through, it looked cosy and gay. The little shops were bright and Christmassy; the toyshop had blobs of cotton-wool snow on its windows and crowds of little boys round its door.

From SUSAN PULLS THE STRINGS, Chapter 2, Troubles. Thanks to Pamela Airth for suggesting this section for the quote of the day.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Susan's Trying Term frontispiece

Like the frontispiece of Susan at School, that of Susan's Trying Term is also an indoor scene. Susan has just wiped the paint of a picture only to find another one underneath, using the dubious method of rubbing it with a turpentine-soaked rag! Of course, the painting turns out to be a long-lost masterpiece (a de Hooch, as a matter of fact) and will restore the fallen fortunes of the St. Ronan's. This illustration is very nice but poor Midge has had her hair change colour yet again, this time making her a redhead. This was necessary for readers to be able to tell the difference between her and Tessa. 

Places in Jane Shaw: The String Road

When I visited Arran last year I followed the footsteps of Jane Shaw and all of her most famous characters. Caroline and Sara, Penny and Susan all crossed the island on the famous String Road, built by the much admired road engineer Thomas Telford (1757-1834). This is the very end of the road as it reaches Blackwaterfoot on the west side of the island. In Jane Shaw's books, people always stop right at the top of the road to glimpse both sides of the island simultaneously. I didn't manage this as the bus I was on raced right over without even slowing down, and on the way back I took the long route around via Lochranza. But, like Penny's father, I did smell the peat all of a sudden, as described in Penny Foolish. "There!" he cried, "D'you smell it?... It was always just there at that cottage that we got the first whiff of peat!"  

Places in Jane Shaw: Île de Brehat

The Île de Brehat is just along the coast from Binic. It is visited  in Chapter 9 of Twopence Coloured (Penny Leads the Procession) and Chapter 7 of Susan's Kind Heart (A Day to Remember), where its famous rocks are described as "the softest shade of rose-pink, just as the guide-books said".

Jane Shaw Quiz 20

Who is Ann Burton in the two books set at St. Ronan's?

The answer to Quiz 19: Robin and Jane are the main characters in Magic Ships.

Quote of the Day

Penny went off into a dream, thinking about Greta's cooking.
"Well, of course, if you want to stay here all day drooling about food..." said Jill. "But we thought that you'd like to come with us to Innsbruck."
"How can I?" said Penny. "I'm still in quarantine till all the scabs come off, and that won't be for at least another week."
"I shall go in front of you," said John, "ringing a leper bell and calling, 'Unclean" Unclean!'"
Penny giggled and Stephen said, "Good idea, but perhaps a little flamboyant. I thought we'd just drive down in the old jalopy, and you can sit in it while we go into the shops. We want to collect some photographs that we left to be developed."
"Oh, good," said Penny.         
From FIVEPENNY MYSTERY, Chapter 3, More Mystery.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

400th Post: Susan at School frontispiece

As the 400th post on this blog that I started almost a year ago, it's a pleasure to post this beautiful frontispiece from Susan at School. My mum always finds it difficult to find a Christmas present for me. When I saw that this first edition of Susan at School was going for a song at Richard Roberts Bookseller in Kilmarnock, just down the road from my mum's house in Annbank, Ayrshire, I asked her to snap it up for me. And it arrived today. A marvellous drawing of Susan and Tessa in the school library at St. Ronan's discovering a mysterious map inside a book. The dialogue goes:
""Hallo," she [Susan] said, "it's a sort of map. I don't remember seeing this in the book. What d'you think it is?"
Tessa leant over her shoulder. "It looks like a plan of some kind," she said. "There's a house and an orchard and gardens-"
"It's a plan of this house," said Susan, "it's St. Ronan's! Gosh, that's very interesting!"
And the mystery begins. I love both the stories set at St. Ronan's, and it's interesting that both frontispieces are of the school library...

Susan at School ads

This is from the first edition dust jacket of Susan at School.  As the series was at the height of its popularity, Collins invested a little more in the advertising by printing a picture. The cost of printing an illustration must have been astronomical in those days and had quite an impact on price. In 1958, the Collins edition of Susan at School, with colour frontispiece, cost  5s. net. In 1966, the Seagull Library edition, with the same internal illustrations but no colour frontispiece cost 4s. net. Quite a difference that colour plate made!

Jane Shaw Quiz 19

Which Jane Shaw book features brother and sister duo Robin and Jane?

The answer to yesterday's question: when we are introduced to Susan, she is studying mathematics.

Quote of the Day

"Are you daft?" said Ricky. "How can I sit there doing nothing but history? It's so jolly dull. Besides, there are other things to think about, such as catching those crooks."
Her friends laughed jeeringly. "Catch those crooks!" said Julie. "You've been trying for years to catch a crook, and so far you haven't even managed to see one, far less catch one!"
"Yes, well, I haven't been very lucky so far," Ricky admitted.

From the short story CROOKS LIMITED.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Penny Screamed in Terror

An illustration from River Adventure, Chapter 12 of Penny Foolish.

Jane Shaw Quiz 18

When we are first introduced to Susan in Susan Pulls the Strings, she is doing her homework. Which subject is she studying?

The answer to yesterday's question: the legendary long-lost treasure at Susan and Midge's school is known as Ronan's Heap.

Quote of the Day

"Keep by the door," whispered Mike, through shut teeth, "and if we look like being stuck with the kitchen sink - scoot!"
It proved to be a wildly exciting sort of game, something like Tom Tiddler's Ground, Belinda thought, but with terrible penalties if you were caught. They split up; Belinda and Mike went together, and Jennifer and Eleanor, Eleanor still insisting that she would have nothing to do with it, but eventually carried away by the excitement. They moved about lest the other bidders should spot that the sepulchral voices came from them, but most people were so intent on getting a good bargain that they paid no attention to the four children, more or less crawling about among them. They tried to keep near the door always, but only once had to get away in a hurry when Mike, completely carried away, bid fifteen pounds for a horrible-looking wardrobe that the previous bidder thought she was going to get for three pounds ten.

From VENTURE TO SOUTH AFRICA, Chapter 6, The Golden City. The Eliots are making false bids and bumping up the prices at an auction!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jane Shaw Quiz 17

What is the name of the legendary long-lost treasure at Susan and Midge's school?

The answer to yesterday's question: Penny goes to Arran to recover from typhoid fever.

Quote of the Day

Midge said afterwards that that was one of the worst moments in her life. What with the ghost in the garden and Susan hanging on to her so that she was nearly strangled and Charlotte leaning on her from behind and breathing down her neck, she nearly collapsed. But Charlotte was really peering out at the garden, watching the figure dart from bush to bush, now in deepest shadow, now clearly to be seen in the light of the moon: and suddenly she exclaimed, "It's Willy!"
"Well, thank heaven!" said Midge, giggling a little hysterically. "At least Willy isn't a ghost!"

From SUSAN'S KIND HEART, Chapter 4, Enter First Suspect.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Penny Foolish illustration

Penny at High Fraoch, Mrs. Fergus's farmhouse on the island of Arran. 

Jane Shaw Quiz 16

In Penny Foolish, what illness does Penny go to Arran to recover from?

The answer to yesterday's question: Penny's mother is a psychologist.

Quote of the Day

Jill was furious with Penny when she returned from St. Ursula's Court. "Dr. Wilkinson came again," she said accusingly, "and That Dog wasn't here. Don't you want to sell her?"
"No," said Penny.
"Oh," said Jill, slightly taken aback. "Well," she said, rallying, "how do you expect to make money? Dr. Wilkinson thinks that he might give you three guineas for her, I asked him. Three guineas!"
"That's just it," said Penny. "I know that I've got to sell her to make some cash to give to the Masters, but I don't want to sell her."

From FOURPENNY FAIR, Chapter 10, Reprieve for Candy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Left-Handed Tumfy

The first illustration from Chapter 1 of Left-handed Tumfy: Christina's cottage in the Scottish highlands, where she lives with her grandmother.

Jane Shaw Quiz 15

What profession does Penny's mother work in?

The answer to yesterday's question: at the beginning of Breton Adventure, Sara, Caroline and Vanessa are in St. Brieuc.

Quote of the Day

So Tumfy tried again with more strange words and waving of his arms - and suddenly the pile of broken dishes vanished and in their place stood a cluster of little fluffy yellow chickens, who began to run cheep-cheeping about the kitchen floor, pecking at the oatcake crumbs.
"Michty me!" said Tumfy. "Is that not the clever job! Isn't it wonderful what you can do when you're good at the spells?"

From LEFT-HANDED TUMFY, Chapter 1, Grandmother's Tea-set.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jane Shaw Quiz 14

Jane Shaw's first novel is Breton Holiday. Where are the girls at the very beginning of the novel?

The answer to yesterday's question: Susan Muddles Through and Susan and the Spae Wife are the two Susan stories set on Arran.

Quote of the Day

And don't give him the story of your life beginning with your French grandmother," said Ricky, "like you usually do. Just tell him where to go-"
Denise looked slightly offended and began to talk to the driver. He seemed to have a certain amount of difficulty in understanding Denise when she told him Rue du Mont Thabor, but eventually he shouted joyfully oui, oiu, oui, he understoond perfectly, Mont-mumble, mumble and he turned his ancient cab with a wild jerk which sent all the girls tumbling into each other's laps.
"He must be another Frenchman who doesn't understand French," said Fay as they sorted themselves out.
"Not at all," said Denise with dignity. "He's just a wee bit deaf, that's all."

From CROOKS TOUR, Chapter 7, On to Paris.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

No Trouble for Susan (frontispiece)

No Trouble for Susan is perhaps the most lavishly illustrated of the Susan series. The colour frontispiece by the ubiquitous R. A. Branton shows Timmy the Terror up to mischief, knocking down the almost equally disagreeable Sir Arthur Symes, a.k.a. the Bad Bart, while skating on the pond in Wichwood Village. This scene takes place in Chapter 4, Interlude on Ice.

Jane Shaw Quiz 13

Which two Susan stories are set on Arran?

The answer to yesterday's question: Midge's full name is Marjorie Margaret Carmichael.

Quote of the Day

"This was a good idea," thought Sara, knocking back her lemonade. "Gosh, I was thirsty!" Halfway through she put down her glass suddenly and felt sick. "I've no money," she thought. "Caroline's got no money. John's got no money. Vanessa never has any money. Nobody's got any money. Oh, gosh, what'll I do? I can't return it now. Here I am sitting in a strange café on the top of a mountain" (Sara was getting a little excited) "drinking lemonade, and I've no money. I'll just have to run for it."


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sara and John

An illustration from the 1953 short story Sara's Adventure. Here we can see Sara and John on the bus from  the air terminal at Les Invalides in Paris to the plane that will take them back to London.

Jane Shaw Quiz 12

What is Midge's full name?

The answer to yesterday's question: Mr. Macfarlane is a lecturer in English literature, specialising in bibliography.

Quote of the Day

Clarissa tried to be elder-sisterly. "We can't go sneaking out of the hotel at half-past eleven at night. Aunt Maddy wouldn't like it."
"What the eye doesn't see the heart doesn't grieve over," said Thomas. "It's a bit of luck, really, Uncle James getting malaria."
We all shrieked at Thomas for such a selfish attitude, but of course the awful thing was that he was right, in a way; we certainly would be more free to come and go without Aunt Maddy's eagle eye on us."

From THE TALL MAN, Chapter 3, The Plot.

Monday, January 9, 2012

No Trouble for Susan (Seagull Spine)

Seagull Library spine for No Trouble for Susan.

Rise and Shine!

A running gag throughout the Susan series is hauling Midge out of bed. Whether early in the morning or in the middle of the night for some nocturnal excursion, Susan employs a variety of methods to rouse her cousin. Here, in Chapter 10 of Susan Muddles Through, a wet sponge is used.

Jane Shaw Quiz 11

Today's question is about The Crew of the Belinda. Which subject does Mr. Macfarlane teach at Glasgow University?

The answer to yesterday's question: Susan, in Venture to South Africa, is the Eliot family's Airedale.

Quote of the Day

It's a terrible thing to have to admit, I thought, but I'd be a great deal better off without my family. If I hadn't any family, I wouldn't be sitting here with my life ruined. If I hadn't any family, if I were an orphan, I'd be going to the dance tonight with Edward, I wouldn't be sitting here with a broken heart...

From FAMILY TROUBLE, a short story published in 1961.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jane Shaw Quiz 10

Susan Lyle is not the only Susan in Jane Shaw's stories. There is also a Susan in Venture to South Africa. Who is she?

The answer to yesterday's question: Mrs. Pengelly's most famous delicacy is Cornish splits with cream.

Quote of the Day

Judy, the Sparrow and the boys came hurrying back. Judy was soaked to the skin, and her teeth were chattering, as the Sparrow said, like castanets, because she had taken a false step in the darkness and fallen into the duck-pond. She stood on the stone floor of the back porch and dripped water, slime and duck weed.

From NORTHMEAD NUISANCE, Chapter 9, Half-term.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Susan Rushes In

A cleaned-up scan of the Children's Press cover of Susan Rushes In.

What else were they reading? (2)

My copy of Susan Rushes It is also a Children's Press edition. Unlike Crooks Tour, it is undated, but judging by the format, it too must be from 1969.

What else were they reading?

My copy of Crooks Tour is a 1969 Children's Press edition. The back cover shows which books were getting some extra mileage with the CP. We can see that the early Susan books are among them.

Taking the Crooks Tour 7

My favourite part of Ricky's adventures in Paris is when the young man hands her the little box of fake pearls and says "Printemps". Believing that she has unwittingly become involved in a jewel heist, she combs the newspapers for news of the robbery. Of course, she finds out later that the young man was handing out adverts for the Printemps department store. She feels a little sheepish, but has no objections to doing a little shopping there! The store was founded in 1865 and is located on Boulevard Haussmann. 

Jane Shaw Quiz 9

In the Moochers stories, Fiona and Katherine love Mrs. Pengelly's cooking. Which of her delicacies is their particular favourite?

The answer to yesterday's question: Howletts Mead is the residence of Sir Arthur Symes, the Bad Bart.

Quote of the Day

But as next day happened to be Sunday, Mrs. Storm went all adamant on them, and refused to countenance such secular frivolities. She packed them off to church, where they sat in the Renasay pew (which was placed at right angles to the rest of the congregation, under the minister's nose) and felt very conspicuous and fearful of catching the eye of any of their friends in the body of the kirk, knowing that the inevitable result would be those agonizing and commanding fits of giggling which seemed to take their worst form only in church.

From HIGHLAND HOLIDAY, Chapter 10, In Search of Atmosphere.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Onion Man illustration

An illustration of the fairy fisherman in the short story for very young children, The Onion Man.

Taking the Crooks Tour 6

This is the train station in Basel, Switzerland, where Ricky and Julie knocked over the young man that Ricky imagined was fleeing from the police in Crook in the Station.

Jane Shaw Quiz 8

Today's question is who lives at Howletts Mead?

The answer to yesterday's question: the Moochers' school is Pendragon Manor.

Quote of the Day

Aunt Lucy bustled in and took one look at their spots. "Chicken-pox," she said, and there was general lamentation. "Well, there it is," said Aunt Lucy finally, "holidays or no holidays there's nothing we can do about it. It might have been worse. Get back into bed, Susan, I expect Uncle Charles will keep you in bed for a few days - certainly as long as you're running temperatures. Bill and Charlotte have had it, thank goodness, I'll go and relieve her mind. She's practically bathing in disinfectant and rinsing out her mouth and gargling and changing her clothes!"

From SUSAN'S HELPING HAND, Chapter 1, Chicken-pox.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Taking the Crooks Tour 5

During their stay in Paris, the girls pay a visit to the Musée Grévin, a waxworks museum. Many of the statues there today (Michael Jackson, Tony Blair, etc.) were obviously not there in 1962, but one statue that the girls did see was that of Marat, "murdered in his bath while Charlotte Corday looked on in amazement at what she had done".  Below we can see the front of the museum. More pictures of Paris are available at Paris en Photos, which you can view here.

Quote of the Day

"Penny!" said the ogre, chuckling in his goblin way. "C'est drôle, ça! That means two sous, n'est-ce pas?"
Jill couldn't be bothered explaining about Penelope, so she said yes.
"Ah, bien," said the ogre, fishing in his waistcoat pocket, "then I have a message for her. A pigeon brought it."
John gasped. "A pigeon brought it?" he said, his eyes shining. "A pigeon brought a message for Penny?"

From TWOPENCE COLOURED, Chapter 11, Market Day.

Jane Shaw Quiz 7

Today's question is about The Moochers. What is the name of Fiona and Katherine's school in Cornwall?

The answer to yesterday's question: Dizzy's real name is Elizabeth.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Taking the Crooks Tour 4

At the beginning of Chapter 5, the girls take the train up to the Schynige Platte, five thousand feet above Interlaken. This is an Alpine garden, with over 500 kinds of plants, a firm favourite with the tourists. This picture links to Switzerland Trips, which you can access here.

Jane Shaw Quiz 6

Today's question is what is Dizzy's real name?

The answer to yesterday's question: the Penny story set in Austria is Fivepenny Mystery.

Quote of the Day

"Er-" said Aunt Lucy, "Selina Gascoigne has gone away for the weekend and I promised that we'd keep an eye on her family-" she had the grace to be slightly apologetic because it had been borne in on her at last that her family didn't much like their next-door neighbours, the Gascoignes, in fact they hated the sight of them, in spite of all that she could say about their being a charming, talented, clever original and gifted family.
This announcement was greeted with rebellious mutterings which swelled into roars of rage and disgust as soon as Aunt Lucy had hurried back to the kitchen to get on with her chores.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Tall Man (illustration)

The Warings take the train to Interlaken, passing the Jungfrau along the way.

Taking the Crooks Tour 3

At Interlaken, the girls changed trains and travelled up to Rosenberg and checked in at the Hotel Alpenblick, where they were greeted by the excitable hotelkeeper, Herr Diefenbacher. This jolly little man seems to be obsessed with the Eiger and has a collection of clippings about attempts to climb it, especially the north face that overlooks the hotel. Unlike most of the other places mentioned in the book, Rosenberg is a fictional village. In Susan and Friends, Beverley Garmston pinpoints it as being Grindelwald in disguise. However, the girls also pay a visit to Grindelwald. Rosenberg, therefore, is Ricky, Julie and Fay's equivalent of what St.Brioc had been for Caroline and Sara: their own little corner of the country they are visiting. The picture is a postcard of a view of the Eiger from Grindelwald and is probably what the girl's saw while listening to the breathless description of the mountain by Herr Diefenbacher. The photo is a link to a mountaineer's account of adventures in the 1960s, which you can read by clicking here. The picture below shows the area from a different angle and makes the mountain appear even more impressive. This pictures is a link to All-Free-Photos, which you can access by clicking here.

Jane Shaw Quiz 5

Today's question is which book in the Penny series is set in Austria?

The answer to yesterday's question: Clarissa, the eldest of the Waring children in the Thomas books, is sometimes called Cluck by her brothers and sister.

Quote of the Day

New House was delirious with joy and some of the smaller ones nearly fell in the bath in their excitement. Elizabeth, still blushing with embarrassment at the things she had been saying - Can you do a racing dive? and the girl ups and breaks a school record! - had a hasty consultation with the team. "You old dark horse!" she said to Lynette. "Why didn't you tell us you could swim like that?"

From NEW HOUSE AT NORTHMEAD, Chapter 8, Swimming Gala.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Taking the Crooks Tour 2

Another random stop on the Crooks Tour. This is Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland, where the girls changed trains to move on to Rosenberg. This image links to the Wikipedia page, which you can go to by clicking here.

Fourpenny Fair illustration

This drawing shows Penny at the gymkhana, winning the musical posts competition with Topsy.

Jane Shaw Quiz 4

Today's question is which of Jane Shaw's characters is nicknamed Cluck?

The answer to yesterday's question: Susan's mother's name is Margot Lyle (née Carmichael).

Quote of the Day

The two policemen were very cheery young chaps. They spoke with strong Afrikaans accents which Rob can mimic, but which I can't reproduce at all, so I'm not going to try, and they seemed very glad to see us. It must have been lonely for them, up there on that bleak hillside. So we gave them some chocolate, and they offered us cigarettes, but of course none of us smoked, and we were just chatting about this and that, about how long they stayed up there at a stretch and if it was cold at nights, when Dizzy said, "Four Basutos on horseback passed us a little while ago, did you notice them? Do you know anything about them?" I'll say this for Dizzy, she's a sticker.

From NOTHING HAPPENED AFTER ALL, Chapter 12, Mealie-Meal.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Quote of the Day

[S]uddenly a great uproar broke out at the far side of the big hall and a tall fair young man burst into view and came running towards the girls, hotly pursued by two rather stout porters, in blue smocks, who were shouting and waving their arms.
Ricky's bright blue eyes blazed with excitement. "Here's something at last!" she muttered. "He's running away! He's a crook! He must have robbed a bank or something! Look, the wee fat porter is yelling and shaking his fists! They're yelling Stop thief!"
"As they seem to be yelling in a foreign language," murmured Fay, calm as ever, "I don't see how you can be sure of that."
"Of course I'm sure! It's as plain as the nose on your face. Oh help, what'll we do? We must do something! We must stop him! What'll we - oh help - should we - should I - oh help--"
She took an uncertain step towards the fleeing young man and two very uncertain steps back again as the young man nearly knocked her down as he flashed past. But Julie, who had very little patience with all this shilly-shallying, muttered, "Oh, stop dithering, Ricky," and flung herself straight at the young man's legs.

From CROOKS TOUR, Chapter 2, Crook in the Station.

Jane Shaw Quiz 3

Today we have another question about the Susan series. What is the name of Susan's mother?

The answer to yesterday's question: Miss Johnson taught Latin at St. Ronan's.

Taking the Crooks Tour 1

Today I'm reading Crooks Tour and have decided to have a look at some of the places described in the book. When Ricky, Julie and Fay first enter Switzerland, they are surprised that there are no mountains. The young man that Ricky and Julie mistook for a crook at the train station tells them that the mountains will come later. The first mountain they see is the Jungfrau and "on their left a pretty bright blue lake with chalets and villages and an old castle on its banks and little white steamers sailing up and down on its waters. This was the lake of Thun". A little research shows that this castle is Oberhofen Castle. Quite a magnificent sight. This photograph is a link to, and a framed copy can be purchased by clicking here.