John Creasey and the Baron Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

John Creasey and the Baron

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John Creasey: Ten Authors in One | The First of Many | Simple Facts | The Toff
Gideon of the Yard (as JJ Marric) | Department Z | Dr Palfrey
Patrick Dawlish (as Gordon Ashe) | As Jeremy York | Inspector West
Michael Fane and Dr Cellini | The Baron

It's Christmas, 1935 and John Creasey - out of work as he so often was - became a temporary postman in Ealing, West London. The job ended on Christmas morning, and he cycled several miles through driving snow to his home at Isleworth, Middlesex. Browsing after the family Christmas dinner, he remembered a book he had started to write as an entry for the £1,500 Cracksman competition, organised by George G Harrap in England and JB Lippincott in the United States. He took the first chapter, which was all he had so far done, from the shelf, and discovered that the latest entry date was 31 December: there were 75,000 more words to be written and he had six days in which to write them.

He began chapter two that night.

He finished the book at Chapter 23 on the afternoon of 31 December, and cycled nine miles to London, delivering the manuscript to Harraps with five minutes in hand. Its title was Meet the Baron.

In July the following year he was told that a panel of judges, including Dennis Wheatley and Leonard R Gribble, had awarded him first prize. If his excitement was slightly dampened by the reduction of the prize to £1,000 (a magazine which was to have used the serial rights in the USA had ceased publication) he realised very quickly that his success as a writer of crime stories was now assured; he became, if not famous, at least widely known overnight.

The series had an unbroken run for 35 years. Yet the character of the Baron - or John Mannering - gradually changed throughout the series. From being a new 'Raffles', stealing precious stones for gain, he became a kind of Robin Hood, robbing the rich to help the poor. Before long, undoubtedly under the influence of Lorna Fauntley, whom he married, he became the owner of Quinns, a Mayfair antique shop, now famous wherever the Baron books are read - which is throughout most of the world

As the owner of Quinns, Mannering is now often consulted by Scotland Yard about precious stones and objets d'art. He goes to the help of many people, often customers of Quinns, who are in desperate trouble. The variety and scope of adventures, his extensive and exciting knowledge of jewellery and other treasures, make him unique. When I read about jewels in your books I positively drool at the mouth', one of John Creasey's female American editors told him.

While there were no major changes in the series, the steady maturing of story line and plot and character development was fascinating for students of the genre. John Creasey's own particular favourite was Sport for the Baron, set mostly in Australia, a 'crime book without a crime'. And he is right to be proud of it - the theme, writing and background of this book put many 'straight' novelists to shame.

The television series based on the Baron books helped book sales considerably, although the English television producers changed the Baron from an English aristocrat to a Texan cattle baron, and replaced his beautiful, portrait-painter wife by a lovely, but often rather superfluous, girl assistant!

With a few 'middle vintage' exceptions, all the Baron books have been published in the United States, and most of them in France as well as several other European countries.

Meet the Baron, the prize-winning novel, has never been revised or altered in any way. Lythway Press published the book in the original text for 32 years and many millions of readers after first publication. Marking the turning point in Creasey's astonishing career, this book, in its own particular way, is a classic of the crime story genre.

Original TitleFirst British EditionFirst US editionUS Title if Different
Meet the Baron19371937The Man in the Blue Mask
The Baron Returns19371937Blue Mask Returns
The Baron at Bay19381938Blue Mask at Bay
The Baron Again19381938Blue Mask Again
Alias the Baron19391939Alias Blue Mask
The Baron at Large19391939Blue Mask at Large
Versus the Baron19491949Versus Blue Mask
Call for the Baron19401940-
The Baron Comes Back1943--
A Case for the Baron19451949-
Reward for the Baron1945--
Career for the Baron19461950-
The Baron and the Beggar19471950-
A Rope for the Baron19481949-
Blame the Baron19491951-
Books for the Baron19491949-
Cry for the Baron19501970-
Trap the Baron19501971-
Shadow the Baron1951--
Attack the Baron1951--
Warn the Baron1952--
The Baron Goes East1953--
Danger for the Baron19531974-
The Baron in France1953--
The Baron Goes Fast19541973-
Nest Egg for the Baron19541961Deaf, Dumb and Blonde
Help the Baron1955--
Hide the Baron1956--
Frame the Baron19571961The Double Frame
Red-Eye for the Baron19581960Blood Red
Black for the Baron19591962If Anything Happened to Hester
Salute the Baron19601972-
A Branch for the Baron19611967-
Bad for the Baron19621967The Baron and the Stolen Legacy
A Sword for the Baron19631966The Baron and the Mogul Sword
The Baron on Board19641968-
The Baron and the Chinese Puzzle19651969-
Sport for the Baron19661969-
Affair for the Baron19671968-
The Baron and the Missing Old Masters19681969-
The Baron and the Unfinished Portrait19691970-
Last Laugh for the Baron19701971-
The Baron Goes a-Buying19711972-
The Baron and the Arrogant Artist19721973-
Burgle the Baron19731974-
The Baron - Kingmaker19741975-
Love for the Baron1975--

Where no date is given, US publication is likely by Walker after John Creasey's revision.

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