Book Review

2003-7/July 2003


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This past month, I received an e-mail to the Letters to the Editor section of the Web Site/Newsletter. It was sent from, which is an entirely fictitious address, and it contained a virus laden attachment. The subject line was JULY NEVIL SHUTE NEWSLETTER. The text began with:


As you can see, the dastardly villains are harvesting subject lines and text from our website, and using them in an attempt to convince recipients that the messages are genuine. They have yet to break into our address book, so if you receive anything like this, it will be because they obtained your e-address from another source. However, there is a chance that could occur.



Greetings from The Land of Enchantment:


UK2003 has come and gone. It was indeed a stellar event. Steph Gallagher did a wonderful job. Everyone was quite pleased with the schedule of speakers, the outing, the dinner speaker (Alice Springs Mayor Fran Kilgariff), etc. Past participants compared the gathering favorably with the Centennial and OZ2001, and first time participants were awe struck, as might be expected.

We had a number of repeat speakers, including David Vaughan, David Weir, Beall Fowler, Laura DiSalvio and Fred Erismann, who took leave from his position this year at the Smithsonian in order to join us. New speakers included Richard Michalak (The Mad Australian), Shoshana Milgram (who wrote the introduction to The Seafarers), Margo Ganster (filling in for Zia), John Anderson, and me. Additionally, Gerard Martin, a local Shutist, led two evening walks around SouthSea/Portsmouth, pointing out all the areas of interest to visiting Shutists.

The outing was particularly well planned. We had a visit to Pond Head, where Nevil Shute and his family lived for eleven years; stopped for tea at a very nice little pub adjacent to the Langston Mill, where Flora Twort made her home; and finished the day at Exbury House/HMS Mastodon, where Edmund De Rothschild very kindly hosted us, and where we were treated to an analysis of events that transpired when the famed JU188 was shot down under mysterious circumstances over HMS Mastodon.

All in all, a very fine time. Those of you who could not make it were sorely missed.


All ten of the films in the Foundation Archives have now been converted to DVDs, thus ensuring that they will be stored in the best possible condition. Eight of the ten were converted from either commercial videos or from first generation video tapes made directly from the films. They are the best quality available. The remaining two, Pied Piper and Crossing to Freedom, were made from poor quality video dubs. Our next film related project will be to search for better copies of these two with which to upgrade our collection. Both of these films have been shown on late night television. Does anyone know how we could go about getting copies from the sources of such television films, or from any other source?


This edition begins our third full year of publication. Circulation remains at around 500, with new subscribers just about equaling those lost through closed e-mail accounts, etc.


The most recent vote received brought our total voter population to 100! A Town Like Alice is far ahead as number one, with Trustee from the Toolroom and Round the Bend second and third place respectively. Interestingly, twenty-two of Nevil's books are on some Shutist's top three list. The only ones that are missing are Marazan, So Disdained, and the recently published The Seafarers.


House of Stratus has terminated their relationship with NETPUB, their previous distributor in the US. They are establishing a relationship with another distributor. Until that is finalized, books may be ordered directly from the UK. (See House of Stratus listing on the Resources page of the Web Site. Also, see correspondence from Gary Levine and from Tom Baldwin in the Letters to the Editor section below.)


Nikolay Fedorov, a Russian Shutist and a recent addition to our group, has been very active in his first month among us. His latest letter is posted in the Letters to the Editor section below. Additionally, Nikolay has written a review of On The Beach, and brought a small omission in the Aviation section to our attention. Welcome Nikolay!


Webmeister Jack Calaway has brought another website/organization to my attention. It is Book Crossing at BookCrossing - Home - FREE YOUR BOOKS!. I strongly encourage everyone to check it out. The idea behind the organization is to share books by either loaning them to a friend, or simply leaving them laying about somewhere that another person is likely to find them. Book Crossing cover stickies, book plates, and book marks are available to be placed in the books you leave lying about. They explain that the book is not lost; but deliberately left there in the hopes that it will be enjoyed by another reader. Those who leave the books, and those who find them, are encouraged to visit the Book Crossing Web Site and leave a message concerning the book, where it was found, readers' comments, etc. What a great way to share Nevil Shute with the world!

Since the Foundation Lending Library now has all the books we require, this seems to be an excellent way to dispose of your extra paperbacks. Also, the next time you visit a used book store and find Nevil Shute editions for a few dollars or less, why not buy them and leave them in your local coffee shop or on your favorite park bench?

Cover stickies, book plates and book marks with Book Crossing logos and information may be obtained for a very modest price through the Book Crossing Web Site listed above. All purchases go to support the Book Crossing organization.

As an added incentive, we will have a number of book marks and/or business cards made up with information on the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation and the Web Site. Any Shutist wishing to have a dozen or so of these to add to the books released into the Book Crossing program may write, and I would be happy to furnish them at no cost. This may be a great way to increase our numbers for the Newsletter, the Web Site, and for the 2005 gathering.


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' 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 name and country/state/region.

From in the UK:

(John was one of our speakers during the outing at UK2003. While we were at Exbury House/HMS Mastodon, he presented the results of his seven year investigation into the mysterious downing of the JU188 there.)

Dan, Richard:

It was nice meeting both of you last Tuesday. I hope the UK gathering proved successful and enjoyable. I've already seen the pictures on the Internet!

I'm not sure if you can help me with this but......

I need to include in my book a picture of the dustjacket from the original edition of Requiem for a Wren - the one I featured on my display boards. A.P. Watt Ltd, who have given me permission to quote from Requiem for a Wren (at a cost), have advised that I should apply for permission to the original artist (or his/her estate). The problem is that the illustrator's name is not given in the book. I have tried writing to William Heinemann, who published the first edition of Requiem, but have never received a reply.

Do you have any ideas as to how I might find out who the artist was? I realise that the artwork was done many years ago now, but I still cannot afford to fall foul of copyright law. I'd be grateful for your thoughts.

Many thanks.

With best wishes,

John Stanley.

NOTE: I replied to John suggesting that Heinemann was probably the most likely source for the information he needs. However, it occurred to me that one of our readers might have information regarding the artist in question. Any ideas?

From in Russia:

Dear Mr. Telfair:

Thank you for your letter and offer of help.

I've written an article on the novel On the Beach. I'll take with pleasure all remarks on my notes and I'm ready to make all necessary amendments.

Best wishes,

Nikolay Fedorov, Saint-Petersburg State Maritime University, Department of History

Note: Nikolay's review of On The Beach will be posted on the Web Site within the next few days, as soon as Webmeister Jack returns from his UK2003 travels.

From in the UK:

Dear Sir:

(Some interesting tidbits regarding the genesis of Round the bend):

The source book is Airlines of the World by Christopher Chant, published by Tiger Books International London, 1997.

The origins of Gulf Air are traced back to a Briton; one F. Bosworth, who in 1950 began operations with a single Avro Anson Type 652A, flying between Bahrain, Doha, Dharan and Sharja. The company was known as the Gulf Aviation Co. Ltd. Two Austers and a de Havilland D.H.86 were added to the fleet in the first year, closely followed by a D.H.104 Dove. The striking parallel between these activities and those of Tom Cutter end at this point since at the end of 1951 the Gulf Aviation Co. Ltd became a subsidiary of BOAC.

This is intriguing since the publication date of Round the Bend was 1951. I have not seen either NSN's Flight Log or Riddell's Flight of Fancy so I can only speculate that Norway might have met Bosworth when the latter was in some early stage of his endeavours. The review of Flight Log mentions marginal notes concerning the basis of some of Nevil Shute's characters so perhaps there is more to know.

As a small point of coincidence I note that also in 1950, one Ismail Bilbeisi started operations as Air Jordan with a fleet of Airspeed Consul aircraft flying out of Amman.

Again, it would be interesting to know whether there is a connection.



From in Bethlehem, PA.:

I just discovered, by accident, a fascinating on-line account of aviation in Nevil Shute's works. The author is Raymond A. Wiley, and the account may be found at

Best regards,


From: in Clarkston, GA:
Dear Sir:

  I am reading once again my paper back copy of Nevil Shute's Slide Rule. My copy of this wonderful book was printed in the U. S. in November, 1964. Since I bought it in 1965 I have read it dozens of times. The first of Mr. Shute's books I read was Pastoral. I have always wanted to see pictures of the airplanes made by de Haviland while Mr. Norway was working there. One that I found is a drawing of the D. H. 53, which must have been a delight to fly. In another one of my books about airplanes, I have found drawings of the Airspeed Envoy, Horsa, and Oxford. Now, to my delight, I have found a web site devoted to Mr. Norway which will be a great improvement over my sitting in front of the telly, dying of boredom.

Richard Beardslee

From in Cumberland, MD:
Dear Sir:

Your newsletter that mentioned Pastoral just reminded me where I first read it (and The Legacy). They were on the shelves of my school library! It is a shame that Nevil Shute never finished his final book. Our public library used to have the Julian Smith book about the Shute books (alas, it is gone) and I enjoyed reading the synopses of all of the books. I also enjoy the newsletter and wish that I had more time to get into the books at this time in my life.


And another letter from in Canada:
Dear Dan:

Thank you so much for publishing my letter. I have already had replies with copies of the article from Andy Burgess and Richard Michalak. You didn't say is your publication on line or hard copy? Where is it available? I have another memory of that sojourn in the trainee drawing office that concerns a unique helicopter project that had been the subject of some considerable development. I would be pleased to write my recollections in the hope that someone might be able to add to them. Can you suggest who might be interested?


Mike Delaney

From An update on Stratus from

A brief update on purchasing the Nevil Shute collection (or volumes thereof) from the House of Stratus.

In brief: House of Stratus is currently not being represented in the United States.

In less brief: I ordered and received the set from House of Stratus some months ago. (Incidentally, the volumes -though softcover- are well-made). As I had been previously informed, due to copyright law, two volumes (On the Beach and A Town Like Alice) were not included and had to be shipped from England.

When several months had passed and I had not received the volumes, I attempted to contact the House of Stratus office I had dealt with in Poughkeepsie, New York. I was somewhat distressed to find that H of S was no longer at the phone number, address or e-mail I had previously contacted. I then contacted Tom Baldwin at House of Stratus in England, the person to whom the Nevil Shute Newsletter had originally referred us. He answered promptly:

Dear Mr Levine,

I am very sorry for the problems that have occured. We have ceased our representation by Netpub in the States - we are currently setting up a new distributor - Midpoint of New York - but this is not ready yet. This is why you have had difficulty.

. . . those two titles are available from us here, but will have to charge you carriage costs. We do not make profit from this - we simply pass the cost to you.

If you wish to do this, you can e-mail with your order - and they will sort out payment options with you.

I hope that this resolves your difficulty,

Best regards



In closing, then, for those who might be interested:

- the books are worth their price

- House of Stratus is not currently represented in the U.S.

- those interested in the set should probably stay in contact wtih Mr. Baldwin ( who appears to be an honourable fellow.

Thank you.

Gary Levine

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