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R. J. McGregor - The Young Detectives, etc.

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R. J. McGregor - The Young Detectives, etc.

Postby MJE » 12 Aug 2012, 20:19

     While I'm on this particular sub-forum, and on the topic of sequels, could I ask another question please?
     This time it's about one or more sequels to R. J. McGregor's book "The Young Detectives" (which is a somewhat Famous-Fivish book about a family that lives up to the title).
     I know one sequel exists called "The Secret of Dead Man's Cove" - but I am wondering whether there are more, or just that one. Again, it's one of those things where I have a hunch, but feel that hunch could be mistaken.
     If any knows, can they please post here?

     Has anyone read the books? Are they good?
     I've read only "The Young Detectives"; but it was so long ago (no later than 1967) that I barely remember what it was about.

Regards, Michael.
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Re: Sequel(s) to R. J. McGregor's "The Young Detectives".

Postby Daisy » 12 Aug 2012, 20:32

The third book in the series is The Secret of Smuggler's Wood according to Google. I have a copy of The Young Detectives which I read way back in the 50s I think and when I came across a copy some while ago I picked it up for a song. It was a Puffin edition printed in 1961. I haven't read the sequels but would like to if possible. I'll have to look on Amazon, ebay etc and see what's to be found.
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Re: Sequel(s) to R. J. McGregor's "The Young Detectives".

Postby MJE » 13 Aug 2012, 04:36

     Thanks, Daisy. I wonder how many there are altogether. The problem with some author bibliographies is that, even if all books by that author are listed (and they aren't always), it is quite common for it not to be mentioned when books use the same characters or are in some way related.
     I might try to find those, although I think "The Young Detectives" is the only one I've ever seen in second-hand bookshops. I already have it, but haven't read it for donkeys' years.
     I only remember odd snippets of its story: the Mackenzie (McKenzie?) family go to an old seaside house for a holiday and there are secret passages or hiding places; the boy Michael is a bit odd (has an imaginary friend who seems more real than usual, and is withdrawn - I've often thought he sounded a bit autistic); some thugs steal a camera from one of the older boys because pictures in it are evidence; Michael is led away by a smooth-talking crook and locked in a neglected old hut (for no reason, it seemed); the mysterious phrase "Spion Kop" is somehow linked with this; there is a glass tube of explosive liquid the crooks were going to do something with; there is a chase scene involving boats.
     That's about all I remember now.

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Re: Sequel(s) to R. J. McGregor's "The Young Detectives".

Postby LNR » 11 Jan 2013, 22:27

Hello Michael

Just came across your query when I was checking out R J McGregor books from my bookshelf - I have 'The Young Detectives' (Puffin 1958), 'The Secret of Dead Man's Cove' (Puffin 1954) and 'The Secret of Smugglers' Wood' (Puffin 1957). I can remember being read these as bedtime stories in early seventies. Checking out authors list - there is another book titled ' The Secret of Hangman's Wood' (1948) - have you had any information to indicate whether this is in series? There does not seem to be much info to be found about this author via internet, may have to visit BL. Eleanor
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Re: Sequel(s) to R. J. McGregor's "The Young Detectives".

Postby MJE » 13 Jan 2013, 11:33

     Thanks for those details, Eleanor. (Are you the Eleanor who years ago gave me details relating to books by Enid Blyton?)
     What authors' list were you checking this on? If there are any web sites around that give complete listings of authors' books, I'd like to know about them. Science-fiction writers have a number of sites that give close-to-complete listings, but I don't know of many covering fiction generally, or children's fiction in particular.
     And what is "BL"? British Library?
     If these book are all in a series (and no, I have no further information on that), then it would appear from the publication details that "The Young Detectives" is a sequel itself - something I hadn't thought of (I suppose I'd carelessly assumed that it was either a book by itself, or, when I read about a sequel, that it was the first).
     You are quite right: it is very difficult indeed to find out anything about this author or his books. Searching for his name is complicated, though, by the fact that no first name is given, and his surname is a reasonably common one.
     Anyway, I've made a note of those titles, and will add them to my list of books to look out for. Thanks.

     (And, concerning another sequel I've looked for, and asked about here once or twice: I read once that Ian Serraillier wrote a sequel to his well-known war story "The Silver Sword". However, despite looking at various web sites discussing Serraillier's work, and writing twice (with no reply either time) to the university that holds his papers, I am almost convinced now that either my memory is mistaken, or the source where I read of this sequel was misinformed, and that this sequel does not exist at all. But if anyone knows to the contrary, I'd be very interested to hear.)

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Re: Sequel(s) to R. J. McGregor's "The Young Detectives".

Postby MJE » 13 Jan 2013, 17:26

MJE wrote:[...] it would appear from the publication details that "The Young Detectives" is a sequel itself

     No - I've looked a bit further, and it now appears that "The Young Detectives" is an early novel, from 1934. Some of the dates you gave, Eleanor, appear to be from Puffin editions that appeared much later than original publication.
     I'm not sure what source you consulted, Eleanor; but Wikipedia has a list that anyone interested in this author may find interesting and useful:

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reginald_James_MacGregor

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Re: Sequel(s) to R. J. McGregor's "The Young Detectives".

Postby turningstones » 23 May 2013, 18:20

Hi I have just started reading R J McGregor books so I thought I could confirm a few points of this thread.
The Young Detectives is as described above and features the Mackie family at their new house in Devon.

The Secret of Dead Man's Cove is described as a sequel to this but I have only jut ordered it and it hasn’t arrived yet.

The Secret of Smugglers’ Wood is about the adventures of the Douglas children at a new house in Dorset.

There is a long list of McGregor’s books on Wikipedia but it doesn’t list which are adventure stories – does anyone know which are which?

The Jungle mystery is listed as an adventure mystery here; http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookD ... sortby%3D7

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R. J. McGregor's "The Young Detectives"

Postby pete9012S » 04 Sep 2017, 16:12

Image

Just bought this book from amazon for about £2.80. It comes with good reviews!

Good clean middle-class fun for the Mackie children, as they foil a gang of smugglers while on holiday in Devon. Reminiscent of Enid Blyton, this tale appeals slightly more, as it is a little darker. I loved the story when I was a child, and now find it as interesting for the light it sheds on the England of the Thirties as for the thrill of the chase as the amateur sleuths solve the case. Recommended for a rainy day.


This is a thoroughly delightful book. It has dated - there's no denying that its period setting now seems very old fashioned to modern children - but it's just as thrilling, gripping and exciting as it was when I first read it when I was little. How can you beat secret passages, disguise and kidnapping? It's also way better written than Enid Blyton!


That last quote piqued my interest. I will look forward to reading this book from way back in 1934 now.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/179 ... Detectives
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Re: Sequel(s) to R. J. McGregor's "The Young Detectives".

Postby Daisy » 04 Sep 2017, 19:56

It's a good story Pete. I have had that book since goodness knows when and read it for the second time about 5 years ago when the subject was first mentioned on here. I wouldn't say it was better written that EB though... but maybe I'm prejudiced!
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Re: R. J. McGregor - The Young Detectives, etc.

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 04 Sep 2017, 20:44

I first read The Young Detectives as a child - and again as an adult. Although it's an enjoyable story, very much of its era, I certainly wouldn't say the story is darker than a typical Enid Blyton adventure book - or better written!
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Re: R. J. McGregor - The Young Detectives, etc.

Postby pete9012S » 05 Sep 2017, 09:07

Thank you Anita and Daisy. I will slightly lower my expectations accordingly! :D
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Re: R. J. McGregor - The Young Detectives, etc.

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 05 Sep 2017, 09:14

Let us know how you get on with it, Pete. I think you'll enjoy it. Your copy has a lovely cover, muted and mysterious. It's great that Puffin have put a puffin on a rock! Mine has a rather lurid, melodramatic cover:

https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1280 ... 793125.jpg
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Re: R. J. McGregor - The Young Detectives, etc.

Postby Daisy » 05 Sep 2017, 09:16

Oh dear... I much prefer the original cover.
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Re: R. J. McGregor - The Young Detectives, etc.

Postby Julie2owlsdene » 05 Sep 2017, 09:50

Yes, I prefer the original cover too. Let us know what you think, Pete. I see Ebay have a few for sale.

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Re: R. J. McGregor - The Young Detectives, etc.

Postby Courtenay » 05 Sep 2017, 10:12

I love that cover on Pete's copy — not so much the weird green one. :shock: It sounds like something I'd like to read as well, if only I didn't already have such a long to-read list... maybe some time, though. Thanks for sharing it, Pete. Interesting that two readers' reviews make a point of rating it better than Enid Blyton, but I'm relieved to know from Anita that this isn't necessarily the case!!
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