23 July 2009

Forgotten Book: THE DARK SIDE OF THE ISLAND, Mark Hebden

This week's contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books.

This book features in my records for November 1977.
I have no memory of it so had to do some sleuthing and really managed to come up with precious little. This book really has been all but forgotten, and yet Mark Hebden (1916-1991) was quite a prolific author.

THE DARK SIDE OF THE ISLAND (1973) was a thriller set in the ''lost islands of the Outer Hebrides''. I didn't find a cover, but Amazon UK has the following synopsis:
Set in the lost islands of the Outer Hebrides, things are not quite what they seem to its residents. Strange characters appear and begin to unleash mindless violence on the islanders. The Dark Side of the Island, a tense and fast-paced novel, reaches a tumultuous climax when half the island is united against the criminals destroying the peace.

I learnt that Mark Hebden (27 books) was also known as John Harris (24 books) and Mark Hennessy (11 books), publishing up to 3 books a year. To the right is a self-caricature from the late 1970s.

Fantastic Fiction says
Born in 1916, Mark Hebden wrote many crime fictions. He was a sailor, airman, a journalist, travel courier, cartoonist and a history teacher. During the Second World War he served with two air forces and two navies. After turning to full-time writing, Hebden created a sequence of crime novels around the quirky fictional character Chief Inspector Pel. A master of his genre, Hebden's writing is as timeless as it is versatile and entertaining.

I'm pretty sure I never read any Inspector Pel but it sounds as if I might have missed out on a treat. The first appears to be PEL AND THE FACELESS CORPSE.
An unidentified, faceless corpse is discovered near a memorial dedicated to villagers killed by the Nazis. Pel is on the case searching for a way to name the faceless corpse. The trail leads him from Burgundy to the frontiers of France, aided by a canny Sergeant Darcy and the shy, resourceful Sergeant Nosjean. Follow the irascible, quirky Chief Inspector on a road to solving the mystery of the faceless corpse.

I found out also that his daughter Juliet Hebden took over writing the Inspector Pel series on her father's death, and added 8 novels to the 18 that her father wrote. That must be some sort of record! Do you know of any other father-daughter writing pair, where the daughter picks up the father's discarded mantle?


pattinase (abbott) said...

Name is so familiar but not the titles.

Anonymous said...

Read all the Pel books.
Great characters and stories.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin