THE SUMMER OF THE GREAT SECRET


First Published 1948 by Collins

illustrated by Anne Bullen

Photo of 1st edn d/w.
 Click to enlarge
Collins first edition 1948
'We have already met Tamzin, the vicar's daughter, and her friend Rissa in Wish for a Pony. This new book by the same author tells of another eventful holiday which the girls spent together on the Romney Marshes.

During these warm summer months they discover the secret of Jim the Ferryman and the old hulk lying out in the creek. Their moonlight encounter on the Martello tower, the incident with a muffled horse and cart on the beach, a feast celebrated on board a fishing smack, and the story of how Rissa earns enough to buy a chestnut three-year-old, are threads in a most exciting and ingenious plot.'

The second Romney Marsh book, and Tamzin and Rissa get seriously entwined with local smugglers. We find them on the side of the law breakers, and mayhem ensues. Full of lovely characters.

First edition:
Hardback with dustwrapper; 135x200mm; boards pale green with gilt blocking; vignette of two sailed vessel on upper centre of front board; 256 pages; black and white frontispiece of girls backing horse and trap into sea and 19 other line illustrations, all but 6 full page; publication date on title page and reverse.

Dustwrapper: full colour painting, wrapping to include the spine, depicts two girls, one seated on white horse, in meadow; background river leads to distant Rye which appears below the title on spine; cover price 8s 6d. net.


Other Editions:

Collins Crown Library (1953?):
Monica Edwards' notes give a date for this edition of 1953.
The book itself does not carry a date of publication but retains the date of the first edition, see below.

The boards are a pinkish-red, black lettering on the spine including the star between title and author's name, and a plain front board; inside, only her first two books are listed; the title page bears the date 1948 on both the front and at the bottom of the reverse. As a result it is unfortunately easy to mistake this for a first edition ; 135x195mm; 256 pages.

The dustwrapper is in the standard pattern for the earlier Crown Library editions:: red with gold crown above Collins on the spine and the front with an illustrations of girl standing by brown horse. The spine vignette is of a girl riding; the artist is not credited; d/w lists other Crown Library books including Wish For a Pony; the dustwrapper carries double pricing, with 6/- overseas and 5/- in U.K. above and below the price-clip line respectively.

The Crown Library edition. Click to enlarge
Collins Crown Library 1953

Collins Seagull Library 1958:
The date printed on the back of one of these edition's title page is not very clear and has given rise to confusion over the various editions' dates.
The general consensus of opinion is that the dustwrapper with the blue spine and large seagull motif is the earlier one.
So this is what I think at the moment:

The earlier edition, with: This Impression 1958 on the reverse of its title page has a colour frontispiece by an un-named artist.
Both editions are hardbacks, produced with cheap paper but is not abridged and have all but one of the illustrations by Anne Bullen; they both have 256 pages and are bound in blue cloth with silver blocking and the seagull logo on the front board.
The Seagull Library edition. Click to enlarge
Collins Seagull Library edition
The dustwrapper: full colour picture (not credited) is of Tamzin saddling Cascade and Rissa with her bike under the Spanish Chestnuts at the start of the story.
This, assumed earlier, edition has a predominantly blue spine, with sea below and two white gulls flying below the title and author.
One of my copies has the cover price of 3/6 net.
Note: Two different spines of the dustwrapper exist: one has blue a background and flying gull motif, the other has a red panel and oval vignette of girl sculling dinghy. The small picture (left) shows one with the blue spine whereas the enlarged scan is from the 1963 red spine edition.
Variant 1963:
This is the confusingly dated one; the statement: This Impression 1963 looks as though it is '1953' mal-formed.
It is, however, wrapped in the apparently later red-spined dustwrapper and does not have the colour frontispiece. Although wrappers readily migrate between editions and frontispieces are lost, the consistency of copies found support the theory that this is the later edition.
One of my copies has no price printed on the wrapper, another has the cover price of 4/- net.
The attractive red spine has a vignette of Tamzin in dinghy standing with oar.

Collins Laurel and Gold series 1958:
No. 193; abridged; illustrated by Anne Bullen; small book 105x158mm; 256pp; orange boards, gold blocking; lists Wish for a Pony as No. 185; dated on the back of the title page as: First Edition, January, 1958

Reprinted 1960 dated as second impression 1960 [unseen, information from Julie Makin]

The Armada cover.
 Click to enlarge
Armada 1965
Armada 1965:
Armada number C154; cover by Mary Gernat; 11 of the original text illustrations; 156pp; text abridged; cover price 2'6.

This colour frontispiece from what I now think is the earlier edition dated 1958. and is missing from later printings. The artist is not credited, but appears to be by the same artist as the dustwrapper.

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The frontispiece
 from the earlier 'Seagull Library' editions. Click to enlarge.


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
Last created August 2000
last updated May 2015