Book Review

2003-5/May 2003


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Greetings from The Land of Enchantment. April has been a busy month.


From HREM (Her Royal Event Manageress) Steph Gallagher:

Dear Friends:

It is hardly believable that in 6 weeks time we will be together, celebrating the life and work of Nevil Shute Norway. Two encouraging events occurred this week. Firstly, I received a phone call from the owner of Pond Head House, where Nevil Shute Norway lived with his family from 1941-1950. The current owner would be delighted for us to visit Pond Head House during our Magical Mystery Tour! This would include a walk around the grounds and an opportunity to view the house from the outside. Along with afternoon tea with Edmund de Rothschild and the visit to Exbury House (HMS Mastodon), I am sure this will be a day to remember. Don't forget your cameras!

The second event was a phone call with Tom Baldwin from House of Stratus. They publish 23 Nevil Shute titles, along with titles by other distinguished authors. Tom is offering us a whopping 25% discount on any of their books purchased during the conference. However, advance warning, for this one, it is likely that you will need to pay me in (during the conference) so that I can pay him in . I will have samples of Nevil Shute titles on display in our Exhibition Hall, along with House of Stratus catalogues.

There is still time to register for the conference. Just click onto for full details about what
is on offer. I shall look forward to meeting many of you in 6 weeks time!

Kindest Regards,


An Addendum:

Yet another subject for UK2003: Simon Allen, a Shutist from the UK, will be attending, and wishes to have some discussions regarding present and possible future audio book dramatizations and radio programs. The present schedule is packed to the point that there is no time for additional sessions. However, Simon assures us that he will be making himself known at the conference and is looking forward to informal discussions on the subject.

And Another:

Nick Shapowal (, will be motoring down to the convention from Edinburg, and plans to stop along the way at several sites of Shutist interest. He has offered to provide transportation to anyone who would like to share the ride. Please check out Nick's letter in the Letters to the Editor Section.


As most of you know, Zia and I were in OZ last month and, while there, presented the Foundation Scholarship check to the Royal Victorian Aero Club. During our visit to the club, we discovered that they have a copy of Frances Norway's (Nevil Shute's wife) pilot license. No amount of pleading on our part would persuade them to part with it. However, subsequent to our departure, they discovered that they also have her flight logbook. The good people at the RVAC have offered to donate the flight logbook to the Foundation! Hopefully, we will receive it in time for the display at UK2003.


Webmeister Jack has proposed putting a message board on the Web Site. If we do this, it will have the distinct advantage of allowing readers to discuss ideas with each other a bit more directly than having to go through the Newsletter. It would also allow for much more rapid communication between readers. Any ideas or opinions?


Over the past several years, we have received several requests for information regarding acquiring film rights to Nevil's books, most often having to do with Trustee From The Toolroom. We have referred all these requests to A. P. Watt, the literary agents for the estate of Nevil Shute Norway. Generally, we have heard nothing thereafter. Recently though, it seems that some of these plans are coming to fruition. We have been informed that script rights, if that is the right term, for both Trustee From The Toolroom and Round The Bend have been sold. It is my understanding that the film rights to Trustee From the Toolroom have been purchased by Producer Marc Samuelson (The Gathering Storm), and the rights to Round The Bend have been purchased by Fast Carrier Pictures. An experienced writer, Gail Morgan Hickman, will write the screen play. We would appreciate anyone with any insider information about this sort of thing letting us know so we can spread the word.

In a related area, we recently received a letter from Jon Streatfeild, Co-Director of Action Link, Ltd. in the UK. (See Mr. Streatfield's letter in the Letters to the Editor section below.) He is interested in doing an action documentary of sorts, including a segment on the Parachute Doctors and Nurses mentioned by Nevil Shute in The Rainbow and the Rose. However, he has contacted the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Australia, and they apparently have no information on the program. Is there anyone out there who might be able to help him?


As most of you know, the Foundation maintains video tape copies of all of the films and television dramatizations that have been made from Nevil Shute's books. One of our concerns in that regard is the impermanence of video tape. As time passes, the fidelity of the video reproductions is lost. That is already apparent in some of our tapes. Since we are the only custodian of the complete collection, it is imperative that we do something to preserve the fidelity of our video archives. The most obvious solution is to have the tapes transferred to digital video disks (DVDs). Unfortunately, the last time we looked into this possibility, we were told that it was prohibitively expensive - on the order of thousands of dollars for a single tape. Does anyone have any knowledge of how the tapes can be converted to DVDs at a more reasonable cost? Does anyone work in or have access to a video lab that does this sort of work? Any other suggestions?


Donations to the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation, either through the PayPal button on the web site home page, or through are always appreciated. Also, anyone interested in leaving a bequest to the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation is encouraged to contact the Foundation Secretary at


Note: Letters to the Editor are published, complete with the name and e-address of the sender, unless the sender specifically asks that his or her name and/or e-address not be published. Also, we like to list letter writers' full names and locations, just to give our readers some idea of the areas of the world that the web site and newsletter cover. When writing, please include full name and country/state/region.

From in the UK:

Dear Dan:

I have been reading The Secret War by Gerald Pawle, which is interesting for the account it gives of Nevil Shute's work during World War II in the Department of Miscellaneous Weapons Development.

I came across this as an example of Shute's dry sense of humour:

One day Shute was putting on his bridge coat when his arm knocked against the shoulder of another Naval officer standing next to him.

"Sorry old boy." said Shute

"That's no way to address me" said the other officer "I'll have you know that my rank is equivalent to Rear Admiral."

"With emphasis on the Rear" remarked Shute

I thought you might like to share this in the next Newsletter. Looking forward to the Gathering next June in Portsmouth (Pompey to its friends).

Best regards,

John Anderson

From David Jeanes in OZ:
Dear Editor:

I have been a NSN fan for many years. His book, Beyond the Black Stump was based in the north western area of Western Australia. Several years after it was published Hammond Innes wrote a book, The Golden Soak, with a similar scenario, and about an area less than 100 miles away. I have just read a book by Duncan Kyle, The Honey Ant, copyright 1988, and this is a story about an area south of Kunnanurra in the Kimberley district of Western Australia. I had the impression that Nevil's book attracted Duncan to W.A. where he travelled into the northwest and became fascinated with this wonderful state of Australia.

The Innes and Kyle books seem to indicate that the authors were influenced by Nevil's story.


David Jeanes,
Tweed Heads, on the NSW-Queensland border

From in Canada:
As a dedicated Shute fan who has, over the past fifty years (I am 59) read and reread everything he has written, I regret to say that I have discovered the Foundation website only this afternoon. This is very good stuff indeed, and I am nicely into it. I live in southern Ontario where the temperature at the moment is around 0 C. and snow, freezing rain and ice pellets are falling. Your site is the pleasantest of diversions, and will shortly send me off to my wine cellar and bookshelves.

You might be interested in knowing that on several holidays I have travelled in the vicinity and followed, to the extent possible, the action and locations in three of the novels: Pied Piper, Most Secret and (in the course of my work before I retired) No Highway. Australia is next winter, with Alice and the Northern Territories very much on the menu.


David Spring

From in OZ:
Dear Dan:

I am currently reading Most Secret - the Stratus edition which I have borrowed from our library. They seem to have bought most of the Stratus titles, and they are being taken out regularly, which is gratifying. We do own our own copy, but it is a paperback one, about 30 years old but the printing is very small, and the paper is yellowing, so the Stratus editions are much easier to read!

I would like to say that with this story, although the basic story line is quite dreadful, I really enjoy the way the story is told, with the introduction and development of the characters, and the plot - no bad language, no explicit sex, just a really good beginning, middle and end.

I am not surprised these books are being taken out of the library. Despite their age, they are rattling good stories.

Eunice in Queensland

From in Russia:
I would like to vote for On The Beach as my favorite novel of Mr. Shute.

Faithfully yours,

Nikolaj Fedorov, Russia.

P.S. Thanks for the site

From in the UK:

I hope this is the right way to vote (incidentally if you would like me to make you an ASP-based automatic voting system for free for your website I would be only too please to).

I personally prefer the ones with happy endings, and being an engineer I love the engineering ones. However the top of the bunch are those with characters I really want to come though on top - hence my votes are:

1 The Trustee from the Toolroom
2 Pied Piper
3 Chequerboard

As I have still got a few left to read, my vote might change one day, but I doubt it - I still reread those three regularly. What a lovely idea for a website - keep up the good work,

Yours Sincerely,

Dominic Turner
Easton, Bristol

From in Wisconsin:
Dear Editor:

How does one convince 7 Network-Marriner-Victorian Film Corporation to re-release A Town Like Alice on DVD? This is one of my favorite movies and my old VHS copy is getting really faded. It will be a sad day when it finally fades.

Brian T. Zielke

Waukesha, WI

That's it for this month folks. Please keep those e-cards and e-letters coming.

Regards from The Land Of Enchantment,


Nevil Shute Norway