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The Iron King

Strangled Queen

Poisoned Crown

Royal Succession

The She Wolf

Lily and Lion

Ler Rois Maudits Book 7 Polish

Ler Rois Maudits Book 7  French

Catherine UK Book 1

Catherine UK Book 2

Catherine UK Book 3

Catherine UK Book 4

Catherine UK Book 5

Catherine UK Book 6

Catherine US Belle

Catherine US Mistress

Catherine US Quest

The Cat Who turned on and off in Polish

The Cat Who Turned on and off Audio

Queen Lucia by E F Benson

Lucia in London

Miss Mapp by E F Benson

Lucia's Progress by E F Benson

Trouble for Lucia by E F Benson

Lucia Triumphant by Tom Holt

From the E F Benson Museum

Theatre Poster

In 1995 the John Van Druten adaptation of the "Mapp & Lucia" stories, "Make Way For Lucia" was revived in a version which toured the United Kingdom, starting in the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, Kent and finishing off at the Richmond Theatre, London.  These exhibits are from that tour; on the left is a 'flyer' promoting the show, from the Churchill Theatre (not shown; a list of the tour dates and venues, which was stapled to the back of the 'flyer'); on the right is the excellently presented Programme from the Richmond Theatre dates.  

The production starred Angela Thorne as 'Lucia', the late John Wells as 'Georgie', Marcia Warren as 'Miss Mapp' and John Nettleton as 'Major Benjy', with Lavinia Bertram as 'Grosvenor', David Crosse as 'Mr Wyse', Jill Johnson as 'Mrs Wyse', Brian Hewlett as 'The Padre', Deddie Davies as 'Wee Wifie', Antonia Pemberton as 'Diva' and Dominic Borrelli as 'Signor Cortese'.

It was directed by Alan Strachan, designed by Paul Farnsworth, lighting was by Leonard Tucker and Musical Supervision was by Stuart Pedlar.  It was produced by The Touring Partnership, P.W.Productions and the Theatre of Comedy Company.

Major Benjy original book cover

Lucia in Wartime by Tom Holt

Lucia Triumphant by Tom Holt

In the Fisherman's Shoes by Morris West

Lazarus by Morris West

Penguin Vanity Fair

Rider Haggard She

Rider Haggard She Annotated

Haggard She Israel

She 1920s

She by Rider Haggard Book Cover

She by Rider Haggard Book Cover

She by Hider Haggard in Polish

She by Roder Haggard Ursula Andress on cover US edition

She by Rider Haggard Booc Cover

The Return of She Spanish Book Cover

Ayesha by H Rider Haggard

Ayesha by H Rider Haggard

She and Allan by H Rider Haggard

Haggard Wisdoms Daughter

Haggard Wisdom French

Haggard Trilogy

Haggard 3-in1

EBD School at Chalet

EBD CS and Jo

EBD CS Princess

Head Girl of the Chalet School

The Rival of the Chalet School

Eustacia Goes to the Chalet School

The Chalet School and Jo

The Chalet Girls in Camp

The Exploits of the Chalet Girls

The Chalet School and the Lintons

New House at the Chalet School

Jo Returns to the Chalet School


The Chalet School in Exile

EBD CS Goes to It

EBD CS Twins

Lavendar Laugs at the Chalet School

Gay from China at the Chalet School

Shocks for the Chalet School

EBD CS Bride Leads

Lost Horizon 1933 1st edition

Lost Horizon 1939 first ever paperback

Lost Horizon Pan Books

Lost Horizon 1953

Lost Horizon 2003

Lost Horizon 2015

1984 by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

We just love reading .......

Anything and everything we can get our hands on you can find our preferences here for Andrew and here for Anna or use the sidebar links.

Catherine Series - Republishing in 2015 - 2021!

New Catherine Book Covers Link to Catherine de Montsalvy site

Telos have taken pity on the desperate readers and have announced an earlier publishing date for the first two books in the Catherine series. Image courtesy of

"We are pleased to report that the initial titles in our new Romantic Encounters range have now been published, a whole month ahead of schedule! These are "One Love is Enough" and "Catherine", the first two books in acclaimed French author Juliette Benzoni's classic "Catherine" series of historical romances - back in print in the English language for the first time in decades! The books are now available to order from Amazon websites and all good bookshops worldwide, and of course direct from the Telos website. E-book versions are also available on Kindle, Kobo and Nook."

The 'Catherine' saga has long been a favourite of mine and I have never compared it unfavourably to the 'Angélique' series by Anne Golon which has a very prominent section on this website to itself. 'Catherine' also suffered the ignominy of not being completed in the English language. Thanks to the Herculean efforts of Linda, a huge fan of the series, Telos Publishing have undertaken to re-translate, re-publish and conclude the entire series with providing an English version of Book 7 - 'Catherine, Dame de Montsalvy'. Hats off to all involved and a big thank you from me!

2021 Catherine Full Cover

For fans everywhere 2021 is the year of the 'Grand Reveal'

Catherine - Dame de Montsalvy

Announced on 4th April 2021 - the 7th and final book is to be released on 1st June, 2021

Catherine and a Time for Love by Juliette Benzoni A Snare Trap for Catherine

Announced on 21st April & 1st June 2020 respectively - the release of Books 5 'Catherine - A Time for Love' & 6 'A Trap for Catherine' (artwork by Martin Baines)

Belle Catherine by Benzoni Catherine and her Great Journey

Announced on 6th March & 1st June 2017 respectively - the release of Books 3 'Belle Catherine' & 4 'Catherine - Her Great Journey'

Catherine by Juliette Benzoni Catherine - Book 2

And here is the revised projected cover of Book 1 'Catherine - One Love is Enough' released in April and Book 2 'Catherine' in June 2015.

Catherine by Benzoni

Notice the shorter hairstyle? (Artwork by Martin Baines)

See My Amazon Reviews of the new-style Books

Juliette Benzoni - The Catherine Series

Catherine - Dame de Montsalvy Ever the feminist (well mild tendencies anyway) I really object to the way Arnaud treats Catherine, especially as his shortlived brother, Michel, is such a gentleman beside his brat of a brother! Michel is blonde and Arnaud (such an evocative name) is dark and brooding - probably a Heathcliff type!

This series of books, like 'Angélique' ends with the penultimate book entitled 'A Snare for Catherine' - the 7th and concluding book 'Catherine, Dame de Montsalvy' was never translated into English - luckily it is available on a tribute web-site created by Mistral.

Also, in the time honoured tradition, three of the original titles were re-named for American audiences and which, in some cases, caused confusion as readers, searching the internet, years after the latest novel had been released, believed that they had somehow missed out on some of the books. The listings below show the titles as they appeared in the UK / in the US / and how they will appear when they are republished in their new format. The new titles have been slightly 'tweaked' to differentiate them from the originals and to convey a more accurate translation of the originals. As with Angélique's 'Route de l'Espoir' so Catherine's 'Les Routes Incertaines' cause a headache in translation. In the UK it ended up as 'Catherine and Arnaud'. It does not really convey the content of the book accurately.

Black Mourning RibbonJuliette Benzoni Juliette Benzoni Black Mourning Ribbon

We have just learned of the death of Juliette Benzoni on the night of Sunday/Monday 8th February 2016

(Titles : UK / US / 2015)

Book 1 - Catherine, One Love is Enough / Belle Catherine / Catherine: One Love is Enough
Book 2 - Catherine / Catherine - Royal Mistress / Catherine
Book 3 - Belle Catherine / Catherine's Quest / Belle Catherine
Book 4 - Catherine and Arnaud / Catherine and Arnaud / Catherine: Her Great Journey
Book 5 - Catherine and a Time for Love / Catherine's Time for Love / Catherine: A Time for Love
Book 6 - A Snare for Catherine / A Snare for Catherine / A Trap for Catherine
Book 7 - Catherine: The Lady of Montsalvy

As you can see the titles have been 'tweaked' in some places, not necessarily enhancing them, but a republishing has got to be good whatever the reasons for the re-naming!

Les Rois Maudits / Accursed Kings - Republishing 2015

Harper Collins have just released the 7th and final book in 'The Accursed Kings' - the third of the French series of books, including 'Catherine' (see below) and 'Angélique', which I have been waiting to read the conclusions of since the 1960s and 1970s when I first came upon them. I have in the meantime read the French and Polish versions of these books, but having started them in English it would be great to conclude them in the same language!

It's just fabulous to see the publishers announce on their website (above the synopsis of the book)

"About the Book

Available for the first time in English, THE KING WITHOUT A KINGDOM is the seventh and final volume of The Accursed Kings series."

And very astute of them to link it into the current craze of 'The Game of Thrones' which is sweeping the internet!

The King without a Kingdon Maurice Druon

The Iron KingThe Strangled Queen The Popisoned Crown

The Royal SuccessionThe She WolfThe Lily and the Lion

The new publication in its entirety (the copies I owned prior to purchasing the hardback editions are shown in the sidebar)

The author, Maurice Druon, in tandem with many distinguished authors, also had an alternative existence especially during WWII.

Official Rois Mausdits announcement

It was nice to receive the official blurb for the re-prints and to discover more about the author!

Lilian Jackson Braun - The 'Cat Who' series

The Cat Who Turned On and Off

My favourite in this series is 'The Cat Who Turned On and Off' set in Junk Town and featuring the regular cast of Jim 'Qwill' Qwilleran, Koko and Yum Yum the male and female Siamese cat sleuthing partnership.

The books have also been turned into audio books but I have not yet heard any and have been translated into several languages, I have definitely seen them in French and Polish.

I was interested to find that the books which have been translated into several languages, including Polish and French, used the artwork of Louis Wain on one set of French covers.

LJB TCW Backwards LJB TCW Danish LJB TCW OnOff LJB TCW Saw Red

The Cat Who: Read Backwards / Ate Danish Modem / Turned On and Off / Saw Red

LJB TCW Brahms LJB TCW Post Office LJB TCW Post Office alt LJB TCW Shakespeare

The Cat Who: Played Brahms / Played Post Office x 2 / Knew Shakespeare

LJB TCW Sniffed Glue LJB TCW Underground LJB TCW Ghosts LJB TCW Lived High

The Cat Who: Sniffed Glue / Went Underground / Talked to Ghosts / Lived High

LJB TCW Cardinal LJB TCW Mountain LJB TCW Was Not There LJB TCW Closet

The Cat Who: Knew a Cardinal / Moved a Mountain / Wasn't There / Went into the Closet

LJB TCW Breakfast LJB TCW WhistleLJB TCW Cheese LJB TCW Thief

The Cat Who: Came to Breakfast / Blew the Whistle / Said Cheese / Tailed a Thief


The Cat Who: Sang for the Birds / Saw Stars / Robbed a Bank / Smelled a Rat


The Cat Who: Robbed a Bank / Went Up the Creek / Brought Down the House / Talked Turkey

LJB TCW Bananas LJB TCW BombshellLJB TCW 60 Whiskers LJB Secret Life

The Cat Who: Went Bananas / Dropped a Bombshell / Had 60 Whiskers

The Secret Life of 'The Cat Who'

There was at least one more book left in the series and the title 'The Cat Who Smelled Smoke' was announced to her adoring public - but unhappily LJB died before it was written.

Aldous Huxley - 'Brave New World/Revisited'

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Image sourced from

Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley

Image sourced from

This, believe it or not, was one of my set pieces to read and sit the 'A'-Level English Literature examination (the book cover on the sidebar is the version that worked from - the artwork is pretty astonishing). A 'companion' but not compulsory comparison read was Orwells '1984'. Perhaps they should have suggested H.G. Wells 'Things to Come' which was first published in 1933. 'Brave New World' was published in 1933 and '1984' followed in 1949. The quotation from Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' is globally recognised 'Oh Brave New World that has such people in it!' uttered by Prospero, a magician, a seer, gaoler of 'Ariel' the free spirit. Is it any wonder then that 'The Tempest' was also part of the curriculum as was 'The Scottish Play' by Shakespeare - we, young impressionables were steeped in mysticism. I had already long been a fan of the film of 'Things to Come' and was very quickly sucked in by Huxleys, as they say, 'Dystopian' novel - a description given to too many sub-standard novels these days. I had no idea, at the time. that Huxley was a big fan of Eugenics and all that entails or I may have refused to read the book knowing its basis on darker implications, but it has to be said it is one of my favourites of all time and remains so. It also fascinated my late friend Anna with whom it nearly became an obsession, I think she re-read it annually! As a good student, I then turned my attention to '1984' and wondered why it had been offered as a companion read, this felt like some dusty, nasty, dirty, unhygienic view of life compared to sanitised and perfect life of 'Brave New World' but thinking of what I've just written, it's pretty obvious our lecturers/curriculum compilers knew exactly what they were doing - showing us two very different opposite sides of the spectrum. In time, I grew to be fascinated by '1984' as well. Discovering that 'Things to Come' was really just a short story disappointed me, as did 'Julia' (part of 'Pentimento' A Book of Portraits) by Lillian Hellman, but only by their brevity - the two films were so absorbing I felt they had to be based on something more! There have been adaptations of both 'Brave New World' and '1984' which were all disappointing, as if the writer/directors couldn't get into the skins of the characters and merely wove a sub-standard story. 'Farenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury is an excellent example of filming books such as 'Brave New World' and '1984'. I chose these covers because I like them - a lot - although the 1st Edition was superb as well and can be seen here

1984 by George Orwell

Image sourced from a Google Search

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Original design for the front cover of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley original

A 1932 first edition copy of 'Brave New World' complete with its protective box - Images sourced from Heritage Auctions and with thanks

E F Benson - the 'Mapp and Lucia' series

Mapp and Lucia by E F BensonI didn't read these books until I had seen the television series, which was coincidentallyLucia in Wartime by Tom Holt brought to the silver screen by my old boss at BBC Drama Plays - Gerald Savory. Gerald had already had a full life when I met him as a twenty-something and he had already retired once and I can believe that the Mapp and Lucia lifestyle was something that appealed to him for more reasons than one! I wish I had worked with him on these instead of 'Churchill's People' which has gone down as one of the BBC's greatest flops ..... On that show I also worked with the delectable Brian Rawlinson of 'Onedin Line' fame - he was Robert Onedin to Peter Gilmore's James Onedin.

Although the original six stories (and there is a bit of debate as to their chronology so I'm not going to enter that arena) came to a natural conclusion, Tom Holt secured the services of these to protagonists for two further forays into their peculiarly original lifestyle, patriotically in 'Lucia in Wartime' and ending with the aptly named 'Lucia Triumphant'. Since creating this page, I have learned of a new trilogy being written - two books are currently available entitled 'Major Benjy' and 'Lucia on Holiday' by Guy Fraser-Sampson who fortuitously discussed his books on a Radio 4 programme which was being listened to by a good friend of mine. Luckily she knows of my love of the Mapp and Lucia books and also that I do not listen to Radio 4 so she tipped me the wink and I was able to catch the programme via the internet facility - so it's nice to have good friends and I still maintain that coincidences such as these are indeed 'signposts.' As I had not heard of Guy Fraser-Sampson it is unlikely that I should have come across these books for a long time (after all I had already missed out on 'Major Benjy' and it proved difficult to source) if ever, possibly after a Google search for some artwork some time in the future when I may have noticed alternative titles in the search facility?

E F Benson Folio Society boxed version

Who knows? But as I am now aware of the books I shall look out for the third title of the trilogy although it has not yet been released. I immediately placed 'Lucia on Holiday' on pre-order and now have the anticipation of reading two of the books probably in quick succession!

Major Benjy Book CoverLucia on holiday

Au Reservir

The third and final book has been announced for publication in April 2014 - since originally announcing this, as you can see the final book in the trilogy has now been published and the cover artwork compliments the second printing. Without giving anything away, Guy Fraser-Sampson has ensured that no further books will follow *** with a neat plot which firmly closes the door behind him. I particularly like the Black Swan editions of these books as they have lovely cover illustrations that capture the 1920s (as we think of them) but the Folio Society published the original 6 novels and I was lucky enough to acquire them at auction some months ago.

Mapp and Lucia's adventures, including those written by Tom Holt have also become audio books and make ironing (almost) a pleasure whilst listening to them! In March 2014 a new television adaptation, of the original books, by the BBC has been announced!

2020 sees 'Mapp and Lucia' Resurrected!

*** Yes, it has - we are informed that 'La Lucia' takes place before the days at 'Riseholm' so that should me more of the 'prequel' than a resurrection! This time the entrepreneurial author (another one I had not heard of until now) is Hugh Ashton! The stories concerning Mapp are refreshed in Tilling keeping the vibrancy of the original characters rather than the dénouement visited upon them by Guy Fraser-Sampson (who was not popular with the fans judging by some reviews left on Amazon [see Stu 1* review using the link above] whom we also have to thank for the brief resumes seen below each book.

Mapp at 50

Elizabeth Mapp-Flint of Tilling is approaching her fiftieth birthday, and plans a party to celebrate the event. However, as so often happens in Tilling, things don’t go entirely according to plan, as Major Benjy, her husband, over-refreshes himself at the party, and presents her with an entirely unwelcome birthday gift. Meanwhile, Emmeline (“Lucia”) Pillson and her husband Georgie, together with the rest of Tilling look on as Elizabeth’s sister, the existence of whom had been hitherto unsuspected, visits Tilling and exposes a few family secrets.

Mapp at Fifty is written in sincere tribute to the original Mapp and Lucia novels by E.F.Benson, comic but yet sympathetic portraits of middle-class society in England in the 1920s and 1930s.

Mapps return La Lucia

Since the disaster that was her fiftieth birthday party, Elizabeth Mapp-Flint has been avoiding Tilling society. But just as she decides to re-enter the round of bridge parties and dainty teas, an unexpected visitor to Mallards throws her plans for a triumphant return as the social leader of Tilling into confusion. Lucia and Georgie, Diva, the Padre and Evie, the Wyses, and quaint Irene (and of course, Major Benjy and Mapp herself) all come alive again in this tale of genteel snobbery and social climbing.

Mapp's Return is written in sincere tribute to the original Mapp and Lucia novels by E.F.Benson, comic but yet sympathetic portraits of middle-class society in England in the 1920s and 1930s, and forms a sequel to Mapp at Fifty by the same author, a volume which has received many plaudits from lovers of the original stories and characters.

Mrs Emmeline Lucas, known to all as "la Lucia", is the undisputed social and cultural leader of the quiet, but refined country village of Riseholme. Together with her husband, and her devoted courtier Georgie Pillson, she leads her subjects in hunts for Roman remains and fossils. Meanwhile two very different visitors arrive in the village, and the balance of Riseholme power is temporarily upset.

La Lucia looks at life in Riseholme before the start of the Mapp and Lucia novels by E.F.Benson, and is written in sincere tribute to these comic but yet sympathetic portraits of middle-class society in England in the 1920s and 1930s. It is the third book in Hugh Ashton's Mapp and Lucia series, following Mapp at Fifty and Mapp's Return, which have been enjoyed by fans of the original stories:

Short biography :
About Hugh Ashton - born in the UK in 1956, and after graduation from university worked in the technology industry around Cambridge (the first personal computer he used was Sir Clive Sinclair's personal TRS-80) until 1988, when a long-standing interest in the country took him to Japan. Along the way, he met and married Yoshiko, and also gained certificates in tea ceremony and iaidō (the art of drawing a sword quickly). In 2008, he wrote and self-published his first published novel, Beneath Gray Skies, an alternative history in which the American Civil War was never fought, and the independent Confederacy forms an alliance with the German National Socialist party. He and Yoshiko returned to the UK in 2016 for family reasons, where they now live in the Midlands cathedral city of Lichfield. He continues to write Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as various other fiction and non-fiction projects, including documentation for forensic software, and editing and layout work on a freelance basis, in between studying for an MSc in forensic psychological studies with the Open University. Source :

Morris West

One of my all time favourite books is by this author - "The Clowns of God" Cover of Clowns of God by Morris Westbecause it deals with two very, in today's turbulent society, improbable situations! This book is a sequel to 'The Shoes of the Fisherman' which was an enthralling Vatican thriller in itself introducing the daring concept of a non-Italian Pope being elected (written pre-John Paul II and Benedict XVI ascension to the throne of Peter). In Clowns this same non-Italian Pope is forced to abdicate by his peers who do not believe that he has received visions from God - they prefer to think he is possessed by the Devil instead. In living memory no Pope has yet abdicated although a few have, historically, been usurped and murdered along the way. The 'Clowns' turn out to be those considered 'weak' (disabled) by today's invigorated society. So giving hope that the 'meek shall (sic - indeed) inherit the earth. I am reminded that there was a concluding and third book in this trilogy (see extract below) but it cannot have made much impact on me as I don't remember that much about it!

Frighteningly - Pope Benedict XVI 'resigned' on 11th January 2013.

"The Shoes of the Fisherman started West's "Vatican trilogy". Jean Télémond, whose ideas on evolution are condemned in the story by the new Pope, Kiril Lakota, was based on the character of the famous theologian Teilhard de Chardin. However, in general, the Pope is portrayed in a positive light. The trilogy continued in THE CLOWNS OF GOD (1981), in which the Pope resigns from his office, believing that the world is on the brink of Armageddon, and LAZARUS (1999), a story about the election of a "law-and-order" candidate to lead the Church. This work foretold the rise of a pope from the East Europe fifteen years before it occurred: it was published just before Pope John XXIII died." (Thank you to for this extract)

William Makepeace Thackeray

Vanity Fair cover

Vanity Fair (a novel without a hero!) - how I love this book! This is one of the greatest satires of British Literature, the 'Punch' of its day. Penguin books sum it beautifully in this sentence "Though written in 1847-48, William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair is peopled by types who remain familiar today." Becky Sharpe (by nature, in an intelligent way, as well as in name) is dealt a bad hand, but she uses the rest of the pack of cards to win her way to the top. She cheats, manipulates and gets caught out - but even as she falls to the depths of degradation (although never penury it seems) she fights her way back to the top and sashays her way back into the sunset. A book that is worth reading and re-reading on a regular basis as I for one could never tire of the twists and turns and with most books, a re-read usually brings forward something that was missed before. I've never felt much empathy for Amelia (despite her kindness to Becky), her husband George (a real bad lot), Dobbin (too soft) or Amelia's brother (Sedley), a secondary character. Penguin also tell us "Dobbin alone comes through the book with dignity. He is, as Thackeray declares, a true gentleman. But in the end, having achieved what he long sought—marriage to Amelia—Dobbin too is disillusioned, fonder of his daughter and his History of the Punjab than he is of his wife, though he would never admit as much." I don't have that much respect for Dobbin I'm afraid!

Victorian Web has several illustrations from the original magazines which capture and convey the satire and slightly 'sleazy' feel of the whole story - I have chosen four of the illustrations to whet your appetites for more:

Miss Sharp in Schoolroom

Miss Sharp in her School-room (precursor to St. Trinians?) - Chapter 10

Miss SwartzJos Polonaise Virtue rewarded

Miss Swartz rehearsing for the Drawing Room - Chapter 21 / Jos Performs a Polonaise - Chapter 63 / Virtue is rewarded - Chapter 67 /

H Rider Haggard

He by Rider HaggardI have long been fascinated by the whole history of 'She who must be obeyed' and have several versions of the original book - I particularly like this cover which is one of the Hodder and Stoughton Yellowjacket variations. The number of reprints testify to the popularity of this supernatural being and the number of films made, based on the first books alone is astonishing! There is a little known 'prequel' novel called 'Wisdom's Daughter' which I have not yet read, and two subsequent sequels. 'Ayesha' chronicles the return of 'She' inspiringVery old She dusjacket Leo Vincey (Kallikrates) to begin his search for her all over again, and stays true to the original characters despite all of us witnessing Ayesha having been consumed by flame at the end of the first book. The final book pairs up Allan Quartermain, a stoic Haggard hero, with Ayesha in an obvious materialistic effort to keep the interest going in both characters' adventures - most disappointing!

There is one cover I have been unable to obtain and that is pictured here and is very old:

It was available once on ebay and I was too inexperienced to make more than one bid and so lost out to somebody, who, I think, like myself likes to collect either unusual books or unusual versions of this particular book! At least I was able to get a copy of the scan and am still on the lookout!

There appears to be someone even more fanatical about the many changes of 'Ayesha' - Violet Books web-site can be found here: since starting this page, the Violet Books website has ceased functioning but has been captured (like Harvey's page and 'World of Angélique) by a conservation group whose link I am now using.

Film Posters of the various adaptations will appear in the Films section of this web-site.

She by H Rider Haggard She by H Rider Haggard 1921

He and Allan 1921 He and Allan 1921

Ayesha by H Rider HaggardWisdom's Daughter 1929

Lost Horizon by James Hilton

I have just re-acquainted myself with this book by listening to an audio version on the BBC - wonderfully the former 'Sheriff of Nottingham', Alan Wheatley plays Father Perrot and 'I, Claudius' star Derek Jacobi stars as Conway, chosen successor to the great Lama. What wonderful voices they both have! The book was first published in 1933 (as warmongering was looming through Germany due to the rise of Hitlerism) with a modest dustjacket (see sidebar). As its popularity grew 'Lost Horizon' was the first ever modern paperback to be published in America, by Pocket Books in 1939.

First ever paperback ad for Lost Horizon

2015 version of Lost Horizon by James Hilton

I like this 2015 variation very much as I think it captures the era and the mystery of the book - image sourced from

This book, as war loomed, must have given people hope that they could find their own 'Shangri-La' a euphemism much still used today. in 1937 a film of the book was made. From IMDB - "Based on a novel by James Hilton, this fantastical drama follows a group of plane-crash survivors who have landed in the mythical Shangri-La, a valley hidden deep within the mountains of the Himalayas. Rescued by followers of the High Llama (Sam Jaffe), the outsiders grow to love the remote paradise, but British writer and diplomat Robert Conway (Ronald Colman), suspecting that the crash was no accident, begins to investigate, leading to a surprising revelation." A musical based on the book appeared in 1973 (interesting transposition of the numbers of the year in which both were made) and is adequately described in the IMDB "This retelling of the classic tale of James Hilton's Utopian lost world plays out uneasily amid musical production numbers and Bacharach pop music. While escaping war-torn China, a group of Europeans crash in the Himalayas, where they are rescued and taken to the mysterious Valley of the Blue Moon, Shangri-La. Hidden from the rest of the world, Shangri-La is a haven of peace and tranquility for world-weary diplomat Richard Conway. His ambitious brother, George, sees it as a prison from which he must escape, even if it means risking his life and bringing destruction to the ancient culture of Shangri-La. " Suffice it to say I love the 1937 film and pre-ordered the restored copy, I do not have a copy of the musical version. The book remains popular and was lucky enough to have had several re-prints by Pan in its designer hey day!

1962 version of Lost Horizon by Great Pan Alternative Pan Books Cover

Two very different examples of the designs produced by Pan Books

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Page updated : 12th July 2021 (G)