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'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

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'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Rob Houghton » 13 Sep 2016, 14:31

I thought I'd start a new thread, as I've recently bought a few 'Abbey Rewards' (although one is an earlier edition of a story that became an 'Abbey Reward' at a later date).

My first Abbey Reward was the book I've mentioned a few times before: 'Mystery of the Island' by Isobel Knight, which is still one of my favourite books. I first read this aged about 8 and have read it many times since. I recently decided to buy a few of the others that are listed on the back, and I'm currently reading 'Island of Secrets' by C Bernard Rutley - very promising so far!

I've also bought cheap copies of 'The Black Bog Mystery' by Lane Mitchell and 'The Moorings Mystery' by Isobel St Vincent, which I have yet to read, and 'The Secret of Pedlar's Piece' by RR Stephens.

I think we've mentioned a few of these before, but I thought I'd put them all in this thread, as I couldn't easily find our previous discussions!

Has anyone read any of these, or the others advertised on the backs of the Abbey reward books? :-)
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Kate Mary » 13 Sep 2016, 16:38

Interesting post Rob. The Abbey Rewards were all, I thought, previously published by Blackie in the 40s and 50s and later by the Peal Press (1960s) which were mostly the editions I'm familiar with although I have some earlier Blackie versions. I was intrigued by your mention of The Moorings Mystery by Isobel St Vincent, is it an Abbey Reward? I have The Moorings Mystery by Alice Sterry (Peal Press 1964: first published by Blackie in 1955) I know that title was later issued as an Abbey Reward but is it the same book? I've just checked COPAC and there is a book with the same title The Moorings Mystery by Isobel St Vincent but that was published by Hutchinson in 1948. Which version do you have?
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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Rob Houghton » 13 Sep 2016, 18:03

Kate Mary wrote: I was intrigued by your mention of The Moorings Mystery by Isobel St Vincent, is it an Abbey Reward? I have The Moorings Mystery by Alice Sterry (Peal Press 1964: first published by Blackie in 1955) I know that title was later issued as an Abbey Reward but is it the same book? I've just checked COPAC and there is a book with the same title The Moorings Mystery by Isobel St Vincent but that was published by Hutchinson in 1948. Which version do you have?


Interesting! I have the version that was later published as an Abbey Reward, but I have an earlier version published by Hutchinson (it may well be a first edition if it was published 1948, as mine has no date. It has a very good dust wrapper, and was actually cheaper than the Abbey reward version, which is why I bought it instead!) It's definitely written by Isobel St Vincent. Here's an image of the version I have, taken from the internet - (my own copy has a better wrapper!) -

Image
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby John Pickup » 13 Sep 2016, 18:31

I've got several of the "Reward" series. Quest Of The Bellamy Jewels by Natalie Barkas, The Fitton Four Poster by George E. Evans, Tim On The Trail by Norman Mackintosh, All Because Of Posy by Kathleen O'Farrell, The School Library Mystery by Agnes Furlong as well as two of the books Rob has mentioned, Mystery Of The Island and Secret Of Pedlar's Piece. I've checked the wrappers of my copies and The Moorings Mystery is always listed by Alice Sterry which leads me to believe that Kate Mary is right, Rob's copy by Isobel St Vincent is a totally different book not in the Reward series. I'm sure that this series were originally books published by Blackie.
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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Rob Houghton » 13 Sep 2016, 18:56

Ah yes - that's interesting! It is indeed a different book (when I bought them I did a title search on eBay as the Reward book I was looking at didn't list the authors). The book I have is very much in the same tradition though - inheriting a house with hidden treasure etc. :-D
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Rob Houghton » 05 Sep 2017, 00:35

Today I bought another three Abbey reward books from eBay - all relatively cheap (each under £5). I'm slowly building a collection of these rewards, as they have a good selection of children's adventure/mystery books.

The three I bought today -

Caravan Creek by Gladys Mitchell

The Family At Kilmory - Elizabeth Leitch

Wrecker's Bay by Percy Woodcock

Has anybody read any of these? I don't know a lot about them! :-D
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Daisy » 05 Sep 2017, 09:20

I have "The Family at Kilmory" but would need to read it again before making any comment about it!
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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Kate Mary » 05 Sep 2017, 19:34

I read The Family at Kilmory for the first time last year. I enjoyed it, it's a pleasant family story.

Gladys Mitchell is a very collectable author, she is better known as a writer of detective stories for adults, the Mrs Bradley mysteries, but she wrote a handful of children's books, I don't have Caravan Creek but I have another title -Holiday River, I bought it years ago and haven't got round to reading it yet.
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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 05 Sep 2017, 21:18

Rob Houghton wrote:The three I bought today -

Caravan Creek by Gladys Mitchell

The Family At Kilmory - Elizabeth Leitch

Wrecker's Bay by Percy Woodcock

Has anybody read any of these? I don't know a lot about them! :-D

Wreckers' Bay by Percy Woodcock is the only Abbey Rewards title I've got, bought from a charity shop for 30p! Mine has no dustwrapper - it has a pictorial front board, a cloth spine and a list of other Abbey Rewards titles on the back board. Nice pictorial endpapers too, which I assume are common to all the books. The internal illustrations are pretty good but I think there are only three of them. It looks as though the artist's name is Day.

I've never read Wreckers' Bay but, glancing at it now, it starts in such a typical way for a children's adventure novel! The opening chapter is called 'The First Day of the Holidays' and the action begins at the breakfast table. A man lowers his newspaper to address his son Tony and his son's friend Jack, who are just finishing their final helping of buttered toast and marmalade. He asks the boys what they're planning to do that day but they haven't yet decided. Tony says, "It's jolly enough just to be able to do as we like for a change. No call-overs, no lessons, no masters, no drills, no bells - except for meals." Even though it's the holidays, the boys are wearing their school blazers and badges. Tony's mother is dead and he and his father live at Barlash Hall, "which was low and long and built of grey stone. It stood in its own grounds and looked out across lawns and shrubberies down to a valley to where the cottages of the village of Barlash clustered on the edge of the little cove. Beyond was the open sea."

The two boys go down to the village and pop into "a little shop, half sweetshop, half pastry-cook's" to talk to "old Anne" who has "the roundest, pinkest, cheeriest face Jack had ever seen." She says, "There you are, Master Tony. I heard you had come home, so I was keeping a look-out for you. I knew you would be down to have a look at the boats the very first thing. What a boy you are for the water, to be sure!" Tony later tells Jack that Anne "was Father's nurse when he was a baby, and her daughter was my nurse, so she always makes a fuss."

Sounds the kind of book an Enid Blyton fan might like - though of course I've no idea how complex or gripping the plot is!
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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Rob Houghton » 08 Sep 2017, 20:17

My three new Abbey Rewards arrived today - very pleased with them, and they look interesting reads! :-D

So far, my Abbey reward collection consists of these -

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Kate Mary » 09 Sep 2017, 07:47

I bought Island of Secrets by C Bernard Rutley this summer from Barter Books in Alnwick. My copy is the earlier Peal Press edition. It's on my ever growing to read pile.
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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Rob Houghton » 09 Sep 2017, 11:58

Kate Mary wrote:I bought Island of Secrets by C Bernard Rutley this summer from Barter Books in Alnwick.


I read that last year - its a book I would describe as 'preposterous' in plot -- but very enjoyable and suspenseful! 8)
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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What other author are you reading at the moment?

Postby timv » 13 Sep 2017, 14:43

Split from another thread.

I've never heard of the Abbey Rewards series, which from the name and the look of its covers and the name appears to be a 1960s/ early 1970s? library series featuring mostly little-known authors. (Does the name imply it was conceived of as the sort of books to be given out as school prizes?) I don't remember these names or covers from my local library in the early 1970s, or have come across the authors' names before. It seems to be a mixture of sub-Enid / M Saville mysteries and school (eg Judith Carr) stories, and there is very little on it on the internet. JC for one I have never heard of though this is apparently a pseudonym; her books are hardly featured in the internet sales lists (eg AbeBooks) and are presumably fairly rare.
It sounds from Rob as though there are quite a lot of books in this series, and I wonder if anyone has any information on it and on other featured authors. Perhaps some could have featured real sites in the UK closely enough for me to put them in a future Literary Landscapes volume if I could track copies down?
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Re: What other author are you reading at the moment?

Postby Rob Houghton » 13 Sep 2017, 18:31

There is a thread about them here -

(Link removed because of a spot of merging.)


There were some better-known authors amongst them, I believe (though I personally have never heard of any of them!) here are a few names and titles -

Island of Secrets - C bernard Rutley
The School Library Mystery - Agnes Furlong
Caravan Creek - Gladys Mitchell
The Moorings Mystery - Alice Sterry
All Because of Posy - Kathleen O'Farrell
Gipsy at Greywalls - Judith Carr
Adrift in the Stratosphere - Prof AM Low
The Long Haul - Alan Paxton
the Prairie Wagon Trail - Rowland Walker
Hammond's Hard Lines - Skelton Cuppord
Berenger's Toughest Case - Douglas V Duff
Wrecker's Bay - Percy Woodcock
The Sky Pirates - Douglas V Duff

There are a few more - some books list more than others. :-)
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Courtenay » 13 Sep 2017, 18:39

Interesting thought, Tim. The only one I've read is The Mystery of the Island by Isobel Knight, which is set on an island called Kilmadrochit off the west coast of Scotland, with a ruined castle on it called Knockdhu. Those are made-up names, but one could assume, from the quite vivid descriptions in the book, that the setting was based on a real place or places that the author knew well. I suppose one would have to do some research into each individual author's life to find out what places he/she could have been drawing on — which might not be easy to find out, since not that many of the Abbey Rewards series authors seem to have been really well-known ones.


Further posts on The Mystery of the Island by Isobel Knight have been moved to the dedicated thread:

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=6577
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