Sunday, December 8, 2013

Places in Jane Shaw: Titlis

In Chapter 9 of Susan Interferes, Susan, Midge and Charlotte finally give in and go to the Joch Pass. They are impressed by Mount Titlis. Here we can indeed see the "mountains reflected in the still waters" of the lake. Titlis is also the name of Bill's favourite boat on Lake Lucerne. The girls were resisting the trip to the Joch Pass because they were dreading the chair lift. After the cable-car ride up to Wissifluh, they are sure that sitting with their legs dangling into space from a chair lift will be ten times as scary. But in the end it turns out to be quite a pleasant experience. The day is even more enjoyable because the Gascoignes are away showing the sights around Lucerne to their travel writer friend Miss Prescott.

Quote of the Day

The cable-railway took them to Trübsee. A hotel was perched on the very edge of space in a very dizzy and alarming manner but they walked quickly past that and came to the Trübsee itself, a most beautiful little lake with the mountains reflected in its still depths.

From SUSAN INTERFERES, Chapter 9, Susan Tries to Help.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Rigi Train

In Chapter 2 of Susan Interferes, Susan and the whole Carmichael family go up the Rigi. At first the indolent Midge is reluctant, but changes her tune when she is told that they will be going by train. "Going up in a train was exactly her idea of mountain-climbing". When they arrive at Vitznau, "just a step from the pier, almost in the middle of the village street, a little red train was waiting". On the way up, Bill informs his sisters and cousin that this railway was the first mountain railway in Europe and that it was built in 1871 and electrified in 1937. Although Midge readily agrees to the ascent by train, she is not so keen on Aunt Lucy's suggestion that they should walk back down. Indeed, she gets out of most of this walk by persuading Susan to go back down by train, only to remember when it is too late that they have no tickets and no money. The train in the photograph was built in 1923 and Jane Shaw herself probably travelled on it during her visits to Switzerland.

Quote of the Day

Well if a dog can do it - she thought, and stepped into the car which rocked violently, feeling quite brave. This feeling disappeared immediately as the car dropped rapidly down the cliff face into space. She looked down once and was so appalled at the distance they were from the ground that she closed her eyes quickly as a shudder of absolute terror went through her. Midge said plaintely that she had left her tummy up at Wissifluh.

From SUSAN INTERFERES, Chapter 5, Looking for Fräulein Amacher. The cable car rides up to Wissifluh and back and the terror that Susan feels in the little red conveyance are described in detail in this chapter and provide the best moments of humour in the book. The cable car is described as a "small red tin box" and a "tin can". Only Bill enjoys the ride, while the girls are terrified.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Susan's School Play

A scene from the 1957 short story Susan's School Play. Peregrine Gascoigne causes havoc at St. Ronan's.

Quote of the Day

"Oh," said Dizzy, as we went along the platform in the direction of a taxi, "that was a heavenly story. But next time that you tell it to us you mustn't cut it short, you must tell us every detail, how you got through the Bolshevik guards and what you said to them and what they said to you and so on."

From ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN, Chapter 13, Surfeit of Bracelets.

Wonder Story Book

The Wonder Story Book, containing Griselda and the Goblin. For more information about the Griselda stories, click here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Quote of the Day

Meantime the winter passed and the rains came. Jennifer's lips stopped cracking with the dryness; the gardens burst out into a blaze of colour; a dull, spindly little tree in the front garden suddently put forth clusters of yellow flowers with long red tails which were called birds of paradise; the coarse leaves in front of the wall were beautified by the tall agapanthus, the blue African lily.

From VENTURE TO SOUTH AFRICA, Chapter 9, Looking After Stella.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Calvaries of Brittany

As they drive around Brittany, Susan and the Carmichaels often see Calvaries. These statues are dotted all over the region. Although they can be found in many parts of Europe, they are particularly popular in Brittany and Belgium. This one is in Finistère, the French equivalent of Land's End. In Susan's Kind Heart, when Jean-Louis tells the children about Mont St. Michel, he compares it with St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall. Several comparisons are drawn between Brittany and Cornwall. The children observe that "like Cornwall, the inland scenery of Brittany was less interesting than the coast". When they arrive at Dinan ("not to be confused with Dinard") and Jean-Louis speaks his piece about Napoleon the Third and the confusion over a new spire for St. Malo's Church in Dinan that actually ended up being built in the town of St. Malo, he and Susan draw comparisons between the strange names of Cornish and Breton saints. Brittany has saints with names like St. Clos, St. Budoc and St. Cast, while Cornwall has St. Kew, St. Tudy and St. Mawes. Jean-Louis then provides further confusing information that the names of St. Brieuc and St. Brioc are interchangeable, but that the saint was actually Welsh. It's unusual that of all the young people on the journey, the author chose Susan to rattle off all this information about the saints of Cornwall and Brittany. It's not like her to have this sort of stuff on fast recall, although earlier in the story, when she surprises Charlotte and Midge by telling them the French word for boiled egg, she claims that there are a whole lot of things that she knows that she doesn't get credit for.

Quote of the Day

In a little while Penny, sitting on her wall as if nothing had happened, gazing urgently out to sea, led the procession back into the square, amid the tumultuous cheers of the crowd. This time, her family were thankful to note, she had removed the sun-hat....
"But," said Penny, when she could make herself heard, "why bagpipes?"
"Oh, we have bagpipes in Brittany," answered Miss Foster, "just as in Scotland, only they are slightly different."

From TWOPENCE COLOURED, Chapter 9, Penny Leads the Procession.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Île de Bréhat

An aerial view of the Île de Bréhat. This island is the scene of almost a whole chapter in Twopence Coloured. But in Susan's Kind Heart the visit the young people make to the island is only briefly described, and apart from their picnic and very quick shopping for souvenirs and gifts and dinner, the whole visit is over in less than two pages. The Île de Bréhat is famous for its pink granite rocks. 

Susan Interferes (CP spine)

The Children's Press laminated board spine of Susan Interferes. This edition was published in 1969.

Places in Jane Shaw: Saint Quay Portrieux (2)

Places in Jane Shaw: Saint Quay Portrieux

The spectacular green waters of Brittany are mentioned a great deal in all Jane Shaw stories set there. The two photographs posted today link to Flowers Way Voyages, which you can access here.

Trip to the Île de Bréhat

A map of Brittany. Here we can see the route that Susan, Midge, Charlotte, Oliver, Willy, René and Gaston took to the Île de Bréhat in Susan's Kind Heart. They sailed there on Gaston's boat, L'Hirondelle. On the way, they stopped at Saint Quay, docking at the Portrieux harbour. Gaston sent René to buy cakes in the famous pâtisserie.

Quote of the Day

Gaston put in at Portrieux, which was the harbour for St. Quay, and very kindly sent René to buy cakes in the famous pâtisserie. He himself had a call to make, but the young people enjoyed the harbour and watched the hard-bitten old salts lounging about and the vociferous holidaymakers embarking on motor-boats for the Île de Bréhat and felt very nicely superior because they had their own boat.

From SUSAN'S KIND HEART, Chapter 7, A Day to Remember.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Adventures of a Snowman

Quote of the Day

Caroline was hanging on every word, but Sara was still scowling and muttering to herself, "Unlucky, that's what I am. Anybody else finds a treasure-chest, and it's full of treasure. I - we rather, for it's all Caroline's doing - find a chest and what's in it? Mouldy old books. And not even readable at that. Beautiful! All yellow and musty and the pictures like postage stampls. Gosh! They've gone mad - where are they off to with the blooming chest? If it's a bonfire, I don't want to miss it-"

From BRETON ADVENTURE, Chapter 16, The Last Adventure.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Boathouse

A "cleaned-up" scan of the dramatic scene in Chapter 12 of Threeepenny Bit when the boathouse catches fire.

Quote of the Day

Supper is nice too on the first night, sausages and mash and ice-cream, we told Lisa to make the most of it because the next day it would be back to revolting macaroni-cheese and sago pudding.

From A GIRL WITH IDEAS, the 1960s short story written for Collins under the pen name of Jean Bell. This story was only published posthumously in Susan and Friends. Some of the punctuation is a bit strange, but this may be deliberate as the story is told by a young girl in the first person.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sara the Unsuspecting Smuggler

The most common criminal activity in Jane Shaw is smuggling. In several stories, diamonds and watches are smuggled into the UK by middle age women and little old ladies who call everyone "My dear". This illustration from the 1953 short story Sara's Adventure shows Sara falling victim to a nice old lady who asks her to take some French butter to her daughter in London who misses her "petit déjeuner". Of course, butter is laced with diamonds.

Quote of the Day

Chang went with the girls when Susan trotted Tessa down Tollgate Road very early next morning. The Carmichaels were tall and fair and extremely good-looking, with the possible exception of Midge who at present just looked like a midge, according to Susan, all big eyes and little pointed face. Susan, in contrast, had dark eyes and dark curls and rosy cheeks. Beside her, Tessa, who had straight flaxen hair, looked like an ethereal creature from another world. She behaved like one too, Susan sometimes thought. Old Tessa lived in a daze most of the time.

From A JOB FOR SUSAN, Chapter 1, Bluebeard's Chamber.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Willow Green Mystery

A "cleaned up" scan of the last illustration from Willow Green Mystery. David and Tish have come to rescue Thomas..

Quote of the Day

In the car going back to Rosendorf they talked and argued about what was to be told to Aunt Lucy and Uncle Charles. Nothing, said Lise. Everything, said the others. "But if we tell them everything and then Herr Doktor Carmichael finds that his conscience will not allow him to smuggle Rudi into England?" asked Lise.
The Carmichaels were quite insulted. How could Lise think of such dreadful things to say about their father who, to hear them talking, was the most reckless law-breaker in England?

From SUSAN INTERFERES, Chapter 12, Auf Wiedersehen!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Quote of the Day

Suddenly she lifted her head, which was bent against the driving rain; there was a light shining somewhere ahead. She hesitated for a second, but after all she had to go on. If it was a car she might be very lucky and get a lift; if it was a house, well, people had a right to have their lights on at half past twelve in the middle of the night if they felt like it - it was none of her business. Shining her torch down at her feet she hurried on. And as she came round a turn in the lane she came on the cottage. The door was open and the light was streaming across the road; a woman was standing there beside the door with a lantern in her hand. As Gail came into the stream of light the woman darted across the road and caught herby the arm.
"Can you ride a bicycle?" she demanded.

From NORTHMEAD NUISANCE, Chapter 13, Drastic Measures.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Susan and the Home-made Bomb

Horrible Peregrine Gascoigne teases Susan after her face is covered in green spots by the potion he had concocted using his chemistry set in the Gascoignes' infamous "Rumpus Room". Click on the image for a more detailed view.

Quote of the Day

In the gloom of the van's interior, Ricky's blue eyes were round and scared.
"Now, where are we going?" she whispered.
"Straight into the lion's den, I should think," said Julie cheerfully.

From CROOKS LIMITED, the 1962 short story featuring Ricky, Julie and Fay from Crooks Tour.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Dumbarton Castle

In Venture to South Africa, the Eliot family set sail on the Dumbarton Castle and the story gives full details of their voyage. Jane Shaw based the trip on her own journey to South Africa. When her husband took up a post as an accountant in Johanessburg, the Evans family sailed to Cape Town on the Warwick Castle. The Eliots played deck games and made friends with Candy and Peter Rivett, who would show up again later and play an interesting role in the plot. Venture to South Africa is considered the most unusual book that Jane Shaw ever wrote, and you can read a review of it by clicking here.

Quote of the Day

Adrian paid some attention at last. "Roy Maxwell! Is he here?" he asked.
"Mm. Camping," said Gabrielle. "We told him that we knew Dicky Fountain frightfully well, he was thrilled to meet us. He's very Scotch, I can hardly make out what he's saying, you can practise your Scotch on him."
"Hoots, awa' mon, and dinna haver," said Adrian.
Susan observed to no one in particular that she had never in her life heard any living creature say Hoots, but the Gascoignes didn't seem to care.

From SUSAN MUDDLES THROUGH, Chapter 4, Mystery Man.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Susan and the Spae Wife

People queue to have their fortunes told, but Mirren has been called away on a family emergency. So, who will take her place? Susan, of course! This was the last Susan short story and it is as packed as all the others. Besides the fortune telling, there is a robbery at the local post office and thearrival of the famed author Mr. Rock Carlisle. And there are quite a few surprises. Click on the picture for higher resolution. 

Quote of the Day

"Oh, but we can't wait till Tuesday! We only have a week before Mr Gauntlett has to make up his mind!"
"Then," said Jill, "Cam and Ricky must watch tonight and tomorrow, and we'll all watch on Tuesday."
"Is that all right then, Ricky?" Richard nodded. "Good," said John. "Then you two must watch for the boy and-"
"We've seen him, I think," said Cam. "Just a glimpse, disappearing behind the yews on the top terrace."
"Well, you must watch again," said John, "and follow him."
"Follow him?" said Cam in rather a wavering voice.

From CROOKED SIXPENCE, Chapter 2, Doing Good. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Charlotte's Baking Disaster

After her disastrous stint as a nurse in Susan Pulls the Strings, Charlotte tries her hand at cooking in the ensuing short story, The Wilsons Won't Mind. The results are less than successful and her career as a baker is short-lived. Charlotte's crazes, a characteristic she shares to a certain degree with Aunt Lucy, are a running gag in the series. She goes from nursing to cooking to collecting china and then to archaeology before she finally settles on art as her chosen career.

Places in Jane Shaw: the Mouse Tower

In Chapter 7 of Bernese Adventure, John points out the Mouse Tower to Sara as they drive from Koblenz to Bingen. He explains that the evil Bishop Hatto was eaten alive by mice there as punishment for burning poor people alive. During the burning, the bishop shouted "Hear the mice scream", according to local legend. He was attacked by mice and fled across the river to the tower (located on a small island). But the mice pursued him across and attacked him.

Quote of the Day

Thomas and I had cameras, really decent jobs, thirty-five millimetre, with light filters, telescopic lenses and so on, which I am sure you will agree was much more exciting than pendants, although perhaps not for girls. The first photo I took - by special permission - was of the Red Roses of Rinigen, but unfortunately it didn't come out.

From THE TALL MAN, Chapter 9, The End of the Adventure.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Crew of the Belinda

The New Challenge Library, Children's Press edition of The Crew of the Belinda.

Quote of the Day

Even Caroline enthused at the scenery from Koblenz to Bingen, and though Sara missed the Lorelei rock, through having a little nap, John took care to point out the Mouse Tower where, he said, the wicked Bishop Hatto was devoured by mice for his sins; for Sara's horror of mice was always giving rise to little touches like that from the more hard-hearted members of her family.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Highland Holiday Cover

Quote of the Day

They tackled Peregrine from behind and took him quite by surprise, laid him low and sat on him. It was very uncomfortable because he wriggled so much, and he complained bitterly that it wasn't very sporting of two great big lumps to attack one very small boy who wasn't very strong, had they forgotten how ill he had been in the night?
"Oh, do shut up, Pea-green, and keep still. I want to watch this dog because she belongs to Wullie-from-up-the-glen and you keep bumping me about so."

From SUSAN MUDDLES THROUGH, Chapter 8, Trials and Tribulations.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Crooks Tour (Retro Press Cover & Spine)

The Retro Press cover and spine are the original illustrations from the Collins hardback that was published in 1962. The front cover was totally redrawn for the later Children's Press edition with the laminated boards, and the girls' clothes were updated to suit 1969 fashions, with narrower skirts. The spine illustration depicts a scene from Chapter 2, Crook in the Station, when Ricky mistakes a young man dashing to catch his train for a crook fleeing the scene of a crime.  However, this drawing is a little unusual. First of all, the man is described as being young and fair, but here he looks older and dark. Secondly, as the scene takes place in the early afternoon, it is strange that the man is wearing a tuxedo.

Quote of the Day

"Tea doesn't inspire Odile la cuisinière as other meals do," said Mr. Manson, handing out thick slices of bread and butter and slabs of chocolate. "We should have asked you to get some cakes this morning when you were at St. Brioc."
"Oh, this is wonderful," said Fiona. "I never thought of eating chocolate with bread and butter before."

From THE MOOCHERS ABROAD, Chapter 6, A Great Light Dawns.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fivepenny Mystery

An illustration by Gilbert Dunlop from Chapter 8 of Fivepenny Mystery, Defeat of a Greek. Penny's character has developed well and she is no longer the shy girl she used to be. Here she stands up to Agamemnon and questions him about Ainros. Agamemnon is not prepared for her questions and begins to splutter and go pale. Penny remarks to herself that it was "interesting to see him go green and red like that, like a traffic light".

Crooks Tour Retro Press Blurb

Quote of the Day

The next day my mother was back on the attack again. "Have you seen the paper? Clapping people into jail without trial, that's the next thing in South Africa-"
"Yes, but they're hardly likely to clap the girls into jail," said Aunt Nan. "That sort of thing would wreck the tourist trade. It couldn't possibly happen to Alison."
"Not to Alison, I dare say," said My mother. But what about Dizzy? You know Dizzy. You must admit that Dizzy has an infinite capacity for getting into strange situations."
"I couldn't agree more," said Dizzy's mother. "But not actually into prison, I'm certain."

From NOTHING HAPPENED AFTER ALL, Chapter 1, The Chance of a Lifetime. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Susan's Helping Hand (spine)

The spine of the Children's Press edition of Susan's Helping Hand. The illustration shows an unusually pensive Susan examining the Folding Letter. During my recent visit to the Crail Book Sale in Scotland, I came across two Children's Press editions: Susan's Helping Hand and Susan Interferes. I now have four of the five books published with laminated boards, the only one missing being Susan Pulls the Strings. The laminated edition of Susan's Helping Hand was published in 1968 and Susan Interferes a year later. This is interesting because despite the fact that the books were clearly enjoying a second wind in these more inexpensive, mass market editions, the new books published by Collins in the late 1960s were not very enthusiastically marketed.

Susan's Helping Hand has one of the the most tightly packed plots in the series. In addition to the theft of the Folding Letter and the other antics of the Mad Collector, we also have the mysterious Belle and her two young siblings and their possible relationship with Mrs. Forester, plus the adventures that take place on Cousin Barbara's farm. There are nice little sub plots laced throughout the story as well. The policeman, Mr. Bristow would like to solve the crime wave and outdo the "la-di-da" Sergeant Botting. And of course there is a great deal of comedy with Susan and Bill's efforts to drum up a little extra business for Miss Frame's shop by diverting the traffic on the bank holiday. The huge traffic jam and all the chaos that ensues are hilarious. Susan's fascination with the Kent countryside and its contrast to her drab native Glasgow are also delightful features of the story. And we can't forget Bill's enthusiasm when it comes to learning how a farm operates.

The book ends on a strong note too. The identity of the master criminal, the Mad Collector, is a great surprise to the reader. And I can't recall any other Jane Shaw story in which characters begin in such miserable conditions and end up so happy, as occurs with Belle, Robert and Mary. This is one of Jane Shaw's strongest stories.

Quote of the Day

"Oh, I know you said that," said Midge, "but then you say some perfectly foolish things."
"Sometimes they're not potty," said Susan.
"No," agreed Midge, beginning to waver a little. "I must say that you do come away with a sort of inspired guess sometimes."
"Inspired guess!" said Susan indignantly. "Masterly piece of deducation!"

From SUSAN'S HELPING HAND, Chapter 9, Curious Behaviour of an Antique Dealer.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Unlikely Crooks in Jane Shaw: Miss Frame

Jane Shaw’s stories are studded with improbable criminals, people who seem to be perfectly above board and yet turn out to be rascals. There are the smugglers that pop up in Bernese Adventure, Crooks Tour and Sarah’s Adventure. There is the schoolmaster, Mr. Port, in Threepenny Bit, the elderly and mild-mannered Mr. Runciman in Crooked Sixpence and the “unspeakable” Dr. Partridge in New House at Northmead. The Susan series also has its fair share of unlikely crooks. The first one we meet is the petite middle-class culture vulture Miss Pershore in Susan Pulls the Strings; and a few others crop up along the way. Susan Muddles Through has an unlikely defector to the U.S.S.R., and Where is Susan? has Miss Smith, the beautiful but unscrupulous stamp collector. But none of these come anywhere as near to surprising the reader as Miss Frame when she is unmasked as the Mad Collector in in Susan’s Helping Hand. In this multi-layered story, one of the subplots is that someone is entering houses on wealthy country estates in Kent and helping themselves to valuable Elizabethan manuscripts. The latest victim, as the story gets under way, is Miss Folding, who had a priceless letter written by William Shakespeare. The press dub this thief the Mad Collector, mad because there is no way that these documents can be negotiated on the open market. The mystery deepens when it is discovered that rather than a master criminal plotting his thefts with infinite planning and military precision, the Mad Collector simply rides up to the mansions on a bicycle, helps himself and casually cycles away. When Bill comes across the letter tucked into the frame of a map from Miss Frame’s modest little antique shop, the children suspect her helper and distant cousin, Mr. Smith. But in the end, Miss Frame herself turns out to be the thief. This is very surprising because she is a very tiny and very old lady, described as having silver hair, a pink and white complexion and a “bird-like way”. Susan and the Carmichaels nickname her the Dresden shepherdess. Her attempt at a getaway after her unmasking is as dramatic as her appearance. Rather than speed away in a car or hijack a lorry, she hobbles up to the bus stop. Miss Frame is the most memorable of Jane Shaw’s unlikely crooks.

Quote of the Day

"This washing-up and going out for walks while the grown-ups have forty winks rather takes the gilt off the gingerbread," murmured Midge, but nobody took any notice of her. And Chang went with them for the walk, which made it more interesting, for they kept on having to rescue him from trees and dogs and other people's gardens, and consequently could go neither fast nor far.

From SUSAN PULLS THE STRINGS, Chapter 4, A Blow for Bill.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Susan Muddles Through

In Chapter 12 of Susan Muddles Through, Susan finds the proof that Mrs. Macdonald does not owe any money to the crooked old skinflint Cap'n Dan.

Quote of the Day

Susan gave a little shriek. While certainly enthralled with accounts of the Mad Collector's exploits and eager as she was to be mixed up with any sort of excitement, she hadn't quite bargained for coming to such close quarters with him as this.
"But does that mean, then," said Charlotte slowly, "that Miss Frame is the Mad Collector?"
"That little dainty Dresden shepherdess!" gasped Susan. "Oh, surely not!"
The others began to giggle rather hysterically.
"Well, after all," gasped Midge eventually, "she has a bicycle."

From SUSAN'S HELPING HAND, Chapter 9, Curious Behaviour of an Antique Dealer.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Threepenny Bit Frontispiece

A cleaned up version of the frontispiece of Threepenny Bit, showing the shop where the le Roux family open a coin dealer business.

Quote of the Day

The three girls left her to her sulks. They had already decided that she was homesick - homesickness took people in the queerest ways, everybody knew that - so it was better not to bother her too much but let her thaw gradually.

From NORTHMEAD NUISANCE, Chapter 1, New Girls.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Susan Reels Back

An illustration from Susan and the Home-made Bomb. Susan reels back as she enters the Gascoignes' rumpus room. The smell of Peregrine's chemistry experiment is too much for her. She describes it as a mixture of rotten eggs, drains and a dead rat.

Bill's Hobbies

Throughout the Susan series, Bill Carmichael is renowned for being mechanically minded and good with his hands. He makes a special flap in the kitchen door to allow Susan's cat Chang to come and go at will and often works with Meccano models. However, in the last two books of the series, he takes an interest in philately and starts to build a stamp collection. A friend of his from school called Stobbs helps him. The stamp collecting ties in nicely with the fact that Susan and Midge are pursued all over Venice by desperate stamp traders in search of the Shilling Deep Green. It is Bill and Stobbs who confirm the value of the stamp by telegram.

Quote of the Day

Shirley looked at her coldly. "I think that you can leave Gabrielle in my hands now, Susan, don't you? I'll see that she does all the proper things."
Susan meekly said, "Yes, Shirley, of course," and thought with envy of a cosy tea by a study fire with, probably, luscious cakes - a first-day privilege for prefects - and dismally of common-room tea of cocoa, and buns known as Brother Where Art Thou, on account of their shortage of currants.

From SUSAN'S TRYING TERM, Chapter 1, New Girl.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Susan and the Spae Wife

A queue forms outside the spae wife's tent at the fête. But Mirren the spae wife will be taken ill and Susan will step into her shawl.

Quote of the Day

"Only four of them!" Caroline would say in surprise, discussing them with Sara and wondering why, for all their good-nature, they didn't like them better: "they always seem to be more like a dozen to me."
"Maybe it's the comic times they visit at that annoys us," Sara suggested. For the Duvals had a curious habit of paying a morning call just when Louise had announced lunch. They would swarm in, kiss Madame many times on each cheek (and Sara always insisted that once she saw Miette kiss her on the back of the neck when she couldn't get in at the front).

From BRETON ADVENTURE, Chapter 4, Sara Catches a Burglar.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Places in Jane Shaw: Venice (The Tetrarchs)

On the way out of St. Mark's in Chapter 4 of Where is Susan, Miss Thornton introduces Susan to the Tetrarchs. Susan describes these porphyry figures as "such dear little chaps".

Jane Shaw Encyclopedia: Miss Thornton

Miss Thornton is an artist who appears in Where is Susan? When Susan and Midge are entering St. Mark’s, the “beautiful Russian spy” is turned away by the beadle. A tall Englishwoman carrying painting gear explains to the girls that the spy’s entry is barred due to her inappropriate backless dress. Susan decides that this woman is a schoolmistress. On the way out, in an attempt to avoid being detected by the mysterious spy, Susan and Midge separate and Susan latches on to this tall woman and borrows her stool to use as a “hat”. Her suspicion that the woman is a teacher is apparently confirmed when the woman corrects Susan’s grammar. The woman thinks that her new companion’s behaviour is rather odd but takes a liking to her and offers to see her safely to the pier where she has arranged to meet Midge. She is surprised by Susan’s knowledge that the horses at St. Mark’s are Greek and gives her a charcoal sketch that she has made of the statues. Susan is delighted and grateful as they part company. Later, when Charlotte sees the drawing she informs her cousin that her new friend is no school teacher. She recognizes the signature, Thornton, as being that of a very famous artist, a woman far above the class of the Gascoignes’ stepfather, Sam Pilkington. At Selina Gascoigne’s party, Miss Thornton is happy to see Susan again and describes her as a friend, which has Gabrielle seething with jealousy. Miss Thornton is important to Susan because of the drawing (which she cherishes and has framed) and the fact that she provides Susan with one of the few opportunities she has to get the better of Gabrielle.

Quote of the Day

There were two things that worried Penny when she went up to bed in her turret room at last, worn out with excitement and that most exhausting evening. She could not find the roll of exposed film that she had seen when she had come upstairs to fetch the torch; and she wondered why there had been a Loden cape hanging over the back of a chair in a dark corner of the kitchen.

From FIVEPENNY MYSTERY, Chapter 4, The Stranger Comes. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Matchmakers

Jill, Tina and Jennifer celebrate Elizabeth's engagement.

Quote of the Day

"I saw him," said Robert. "At least I saw a man row away from Belinda and I rowed after him, dodging and keeping in the shadows - I liked that - and he went on board the Miranda, which was moored in Luss Straits, and then I came back to Belinda for my book and went and stepped in the blooming old paint, or you'd never have discovered me-"
"Oh yes, we would," said Pips.

From THE CREW OF THE BEINDA, Chapter 16, The Footprint of Blood.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Crooks Limited

The last illustration in Crooks Limited, when Ricky and Fay tumble out of the wardrobe. Throughout the story, the artist mixed up Ricky and Fay, making Ricky a brunette and Fay a blond. Other than that, the story is very good.

Quote of the Day

Ricky, ready to promise anything, bolted her apple dumpling, normally one of her favourite puddings and one that she liked to linger over, and flew to the telephone. She rang Fay, the more hopeful, first, and poured a confused jumble of excitement, hopes, fears and sheer rubbish into her ears.

From CROOKS TOUR, Chapter 1, Excitement at Last?

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Matchmakers: Tina

Tina is caught on the mountainside and is spotted by a troop of baboons. This story is the only Jane Shaw short story set in South Africa. It was published in the Collins' Girls' Annual 1959 and lavishly illustrated.

Quote of the Day

For one awful moment I thought that Madame was going to burst into tears. Her face sort of puckered up and her eyes went all dewy. Then she held the puppy up to her face. He put out a tongue and licked her, and she laughed rather shakily, and came out with a great long excited speech like a burst of machine-gun fire. There was a rather long pause, then Clarissa said, "Oui."
We then beat a hasty retreat.
"Cluck, did she like him?" Thomas said.
"Oui," said Clarissa.

From LOOKING AFTER THOMAS, Chapter 5, Thomas's Catch.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jane Shaw Encyclopedia: The Splinter of Glass

The Splinter of Glass is a play written by Miss Maxwell-Perry, the new English teacher at St. Ronan’s, in Susan’s Trying Term. It is based on Hans Andersen’s Snow Queen. The leading role of Kay is given to Gabrielle Gascoigne and the part of Gerda goes to Susan’s friend Elizabeth Rogers. The play is described as poetical in some parts and "screamingly funny" in others. On the night it is performed, The Splinter of Glass is attended by influential friends of Selina Gascoigne’s: Lady Harrington, Julian Barwith and Tony Cassel, the latter two being producers. Mr. Barwith is so impressed by the play that he decides to produce it for a television broadcast. He wants to transport the play to London but is convinced by Miss Phillimore, the head mistress at St. Ronan’s, to film the play at the school. The play is broadcast live on the last day of term. 

Quote of the Day

Midge wondered if she was Italian, but her neighbour, when she asked him, said not. Russian, he thought, but he spoke so slowly and oddly that Midge turned sharply to look at him. He was slumped forward in his seat, his arms dangling. Oh help, she thought, what next? With quite an effort she heaved him up again. "Aren't you feeling well?" she asked him.
"I think I've been poisoned," he said, slurring his words.
"Oh, go on with you," said Midge, "I thought the snacks were delicious.

From WHERE IS SUSAN?, Chapter 1, Sunday, September the Third. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Crooked Sixpence illustration

The local orphans enjoy a car ride.

Quote of the Day

"Goodness, I do think the French are nice," said Ricky, as they hurtled down through the streets of Montmartre towards the Rue du Mont Thabor, carefully enunciated to the taxi-driver at least five times. "So kind and trusting."
She changed her tune a little when the taxi-driver, not pleased with his tip, shouted furiously after them as they ran blushing into the hotel. "Well, mebbe they're not all kind," she said as the driver's furious yells made the girls wince painfully. "But at least Madame Raoul up at Montmartre is---"

From CROOKS TOUR, Chapter 7, On to Paris.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Jane Shaw Encyclopedia: Elizabeth Rogers

Elizabeth Rogers is a pupil at St. Ronan’s. She has black hair and is known to her friends as Liz. She appears in all three stories set at the school: Susan’s School Play, Susan at School and Susan’s Trying Term. She was a friend of Midge’s before Susan and Tessa’s arrival at the school and becomes friends with both of them too.  In Susan at School, Elizabeth joins Susan, Midge and Tessa when they go to House Night as the Loch Ness Monster, which they refer to in code as the L.N.M. to avoid other pupils knowing about their idea. When Susan discovers what she thinks is the school’s famed lost treasure, Ronan’s Heap, Elizabeth identifies one of the pieces as a Georgian copper jug. Elizabeth’s greatest attribute is her acting skills. However, she often loses the best part in plays to Hermione Pennington-Smith, a spoiled prefect who is given the roles because her father is Clerk to the Governors. However, the teaching staff will never admit that the reasons for not giving the part to Elizabeth are political. In Susan’s School Play, Elizabeth is passed over for the role of Ariel in The Tempest and the mistress in charge, Miss Crumbles, explains that it is because Elizabeth is young and has more years ahead of her for leading roles, while Hermione is in her final year. However Liz is called in at the last moment to replace Hermione, who unbeknownst to everyone else, has been locked up in a shed by Peregrine Gascoigne. Liz gives a brilliant performance. In Susan’s Trying Term, Elizabeth is passed over yet again in favour of Gabrielle Gascoigne, who is awarded the leading role in The Splinter of Glass by Hermione (who seems to have had a year added on to her school career). But Liz shows little resentment and is happy to have the part of Gerda in the play. Again, she gives a brilliant performance. Liz hopes to go to drama school, although her grandmother is opposed to this plan. However, after a television producer decides to film the play for the small screen, everyone is sure that the grandmother will relent and let her pursue her dream. Elizabeth is very dedicated to acting and, much to Susan’s bewilderment, can often be found rehearsing in a corner all alone and learning chunks of poetry for the fun of it. She also has an internal alarm clock that never fails. She tells herself what time she wishes to wake up and she does. Susan describes her as a “first-class waker-upper”. She is also generous with chocolate.

Quote of the Day

Tessa seemed to be taking this criticism very calmly - mainly because she had not heard it. She sat and fiddled with the potato peeler which she was supposed to be using to gouge out the inside of the turnip. "What I can't understand," she said, "is why Susan wakened me up to tell me that there was a fire in the museum when all the time there wasn't. I've been puzzling about it ever since..."

From SUSAN'S TRYING TERM, Chapter 10, Hallowe'en.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Tall Man

This is the frontispiece of the last of the Thomas books, The Tall Man, published in 1960 by Nelson.

Quote of the Day

In New House there was a lone survivor too. Celia Manson, although she was in the same form as Fiona and Katherine, being in a different house, didn't know them very well, and she was feeling definitely unnerved at the thought of at least a fortnight's quarantine in their alarming company. After all, not only were they cousins and as thick as thieves, they were the Moochers, who although they had only been a year at Pendragon Manor had made such a stir that their fame - at one time their ill-fame - had penetrated to all the other houses. One way and another Celia, who was a gentle and diffident creature, looked forward to a few weeks in their company much as she would have looked forward to a fortnight spent with a couple of Gorgons.

From THE MOOCHERS ABROAD, Chapter 1, Three Letters.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Aunt Lucy

Aunt Lucy in the short story Susan's School Play.

Crooked Sixpence Blurb

Where is Susan?

Quote of the Day

Bill insisted on taking Susan immediately to the back door to show her a little swinging panel that he had made in it for Chang, so that he could get in and out when he liked without the door being opened. Susan thought it was extremely clever and the neatest little gadget she had ever seen, and was sure that Chang would like it as much as she did, if not more.

From SUSAN PULLS THE STRINGS, Chapter 2, Troubles.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Tall Man

Quote of the Day

Susan and the Carmichaels were strongly against going to the wedding at all.
"I'd rather go to the pictures," said Midge at breakfast that morning.
"Dressing up on a Saturday!" said Bill.
"Weddings make me cry," said Charlotte. "But not Selina's."
"Do we have to go?" Midge muttered.
"Well of course," said Aunt Lucy firmly. "We were invited. We accepted. Naturally we must go. Besides," she added unwisely, "you'll enjoy it."

From SUSAN MUDDLES THROUGH, Chapter 1, The Wedding.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Quote of the Day

Elizabeth Rogers had black hair and was a friend of Midge's; she was a wonderful actress, Midge said, and was often to be seen in a corner of the Dragons' common-room with her fingers stuffed in her ears learning chunks of poetry for the love of it which seemed to Susan and odd way to behave; Ann Burton had a lisp; Gail Martin had specs which Susan took to cleaning every morning before breakfast - she sometimes wondered how Gail had managed before her arrival, she must have seen everything through a sort of fog; Mary Roseveare was bursting with brains and got an A every time in the fortnightly marks, Bridget Phillips was anything but-.

From SUSAN AT SCHOOL, Chapter 2, Super Fags. Here we are introduced to Susan's new friends at St. Ronan's. Elizabeth Rogers had already appeared in the  short story Susan's School Play when, thanks to Peregrine of all people, she managed to get the leading role in the play, replacing the much villified Hermione Pennington-smith, whose disagreeable father was Clerk to the Governors. Elizabeth would appear in a number of scenes in the St. Ronan's stories. Ann Burton's lisp was used to great comic effect in both books, but was not overused. The other girls did not make many appearances. With all the teachers, prefects and other pupils, St. Ronan's was a crowded scene, especially after Gabrielle Gascoigne moved there in the second term of Susan's first year.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Magic Ships Frontispiece (1943)

Quote of the Day

"Will it feel nice to be on your native heath once more, Susan?" asked Uncle Charles.
"Aye, it will," said Susan, going rather Scots at the very idea, "but I like it fine here too."
For Susan was Scottish, although at this time she was living at Wichwood Village, near London, while her parents were in South Africa.

From SUSAN MUDDLES THROUGH, Chapter 1, The Wedding.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Susan Muddles Through

Quote of the Day

"Taking photographs! Really, Susie, of all the cheek! Bad enough searching the girl's room without stopping to take photographs!"
"It was lucky I did," said Susan. "If I hadn't been taking photographs, I wouldn't have been on the balcony when this dreadful little man came in. Actually I was scared stiff, it was awful, and then hangning onto that door like Kate Bar-lass in the history books-!"
Midge and Charlotte had never heard of Kate Bar-lass, and promptly assumed that she appeared in Scottish history, everybody knew that the Scots were a wild and barbaric lot, like Susan, catching hotel-thieves single-handed.

From WHERE IS SUSAN?, Chapter 13, Susan Takes Some Photographs.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bernese Adventure blurb

Quote of the Day

When Lise had found a parking-place for her car she went to the police headquarters. The police were very soothing, and told her that lost little boys always turn up.
Not if they're being kidnapped, Lise thought to herself, but she didn't say it aloud because she did not want to start explaining that one to the police.

From SUSAN INTERFERES, Chapter 11, The Search for Rudi.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Adventures of a Snowman

Quote of the Day

"You have got a partner, you know," Jennifer remarked acidly as Sheila, poaching shamelessly, won the point and the game.
"Sorry," said Sheila carelessly as they changed ends. "But we did win the game."
"We might still have won it if I'd been allowed to hit the ball occasionally," said Jennifer, a mild girl until roused, "without you jumping from side to side like an electrocuted flea."
Kay, walking round the far side of the net with Nicky, stuck an elbow in her ribs. "Spot of trouble over there," she said, jerking her head towards their opponents.
"Jenny's as mad as a snake," said Nicky, pleased.
"Send everything to Jenny then," said Kay, "and see what happens."

From NEW HOUSE AT NORTHMEAD, Chapter 13, Tennis Matches.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Quote of the Day

When Penny next opened her eyes, Mrs. Fergus was standing smiling by her bed, a loaded tray in her hands.
"Och, your father got his bus quite the thing," she was saying, "and a real nice morning her got for the crossing. And did you sleep well, my wee lassie?"
"Yes, no - well, I must have, I suppose, thank you, Mrs. Fergus," said peeny, "but there was a most extraordinary noise like a - like a - well, I don't know what it was like, a kind of croaking-"
"Och, that would be the old corncrake," said Mrs. Fergus, "over in the hayfield. Whiles we are fair deeved with his noise...."

From PENNY FOOLISH, Chapter 2, The Minister's Children.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Walk Along the Seine

A cleaned up scan of an illustration from Chapter 9 of Anything Can Happen. Dizzy and Alison walking along the Seine.

Quote of the Day

"If you emptied the w-w-water out of your b-b-boots," Aunt Lucy began. She helped Susan to pull off her boots and Susan poured out a stream of muddy, dirty, icy water. Then she put her boots on again and began to lumber back to the house. She had never felt so cold in her life. She began to remember horrible stories of frostbite and wondered how soon she could expect her nose and fingers to drop off. She had no feeling in any of them at all - for all she knew her toes might be off already.

From SUSAN PULLS THE STRINGS, Chapter 7, Chang Breaks the Ice.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Willow Green Mystery illustration

A case of mistaken identity. Tish whacks Michael over the head with a huge branch in Lost Boy Number Two, the seventh chapter of Willow Green Mystery (1958).

Quote of the Day

But Monsieur Bossuet was muttering, "Charming... charming... more than charming: form, line, colour, strength, major talent..." Then abruptly, "I will give you fifty thousand francs for this picture. Will he sell, your friend in Montmartre? Are you authorised to sell this picture?"
Fifty thousand francs! Would he sell! Were we authorised to sell? Jean-Jacques had never sold a picture in his life.

From THE PICTURE, a short story published posthumously. You can read a review of this story here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Looking After Thomas

Quote of the Day

They were all perfectly well behaved except that madcap Sambo. He was off and up over a little hillock before you could say knife. We thought Dotty had lost him forever. But of course we had armed ourselves with a spare bit of chocolate left over from yesterday. Dotty put down such a huge lump that even Sambo couldn't resist it. He came over a hummock, his nose twitching with delight, and ate himself practically into a stupor. He was no trouble, Dotty said, on the way home.

From A GIRL WITH IDEAS, Chapter 4, King Arthur Lived Here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Attack

From Susan's Trying Term. Susan attacks Gabrielle because of one of her dirty tricks. Like many of the illustrations in the Susan stories, there is a goof in this one. On the front cover, when Gabrielle arrives at St. Ronan's, she has very short hair, but after only a few weeks her ponytail has grown back!