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Jan Gordon Novels

"Buddock against London" (1925) and "Piping George" (1930) are two novels with a strong component of the countryside in their stories. "Buddock against London" was dedicated to Jan Gordon's father (as shown below). "Beans Spilt in Spain" (1931) revisits the area of their journeys in the first half of the 1920s (a "rollicking tale of picaresque and Bohemian adventure in the open air and the sun-light" according to NEW AGE), directly incorporating many incidents recounted in the earlier travel books (see: http://janandcoragordonart.blogspot.com/2016/11/jan-gordons-recycling-of-life-and.html ).

A review of "Buddock Aginst London" in The Observer (October 11th 1925) concludes with "Mr. Gordon has drawn his hero and heroine sympathetically and well, the half-educated Cockney and the honest and rather beautiful country girl, but we hardly feel that he made his book quite worth the time it took us to read it."

The Observer's brief review (Gerald Gould, January 12th 1930) of "Piping George" was as follows: "Mr. Gordon's George, in "Piping George" is a character. Not all good, but strong and humorous! The tale is picaresque, and in places improbable; but it will certainly serve." The Manchester Guardian (November 30th, 1934) noted that "Midland Regional will relay a one-act play, "Piping George" by Jan Gordon and Eirene Fearon, from the Opera House, Coventry." See: http://janandcoragordonart.blogspot.com/2015/03/jan-gordon-and-coventry-repertory.html

Three crime novels by Jan Gordon were published under the name of William Gore and the first of these was “There’s Death in the Churchyard” (1934), now a very rare book indeed. The contemporary review by Dorothy Sayers in The Sunday Times is very upbeat: "I give Mr Gore full marks for atmosphere and entertainment value, with a special distinction for one quaint device which he has worked into the solution." One copy of this book (in my possession) survived eighty years in near new condition with an intact dust jacket showing a painting of an incident in the book involving a black cat and a parrot. The novel contains several semi-biographical references to the art world and the experiences of Jan and Cora Gordon during and after the First World War and there are also several allusions to changing societal conditions following the war.
The character "Belle" in the book had studied at the Slade School of Art in London, as did Cora (“Jo”) Gordon. ".. she had nevertheless retained many of the faculties which the art course develops, notably a habit of unconscious observation." This ability proves useful in the solving of the crime.
The character "Gunning" the painter, Like Jan Gordon, had been a munitions worker during the First World War. "why he probably learned no more than his grinding job, and nothing else", an observation which eventually removes him from the list of suspects. Jan Gordon had worked at the Derby Rolls-Royce factory making parts for aero engines.

"There's Death in the Wheelbarrow" features a number of the same characters introduced in "Death in the Churchyard"; superintendent Priddom, Colonel Henderby and others, and they refer back to the "parrot murderer" of the previous year. There is a new artist character called Beeley and references are made to the sculpture of Henry Moore (pg 193). In common with Cora Gordon, the character Amy Gay had been a V.A.D. (Voluntary Aid Detachment) in the war ("It has been forgotten, but it helped me that night", pg. 306).
Published in 1925 A dedication to Jan's father in Buddock Against London A novel published in 1930. The story is about George the wandering flautist and young Nellie Ems. Beans spilt in Spain Dedication to Amy Gordon (AA), an affectionate remembrance of her unfailing kindness
The William Gore detective novels (1934-1938) There's Death in the Churchyard cover Dorothy Sayers review of There's Death in the Churchyard Death in the Wheelbarrow. 1935 Published in 1938 (the American edition of Murder Most Artistic 1937).