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Sunday, June 26, 2011

John Creasey's Dr Palfrey (Department Z5)

I was a huge fan of John Creasey when I was a kid. When I was young, I used to read a lot of books that my Dad read as he often had paperbacks sitting around; he was a fan of the Inspector West novels and I, too, became a fan. But the ones that I loved were the Doctor Palfrey novels. Our local library let me have an adult ticket when I was still very young as I'd read my way through everything good in the children's section at a terrific rate and I read some of the later books as they came out.

Many of the Doctor Palfrey books fall into the category of global disaster novels and I wouldn't be surprised if one of them was the first SF novel I ever read. I don't recall reading the early novels. Maybe it's just my memory playing tricks, but all the Palfrey novels I read had two words in the title (The Flood, The Inferno, etc.), so I'm in for a bit of a treat at some point because at the recent ABC show I picked up a small stack of the earlier Palfrey novels. Whether they're any good or not, I don't know. The only Creasey novel I've read in years was an Inspector West and I did rather enjoy it as a straightforward police procedural that, for a change (especially these days), didn't involve a serial killer. I'll have to revisit Creasey again as I have a stack of his Toff and Baron books. In the meantime, here are the 11 Dr. Palfrey novels I picked up. Hopefully I'll be able to fill in some gaps over time. [I should note that I have been filling gaps occasionally, which is why there are now more than 11 covers.]

Traitors' Doom (London, John Long, Nov 1942)

The Valley of Fear (London, John Long, May 1943)
revised as The Perilous Country, Arrow, 1962.

Dangerous Quest (London, John Long, Jun 1944)

The Legion of the Lost (London, John Long, Nov 1943)

The Hounds of Vengeance (London, John Long, Feb 1945)
revised, Arrow Books 938, 1967, 192pp, 3/6. Cover by unknown

Death in the Rising Sun (London, John Long, 1945)
Arrow Books 696, 1963, 192pp, 2/6. Cover by Roger Hall
revised, Arrow Books, 1970.

Shadow of Doom (London, John Long, Jan 1946)
Arrow Books 734, 1964, 192pp, 2/6. Cover by Roger Hall
revised, Arrow Books, 1970.

The House of the Bears (London, John Long, Jan 1947)
revised, Arrow Books 676, 1962, 192pp, 2/6. Cover by unknown

Dark Harvest (London, John Long, Sep 1947)
revised, Arrow Books 677, 1962, 192pp, 2/6. Cover by unknown

Sons of Satan (London, John Long, Jan 1948)
Arrow Books 699, 1963, 190pp, 2/6. Cover by Roger Hall
revised, Arrow Books, 1970.

The Wings of Peace (London, John Long, Sep 1948)
revised, Arrow Books 733, 1964, 192pp, 2/6. Cover by Roger Hall

The Dawn of Darkness (London, John Long, Jun 1949)

The League of Light (London, Evans, Nov 1949)
revised, Arrow Books 717,  1963, 192pp, 2/6. Cover by Roger Hall

The Man Who Shook the World (London, Evans, Nov 1950)
revised, Jay Books 32, 1958, 2/-. Cover by G. Benvenuti?
revised, Arrow Book 718, 1963, 192pp, 2/6. Cover by Roger Hall

The Prophet of Fire (London, Evans, Jun 1951)

The Children of Hate (London, Evans, May 1952)
as The Children of Despair, Jay Books, 1958.

The Touch of Death (London, Hodder & Stoughton, Feb 1954)

The Mists of Fear (London, Hodder & Stoughton, Mar 1955)
Four Square 868, 1963, 223pp.
Four Square 1874, 5/-.

The Flood (London, Hodder & Stoughton, Mar 1956)
Hodder, 1958, 2/6.

The Plague of Silence (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1958)
Hodder Paperbacks

The Drought (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1959)
Four Square 918, 1963, 157pp, 2/6. Cover by unknown
revised as Dry Spell, Four Square 1920, (Jul) 1967, 3/6.

The Terror (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1962)
Hodder Paperbacks

The Depths (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1963)

The Sleep! (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1964)

The Inferno (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1965)
Arrow Books 0099-08650-6, 1974, 190pp, 35p. Cover photo

The Famine (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1967)
Hodder Paperbacks 340-10668-9, 1969, 188pp, 4/-. Cover: photo

The Blight (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1968)

The Oasis (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1969)

The Smog (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1970)

The Unbegotten (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1971)

The Insulators (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1972)

The Voiceless Ones (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1973)

The Thunder-Maker (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1976)

The Whirlwind (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1979)


Mike W said...

My favourite John Creasey books were his Gideon of Scotland Yard stories.He wrote them under the pseudonym of J J Marric. The last one appeared in 1976 & then the Gideon mantle was picked up by William Vivian Butler (1927-87)who wrote 6 more Gideon stories which continued the life of George Gideon & his wife & 6 children. The stories appeared from 1978 to 1990 and the last one was published posthumously. I used to enjoy borrowing them from libraries but like Dennis Wheatley yarns they appear to have lost popularity and are presumably out-of-print as well.

Anonymous said...

in the UK at least a company called "House of Stratus" has been republishing Creasey's novels (also available on Kindle). They're publishing a nice selection of his different series.

As an example, here's one of the Palfrey books you mentioned.."The House of the Bears"

Rather irritatingly, they've renamed some of the Gideon books...All his Gideon novels were titled "Gideon's...." such as Day, Night etc, but they've renamed soem of them as "A Conference for Assasins" (which was Gideon's March), "Seven Days to Death" (Gideon's Week) and "Murder at the Cathedral", "Criminal Imports" neither of which i can find the original title of

Anonymous said...

whoops...a bit of digging on the Stratus website shows the books listed by's Gideon

and Dr Palfrey

the books they've published are at the bottom of each page.

Rob Matthews said...

House of Stratus - The company that reprinted James Hadley Chase - without gun-toting, bikini-clad models on the front cover! What were they thinking??