FRENCHMAN'S SECRET


First Published 1956 by Collins

First edition. Click to enlarge (File size=34KB)
Collins 1956
First Edition
illustrated by Geoffrey Whittam

January in Punchbowl Farm, Surrey, and Lindsey discovers something odd in the old diary she and Dion found in the ruined cellars (back in Black Hunting Whip).

Despite having little time from helping Dion run the farm, she is determined to solve the mystery, which leads them away from the farm and to the nearby Mill House, home of the West family.
Ruth and Roy join the three younger Thorntons on a hunt for the mysterious Frenchman's treasure; with disastrous consequences.

Reviewed in Country Fair Magazine Xmas 1956 by Malcolm Saville.

First edition: dark blue boards, silver blocking, all serif lettering, title and author separated by star on spine; 135x200mm; 256pp; title page vignette and 14 b/w illustrations; maps of the farm (second version with pipeline) and map of the land around The Mill House, both by Charles Green, not as endpapers but after the title page and dedication.
Dustwrapper rear advertises five other Stories of Punchbowl Farm , rear flap advertises four Stories of Romney Marsh; cover price 10s 6d.

Reprinted:

Second Impression February 1959:
Identical to first edition, including dustwrapper, except that it has no date on the title page, but:

FIRST IMPRESSION SEPTEMBER, 1956
SECOND IMPRESSION FEBRUARY, 1959
on the back of the title page. Cover price not known. (Information courtesy of Brian Parks)

Variant:
My copy: Unlike Brian's - is bound in red cloth, with black blocking including the star. Otherwise the book itself is identical to his copy, including its size being the same as the first impression.
The dustwrappers, however, are different. Whereas his has the same dustwrapper as the first, mine has the dustwrapper which advertises The Cownappers on the rear. This was reasonable as, in 1959, it was the latest Farm story.
This is the same wrapper as was used again, 5 years later, on the 1964 edition (below) - for which it was cut down for the smaller size of that book.
My copy of the 1959 dustwrapper has been price-clipped, but inefficiently so that it can be seen to have been priced at 6s net.


Other Editions:

Collins 1964 'six shilling edition': Smaller than the first two impressions; plain red boards with black sans serif lettering on spine, no star between author and title, 'Collins' at base of spine in serif lettering; 125x190mm; 256pp.
On the reverse of the title page:

First Published 1956
This Edition 1964
Dustwrapper same as the first except rear includes advertisement for The Cownappers, rear flap list includes Strangers to the Marsh and Operation Seabird; cover price 6s.

Children's Book Club 1958:
red boards; sans serif black lettering on spine, no publisher; 125x190mm; 256pp; CBC credit on bottom of title page and This Edition 1958 on rear of title page; otherwise identical to Collins reprints.
The dustwrapper is the same as the first edition with the following differences: no publisher logo to base of spine; internal flap reads published by Collins at 10s 6d and beneath that CHILDRENS BOOK CLUB EDITION; rear panel lists 5 forthcoming Childrens Book Club titles; internal flap lists authors previously published by the Childrens Book Club.
[For information on the dustwrapper of this edition, thanks to Scott Lloyd of Gildas Books, Chester]

Crown Library edition 1960
Listed by ME but not seen. This might refer to the 2nd impression (above)

Armada edition. Click to enlarge
Armada 1965 cover
Armada 1965:
Paperback edition; text abridged; Armada number C132; 160pp; maps, and 14 b/w illustrations; cover by Mary Gernat; cover price 2'6.

Girls Gone By 2013:
A new paperback edition published at the end of August 2013.
Matching the others published by this publisher, this is the complete original text and illustrations from the first edition, with added articles of interest to the reader and collector.
It is an attractive book - the original artwork is used on the cover - the full cover can be seen by clicking on the picture on the right, the back shows the spine art, by Geoffrey Whittam, and reproduces the publisher's blurb from the original edition.
The additional material in this book includes an article and photographs of Cosford Mill, by Brian Parks, illustrated with photographs - one by Monica Edwards. Also included are reproductions of the original artwork for nine of the book's illustrations, indicating where they were corrected by Geoffrey Whittam before publication. These are followed by Brian's article on the Real Devil's Punchbowl and Joy Wotton's on the linked books. The publishing history of the book follows, and finally the important notes on the text - where the editors record any necessary changes made to correct errors in the first edition text. In all there are 38 pages of extra material in this book, before you get to the story itself.

Another lovely production from Girls Gone By publishing.

130x190mm; 279 pages; ISBN: 978-1-84745-167-5; published at £13 including postage from the publishers - see 'Links'.

. Click to enlarge
new paperback edition
Girls Gone By 2013


This page is part of the Monica Edwards Website. To enter this site by the front door, click here.
Illustrations copyright the respective Publishers
Text copyright John Allsup
Created August 2000
Last updated 20th May 2015