MYSTERY AT WITCHEND

First Published 1943 by Newnes

First Edition dustwrapper.
  Click to enlarge (File Size= 51KB)
First Edition wrapper
Illustrated by G.E. Breary

The first children's book written by the author. Dedicated to his four children, it was however written with publication in mind.

Serialised on BBC Radio Children's Hour it rapidly became popular, and set the scene for the fast development of the writer's career.

The first edition has 22 full page illustrations and a title page vignette of the twins and Mackie. The endpapers are a map of the area drawn by the author's brother David Saville, though not credited to him. The cover is wrap around and depicts the Witchend country, including the stream, woods and Lone Pine itself.
[The photograph is one I took, in Shrewsbury, of the author's own copy, with the assistance and permission of his son, Robin.]

Reprinted: twice with the same illustrations and wrapper, then in 1945 came the change of illustrator to Bertram Prance
This edition is slightly smaller overall than the first three impressions, now with only 8 illustrations, but retaining the endpaper map.
The d/w is front board picture only: the elements of Breary's are there: Peter and David looking down onto Witchend with the owl flying above. The house is identical to that in the earlier drawing; half-timbered and thatched. The presence of the moon makes the owl less incongruous.
The cloth colour was tan (or 'buff') and there was an attractive impressed Pine tree on the front board.

A further eight impressions followed, and this format remained unchanged, apart from the colour of cloth, and the addition to the spine of the dustwrapper of a picture of Peter in the tree.

Bertram Prance wrapper.
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Newnes second wrapper
by Bertram Prance
* Editions/impressions: Note: later editions give two impressions for 1944; earlier only mention one. Hence the 1948 edn is given as 'Fifth Edition' in the book, but as the '6th impression' in later (1957) editions.
Dates below are for the 'impressions' from the 1957 edition.

4th imp 1945: labelled '3rd edition'; tan boards, gold blocking; 8 illustrations; 248pp. This is the first Prance illustrated edition.
5th imp 1946: labelled '4th edition'; tan boards; d/w with white spine, labelled '4th edition'. (see next)
6th imp 1948: '5th edition'; d/w white spine; cp 7/6; tan boards, red blocking, tree logo and title on front board; 248pp. * This edition's correct d/w has label 'Fourth Edition' as previous, but has different photo of author on rear and list includes 'The Secret of Grey Walls' on rear flap.
7th imp 1949: labelled 'Seventh edition' inside; buff boards. * This edition's correct d/w has label 'Fourth Edition' as previous but list on back includes 'Lone Pine Five'.

8th imp 1950: labelled 'Eighth Edition'; buff boards. dustwrapper states 'eighth edition'; picture of Peter in tree added to spine of d/w; cp 7/6.
9th imp 1953: labelled 'Ninth Edition'; buff boards; d/w B.Prance; labelled 'Ninth Edition'; d/w picture on spine; cp 7/6.
10th imp 1957: labelled 'Tenth Impression'; red boards, black blocking; 248pp; d/w B.Prance; d/w picture on spine.
11th imp 1960; labelled 'Eleventh Impression'; blue boards, black blocking; 248pp; d/w picture on spine.
12th imp 1967: blue boards, silver blocking; no logo or title on front board; also with blue boards, black blocking, title, author and tree front board; both 248pp; has printed: '(c) Malcolm Saville 1943, 1960, 1967'; d/w rear flap photo by Michael Hardwick; cp 10'6.

Pine Tree logo from 1945 'Mystery at Witchend'
Front board Logo from
Mystery at Witchend 1945

Other Editions:

Collins 1969:
A revised hardback edition, with dustwrapper; grey boards, gilt blocking on spine; not illustrated; 192pp; one map after foreword; cp 12s 6d.
[For information on this edition, thanks to Steven Handy]
Collins wrapper. Click to enlarge (File size=29KB)
Collins dustwrapper
courtesy of Steven Handy

Collins Budget edn cover.
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Collins Budget edition
courtesy of Mike McGarry
Collins Budget edition 1971 a cheaper edition with pictorial boards.

Armada 1971
A revised paperback edition, with redrawn map and no illustrations. cover price 20p; number C435
Armada cover.
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The Armada Cover

Goodchild edition wrapper. Click to enlarge
Goodchild edition dustwrapper
by Gordon King
courtesy of Mike McGarry
Goodchild 1983:
A new revised hardback edition, without illustrations.
140x220mm; blue cloth with gilt lettering down spine only; 210pp; map endpapers are redrawn copies of the originals; dustwrapper by Gordon King is full colour wrap around illustration of the aftermath of the reservoir wall being breached; cp 5.95.

Scholastic Press 1995 as a 'Hippo' paperback. This was a full text edition, the first for some twenty years or so, and contained the original map.
Hippo cover.
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The Hippo Cover

Girls Gone By cover. Click to enlarge
Girls Gone By edition cover
by Gretchen Breary
Girls Gone By March 2006:
A new paperback edition. For the first time in sixty years with the original illustrations by Gretchen Breary and with the full text of the first edition.

In addition to the story, there is an appendix which has all the Bertram Prance illustrations which replaced Breary's in 1945. There's a preface by Robin Saville, Malcolm's elder son; an introduction by Mark O'Hanlon; an appraisal by Mary Cadogan; and an illustrated publishing history by . . er me. As well as the Bertram Prance appendix there is one by Laura Hicks analysing the typsetting and textual errors in the first edition.

This is a lovely, thick, paperback and beautifully produced. The extras are dominated by the book, with its lovely wrap-around dustwrapper picture (click on image to see).
Size: 130x190mm (and 20mm thick); 320pp; ISBN 1-904417-86-8; published at 9.99.

(N.B. This edition is now out of print.)
David Schutte June 2008
Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine Radio Mystery at Witchend.
A slim hardback, 15.5 x 21.5 cm; red cloth with gold blocking down the spine128pp; Introduction by Sue Bell; Publisher's Notes by David Schutte; ISBN 978-0-9546802-5-1.
A limited number of 100 numbered copies are signed both by Val Biro and David Schutte.

The full BBC Radio scripts for the serialisation broadcast in 1943 published in hardback with cover and black and white frontispiece by Val Biro.
The book is the first of the three Lone Pine serials to be published by David Schutte.
(For more information see the 'Links' page.)
A signed limited edition print of the dustwrapper artwork has been produced in an edition of 30.

Click to enlarge
Val Biro's cover
for the BBc Scripts
David Schutte 2008

Foreign Editions:

American edition wrapper. Click to enlarge (File size=29KB)
the American edition 1945
author's copy
photo M. O'Hanlon
In America the book was published by Farrar and Rinehart in 1945 as 'Spy in the Hills'.
A hardback edition in reddish brown cloth, with black and white frontispiece by Anne Fleur. The dustwrapper picture (which might also be by her ?) shows Peter and David watching Mrs Thurston on the Long Mynd.

For this edition, the text was 'americanised' to remove confusion with English english.

Dymocks Book Arcade 1951
The first of five Lone Pine stories produced in Australia. The book is a version of the Newnes edition of the time with the same map, and Bertram Prance illustrations and dustwrapper. The book uses paper which has a high acid content with the result that it has 'burned' to a dark brown over the years.
The boards are covered in green cloth and there is a nice design touch in that the pine tree logo on the front board is repeated on the spine.

In Spain, Molino published the book in 1961, under the title 'El Club del Pino Solitario'
This is a hardback edition with pictorial boards by Pablo Ramirez, and illustrations by Bertram Prance.

[For information on this edition, thanks to Mike McGary]

Spanish cover. Click to enlarge (File size=28KB)
Molino edition cover
by Pablo Ramirez
courtesy of Steven Handy

Het Spectrum cover.
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Het Spectrum cover
Het Spectrum published it in 1962: in Holland in their Prisma Juniores series as 'Raadsels om de heksenhoek' translated by J. Baas-van Dijk.
paperback, reference number J 194; cover of hidden children watching a man on a hill. The illustration is signed Friso. It contains the original map but has no illustrations; 218pp. Reprinted.
Bel Junior 19??
A Dutch paperback impression, undated so may predate the above edition.
J4 in series as 'Raadsels om de heksenhoek'; translation by J Baas-van Dijk, cover and eight text illustrations by R van Looy; 223pp.

[For information on this edition, thanks to Steven Handy]

Bel cover. Click to enlarge
Bel paperback cover
by R van Looy

Finnish edition wrapper. Click to enlarge
The Finnish edition dustwrapper
courtesy of Mark O'Hanlon
A Norwegian edition was published by Stabenfeldt in 1988 and the Finns had a copy titled 'Seikkailu Alkaa' published by Karisto in 1989.


This page is part of the Malcolm Saville Centenary Website. To enter this site by the front door, click here.
Illustrations copyright the respective Publishers
Text copyright John Allsup
Last updated August 20138