Saturday, 30 April 2011

Mabel Esther Allan

Mabel Esther Allan , 11 February 1915 – 14 May 1998,  was a prolific author of some 180 books and 300 short stories. Not only in her own name but also as Jean Estoril, Anne Pilgrim and Priscilla Hagon.
Mabel had decided at the age of eight to be an author, fortunately her parents took her seriously and gave her a large office desk and typewriter. She used to desk for the rest of her life. Mabel was a land girl during the war, she also taught in both a nursery in Liverpool and a prep school. Her first book was published in 1948.

As Mabel Esther Allan

The Adventurous Summer (1948)
Glen Castle Mystery (1948)
The Wyndhams Went to Wales (1948)
Cilla of Chiltern's Edge (1949)
Holiday at Arnriggs (1949)
Mullion (1949)
Trouble at Melville Manor (1949)
Chiltern Adventure (1950)
Everyday Island (1950)
Jimmy John's Journey (1950)
Over the Sea to School (1950)
School Under Snowdon (1950)
The Exciting River (1951)
Clues to Connemara (1952)
MacIains of Glen Gilleon (1952)
Return to Derrykereen (1952)
School in Danger, A (1952)
The School on Cloud Ridge (1952)
The School on North Barrule (1952)
Lucia Comes to School (1953)
Room for the Cuckoo (1953)
The Secret Valley (1953)
Strangers at Brogwerne (1953)
Three go to Switzerland (1953)
Adventure Royal (1954)
Here We Go Round (1954)
Margaret Finds a Future (1954)
Meric's Secret Cottage (1954)
New Schools for Old (1954)
The Summer at Town's End (1954)
Adventures in Switzerland (1955)
Changes for the Challoners (1955)
Glenvara (1955)
Judith Teaches (1955)
Mystery of Deddydane (1955)
Swiss School (1955)
Adventure in Mayo (1956)
The Amber House (1956)
Balconies and Blue Nets (1956)
Flora at Kilroinn (1956)
Lost Lorrenden (1956)
Strangers in Skye (1956)
Two in the Western Isles (1956)
The Vine Clad Hill (1956)
Ann's Alpine Adventure (1957)
At School in Skye (1957)
Black Forest Summer (1957)
Murder at the Flood (1957)
Sara Goes to Germany (1957)
Seven in Switzerland (1957)
Summer of Decision (1957)
Blue Dragon Days (1958)
The Conch Shell (1958)
The House by the Marsh (1958)
Rachel Tandy (1958)
Amanda Goes to Italy (1959)
Catrin in Wales (1959)
A Play to the Festival (1959)
Shadow over the Alps (1960)
A Summer in Brittany (1960)
Tansy of Tring Street (1960)
Bluegate Girl (1961)
Holiday of Endurance (1961)
Pendron Under the Water (1961)
Home to the Island (1962)
Signpost to Switzerland (1962)
The Ballet Family (1963)
Kate Comes to England (1963)
The Sign of the Unicorn (1963)
The Ballet Family Again (1964)
Fiona on the Fourteenth Floor (1964)
It Happened in Arles (1964)
Summer at Sea, A (1965)
In Pursuit of Clarinda (1966)
Skiing to Danger (1966)
The Way Over Windle (1966)
It Started in Madeira (1967)
Missing in Manhattan (1967)
Selina's New Family (1967)
The Wood Street Secret (1968)
Climbing to Danger (1969)
The Kraymer Mystery (1969)
Christmas at Spindle Bottom (1970)
Dangerous Inheritance (1970)
The Wood Street Group (1970)
The May Day Mystery (1971)
The Secret Dancer (1971)
The Wood Street Rivals (1971)
An Island in a Green Sea (1972)
Behind the Blue Gates (1972)
Time to Go Back (1972)
The Wood Street Helpers (1973)
A Chill in the Lane (1974)
Crows Nest (1974)
The Secret Players (1974)
Ship of Danger (1974)
Away from Wood Street (1975)
The Bells of Rome (1975)
Bridge of Friendship (1975)
The Flash Children (1975)
Romansgrove (1975)
The Rising Tide (1976)
Trouble in the Glen (1976)
My Family's Not Forever (1977)
The View Beyond My Father (1977)
Pine Street Pageant (1978)
New York for Nicola (1979)
Tomorrow is a Lovely Day (1979)
Wood Street and Mary Ellen (1979)
The Mills Down Below (1980)
Pine Street Goes Camping (1980)
Haunted Valley and Other poems (1981)
The Horns of Danger (1981)
Pine Street Problem (1981)
A Strange Enchantment (1981)
Strangers in Wood Street (1981)
Goodbye to Pine Street (1982)
Growing Up in Wood Street (1982)
The Night Wind (1982)
Alone at Pine Street (1983)
The Crumble Lane Adventure (1983)
A Dream of Hunger Moss (1983)
Friends at Pine Street (1984)
A Secret in Spindle Bottom (1984)
The Flash Children in Winter (1985)
The Pride of Pine Street (1985)
The Crumble Lane Captives (1986)
Mystery in Spindle Bottom (1986)
The Road to Huntingland (1986)
The Crumble Lane Mystery (1987)
Trouble in Crumble Lane (1987)
Up the Victorian Staircase (1987)
First Term at Ash Grove (1988)
We Danced in Bloomsbury Square (1989)
Chiltern School (1990)
Mystery of Serafina (1990)
Ragged Robin Began It (1993)
Way to Glen Braden (1993)
Cat off a Barrow (1994)

As Jean Estoril

Ballet for Drina (1957)
Drina's Dancing Year (1958)
Drina Dances in Exile (1959)
Drina Dances in Italy (1959)
Drina Dances Again (1960)
Drina Dances in New York (1961)
Drina Dances in Paris (1962)
Drina Dances in Madeira (1963)
Drina Dances in Switzerland (1963)
Drina Goes on Tour (1964)
Drina Ballerina (1991)

As Anne Pilgrim

Clare goes to Holland (1964)
First Time I Saw Paris (1964)
Strangers in New York (1964)
Summer in Provence (1964)

As Priscilla Hagon

Cruising to Danger (1966)
Dancing to Danger (1967)
Mystery at the Villa Bianca (1967)
Castle of Fear (1968)
Mystery of the Secret Square (1970)

Black Forest Summer by Mabel Esther Allan is available to purchase from the shop, The Vintage Bookshelf.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Jolly Good Reading List

The Diary Of A Provincial Lady - E M Delafield
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
I Capture The Castle - Dodie Smith
Frenchman's Creek - Daphne du Maurier
ABC Murders - Agatha Christie
A Room With A View - E M Forster
A Box Of Delights - John Masefield
Mapp and Lucia - E F Benson

And for childhood memories

Milly Molly Mandy - Joyce Lankester Brisley
The Faraway Tree - Enid Blyton
Famous Five Mysteries - Enid Blyton
Ballet Shoes - Noel Streatfeild
Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

from Milly & Dottie

Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Pullen Thompson Sisters

Interesting article on the Pullen Thompson 's here from the Mail. An absolute must read for anyone who loved (loves) the works of Christine Pullen Thompson, Josephine Pullen Thompson and Diana Pullen Thompson.

After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson

ISBN-10: 1845291301
ISBN-13: 978-1845291303
"To socialite Dandy Gilver a spot of amateur sleuthing seems like harmless fun. And what could be better than to try and track down the Duffy diamonds, stolen from a country house after the Armistice Ball? Before long though Dandy's innocent pastime is swept away by something much more serious. The untimely death of the lovely Cara Duffy in a seaside cottage is recorded as an accident, but Dandy, and Alec, Cara's fiance, feel sure the Duffy family is hiding a dark secret..."
(Taken from the Dandy Gilver website)
No it's not from The Vintage Bookshelf, ideed it isn't even vintage, I borrowed After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson from the library and I'm very glad that I did as it is proving thoroughly enetertaining. The Dandy Gilver website is rather entertaining too, there are extracts from the books and all sorts of useful information such as how to make tomato sandwiches and the care of linen.

Have to say that I agree with the Scotland on Sunday review, 'Society sleuth Dandy Gilver is the most engaging and ingenious crime-cracker I've met in ages'

Monica Dickens

Monica Enid Dickens was born 10 May 1915,a great granddaughter of Charles Dickens, she was the daughter of barrister of law, Henry Dickens and Fanny Runge. Prior to attending Drama School she was expelled from St Paul's Girl School for throwing her school uniform over Hammersmith Bridge.

Despite the fact that Monica was a debutante, she was presented at court in 1935, she went into service as a cook-general. But a chance meeting with a publisher led to her first book being written in just 6 weeks, One Pair of Hands, a story of life below stairs, which has been in print since 1939.

Her first novel, Mariana followed shortly in 1940. Monica Dickens continued to draw on her own working experiences, eg. her experiences as a wartime nurse lead to One Pair of Feet.

In 1951 Monica married Roy Stratton, a US Navy officer, and went to live in the USA, they eventually settled in Cape Cod, where they lived with their two adopted daughters Prudence and Pamela, until Roy's death in 1985.

Monica Dickens was a committed Samaritan and in 1974 she founded The Samaritans in the USA, first opening a branch in Boston in 1974. Her novel The Listeners was based on her knowledge of The Samaritans.

As well as her books, Monica also wrote a column for Woman's Own for 20 years and during the 40's reviewed books for the Sunday Chronicle. She was one of the best selling novelists of her generation and highly respected, JB Priestly wrote, "Monica Dickens gets better and better" and John Betjeman said she was a novelist who had "All the airs and graces a reader could wish for".
She also wrote children's books.

Monica Dickens was very close to her family who often visited her in the USA, she loved reading, ballet, horses, cats and dogs and people. In 1985, after the death of her husband she returned to England. Monica Dickens died in Reading on Christmas Day 1992.

Adult Books

One Pair Of Hands (1939)
Mariana (1940)
One Pair Of Feet (1942)
The Fancy (1943)
Thursday Afternoons (1945)
The Happy Prisoner (1946)
Your's Sincerly (1947).
Joy and Josephine (1948)
Flowers on the Grass (1949)
My Turn To Make The Tea (1951)
No More Meadows (1953)
The Winds of Heaven (1955)
The Angel in the Corner (1956)
Man Overboard (1958)
The Heart of London (1961)
Cobbler's Dream (1963) (republished in 1995 as New Arrival at Follyfoot)
The Room Upstairs (1964)
Kate and Emma (1965)
The Landlord's Daughter (1968)
The Listeners (1970)
Talking of Horses (1973)
Last Year When I Was Young (1974)
An Open Book
A Celebration (1984)
A View From The Seesaw (1986)
Dear Doctor Lily (1988)
Enchantment (1989)
Closed at Dusk (1990)
Scarred (1991)
One of the Family (1993)

Children's Books

The World's End Series

The House at World's End (1970)
Summer at World's End (1971)
World's End in Winter (1972)
Spring Comes to World's End (1973)

The Follyfoot series

Follyfoot (1971)
Dora at Follyfoot (1972)
The Horses of Follyfoot (1975)
Stranger at Follyfoot (1976)

The Messenger series

The Messenger (1985)
Ballad of Favour (1985)
Cry of a Seagull (1986)
The Haunting of Bellamy 4 (1986) Non-series:
The Great Escape (1975)

Comfort Reads

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (start there and read them all)

Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamund Lehmann

Dusty Answer by Rosamund Lehmann

Anything by Georgette Heyer - maybe start with The Grand Sophy

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (and everything else she ever wrote)

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (also Nightingale Wood by the same author, which I didn't know but am now seeking out)

The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard (bliss, plus there are tons of them)

The Scotland Street books by Alexander McCall Smith

Forever Amber by Kathleen Windsor

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Travels with my Aunt by Graham Greene

Hens Dancing by Raffaella Barker

The Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin

What Ho, Jeeves, Code of the Woosters and Uncle Fred in the Springtime by PG Wodehouse (but any, really)

The Mapp and Lucia books by EF Benson

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Frenchman's Creek by Daphne Du Maurier

Mariana by Monica Dickens

The L-shaped Room by Lynn Reid Banks

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons by Lorna Handvik

The Miss Marple books by Agatha Christie

Riders and Rivals by Jilly Cooper (also the 'name' books - Bella, Imogen etc)

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

The Jackson Brodie books by Kate Atkinson

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

The Lord Peter Wimsey books by Dorothy L Sayers

The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith

The Molesworth books by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (not sure about including this. Not what you'd call a *cuddly* book)

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Not That Sort of Girl by Mary Wesley

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Darling Buds of May books by H.E. Bates (these also work marvellously if you're feeling fat - bonus)

from India Knight's Posterous

(I just love looking through other people's book lists.)