Search found 12 matches

by parabellum
Sat 16 May, 2009 19:58:01
Forum: The Black Baroness
Topic: The Black Baroness
Replies: 5
Views: 22148

Hello everybody. I hope all are well.

Just a follow up to the identity of The Black Baroness. I am currently reading “The Crown and the Swastikaâ€￾ by Peter Allen published by Robert Hale in 1983.

The book deals with the events following the abdication of the Duke of Windsor (Edward VIII) and his strong links Nazi Germany

Peter Allen states that the French premier Paul Reynaud had a mistress – the Countess Helene de Portes. The Countess was an advocate of peace with Germany so that Hitler had free hand to deal with Soviet Russia. She seemingly had a great influence on Reynaud.

Allen goes on to say the Countess “met an untimely endâ€￾ being “killed in a mysterious car crash.â€￾ The exact fate of the Black Baroness.

And, of course, in DWs novel, Sir Pellinore when asked about the Black Baroness informs Sallust that her real name is La Baronne de Porte.

Best regards
by parabellum
Thu 4 Sep, 2008 18:37:58
Forum: General Topics
Topic: Hello
Replies: 25
Views: 15240

Caroline Jim has explained the subject well and certainly he will be more knowledgeable than I am on Black Magic. Just don't try to con me into buying a DW collection with a glossy advert of naked young teenage spotty hoodies ready for sacrifice, male, female, virgin or otherwise. I'm not biting thi...
by parabellum
Mon 1 Sep, 2008 17:48:48
Forum: The Black Baroness
Topic: The Black Baroness
Replies: 5
Views: 22148

Dear Steve,

Sorry I’m late in writing this. Thanks for the excellent review. It is one of my favourite DW’s and I think a better novel and perhaps more believable than Faked Passports. I certainly think it is amongst the best Gregory Sallust novels. Can I add some comments?

The sneaky Fuhrer undermining counties with a bevy of beauties reminds me of those 1960s American “true warâ€￾ pulp mags with lurid artwork and titles such as (and here’s a one which might fit The Black Baroness) â€￾How Hitler’s Harpy Harem Hooked Holland!â€￾

It does seem very risqué for the Forties. The relationship between Kuporovitch and Paula borders on sado-masochism. And Paula is definitely in the modern terms treated as a “sex object.â€￾ Am I right in thinking this and similar situations in other DW books led to DW being strongly criticised by feminist readers particularly during the 1970s?

DW is very outspoken on Britain’s politicians and how Britain was unprepared for war. He has von Ziegler criticising the British troops as “no motor-cyclist scouts, no armoured cars, no tanks, no flame-throwers, no anti-aircraft guns, not a tommy-gun between them and no aerial protectionâ€￾ No punches pulled there.

I have a soft spot for the dashing von Ziegler. After all he is the German Gregory Sallust. And a perfect gent. He swapped hospital beds to allow Gussie and Sallust to recuperate together. And he tipped Sallust off that a Nazi armoured column was approaching.

The Baroness is described as having a young-old face. Strange description reminiscent of Rex van Rynn who has an ugly-attractive face

As for Herr Grauber. Normally he always turns up like a bad penny when Hitler decides to invade anywhere but he wasn’t in Norway. Why? However, when he does corner Sallust in Rotterdam we learn something new about him. Not only did the Grauber climb over the tortured, broken bodies of his victims to reach the Nazi hierarchy. No! Grauber….. well… ugh….he had zits! Obviously this is due to his homosexual tendencies. I recommend cold baths and plenty of fresh air.

You know what I’m like for pistols (see previous posts.) Both Erika and the Baroness have small automatics.

I had no idea that DW based the Baroness on an actual person and that person may have been a Nazi agent. Very interesting. Any further information?

Big information dump! Not unusual for DW and I believe not popular with many Library members. I don’t particularly mind as it often stimulates me to read more history. For example The Eunuch of Stamboul, The Golden Spaniard and the Roger Brook series. Did a critic once say DW would be a better writer when his books stopped reading like travel brochures?

All in all the Baroness is a great read and some of DW’s best writing. He always seems to be on top form when describing situations such as the terror of air attack, stressful journeys and the chaos of Dunkirk.

What’s next? I suppose it’s off to Nazi occupied Paris with faked passports visa’d for Vichy France and the start of the French resistance?

Best wishes all.
by parabellum
Thu 7 Aug, 2008 20:58:02
Forum: General Topics
Topic: Hello
Replies: 25
Views: 15240

Alan

"I’d been conned by a glossy advert with a naked virgin ready for sacrifice. Is it any wonder I’m not a Black Magic fan? "

Just a wild guess and with my limited Black Magic knowledge I thought they had to be otherwise the sacrifice was not valid?
by parabellum
Wed 30 Jul, 2008 20:13:35
Forum: General Topics
Topic: Shingle Street
Replies: 2
Views: 2979

Shingle Street

There are various posts in the Library relating to DW’s use of real locations in his novels. Have I missed anything about Shingle Street in Suffolk which DW used in Black August? Is any forum member from that area or has any member visited?

It seems DW was a bit obsessed with this area before and during World War 2. Since Napoleonic times the East coast has been considered a vulnerable place for an invasion of Britain and DW seemed to pick up on this. Shingle Street has it’s history by virtue of allegations that the Nazis actually tried to invade in 1940 and were destroyed by a “sea of fireâ€￾ when petroleum pipelines, laid out into the North Sea, were ignited as the invasion fleet approached. It was convenient for both Churchill and Hitler to hush this up for their political reasons. There is an interesting web site which strongly debates that this event actually happened. Seemingly horribly burnt bodies of German servicemen littered the beach. There’s talk of mass graves and witnesses sworn to secrecy.

There is also a book by Peter Haining called “Where the Eagle Landedâ€￾ which I never finished before I had to return to my local library (I’ve revisited and the book is always out!) DW gets a mention for penning anti-invasion measures such as burying broken glass buried under the sands of the East coast and flaming seas! I cannot remember if DW’s War memoirs mention anything relating to this.

I’m as cynical as Gregory Sallust and have a few opinions on the subject. I may not be around in 2021 when the official papers are released. Did the Nazis try to invade in 1940? And was DW, in any way, instrumental in helping to defeat the attempt?

Regards
by parabellum
Wed 30 Jul, 2008 17:41:17
Forum: General Topics
Topic: Hello
Replies: 25
Views: 15240

Steve Well I was a bit put out. As for decorating when you should be reading and reviewing…………! Just to pick up on the Heron situation. I was reading DW in the late 60’ and early 70s. The local libraries always had a fair selection of Lymington editions but I did want to own at least my fa...
by parabellum
Mon 28 Jul, 2008 15:14:03
Forum: General Topics
Topic: Hello
Replies: 25
Views: 15240

Caroline,

I would also like to welcome you. Confession time. My collection is Heron – and yep I just happen to be missing a few copies! Have you read the article The “Heronâ€￾ edition on this site?

Steve

What’s the game? Progressing with V for Vengeance and we haven’t had The Black Baroness yet. Your World War 2 sequence of events must be well out, mate.

It looks like we’re getting the French Resistance before Norway, Denmark, the Low Countries and France have fallen. What would DW say?
by parabellum
Mon 23 Jun, 2008 18:11:44
Forum: Faked Passports
Topic: Faked passports
Replies: 15
Views: 26074

Dear Steve,

Thank you for the enjoyable review of Faked Passports. It was my second DW read after I was hooked by The Black Baroness. I bought the 1966 Arrow edition and confess I fell as much in love with the Luger on the front cover as the beautiful Erika von Epp. And yes absent from the artwork is Herr Grauber’s bandage "covering his empty eye socket" and another covering "his chin and the whole of the lower portion of his face."

The book is a bit Boy’s Ownish, perhaps naff in parts, but nevertheless a good read.

I am always puzzled over DW’s obsession with Goering which he carried over into They Used Dark Forces. Goering was probably one of the worst megalomaniacs in history. He had as much to do with formulating the horrific Nazi regime as anyone and there’s no evidence of him being the statesman DW tries to portray. He was a good combat pilot in WW1 but in later life simply an opportunist, a drug dependent, a blusterer and a murderer.

One of my favourite parts of the book is the raid on the Gestapo HQ. Again a puzzle. Wuolijoki loans Sallust and his party “Suma automatic rifles.â€￾ I am not sure if DW means the Finnish Suomi which was a sub-machine gun not an automatic rifle. Further on in the chapter Sallust refers to the weapons as “sub-machine guns.â€￾

A peasant’s hut in the Artic circle stocked with books and a radio?

The Italian oath? Sallust uses it only in times of extreme stress so he must have been cursing and swearing from 1939 through to 1945.

And how did Erika keep her stockings up after utilising her suspenders as a catapult?

Thanks again for the review and it’s about time you did The Black Baroness.
by parabellum
Wed 4 Jun, 2008 22:11:49
Forum: Three Inquisitive People
Topic: Three Inquisitive People - The Beginning
Replies: 8
Views: 25595

Alan I have never finished Three Inquisitive People. Could never get into it. I will try again. I'm not entirely sure but I think the term "queer" had origins from the 1920s and 1930s, originally meaning the non-conformist, maybe longish-haired arty types. The unconventional cliques they frequented ...
by parabellum
Wed 28 May, 2008 18:44:42
Forum: The Devil Rides Out
Topic: The pistol in Chapter 31
Replies: 3
Views: 6259

Esmond, I feel sure that it must be a typo for .22. The .22 automatic was popular amongst thriller writers. It was often known as the "ladies pistol" because it could easily be concealed in a handbag or if you believe it a stocking top! DW was fond of the ladies pistol. Two immediate references I ca...
by parabellum
Wed 21 May, 2008 18:30:12
Forum: The Satanist
Topic: The Satanist
Replies: 6
Views: 9153

Whilst I am not a black magic fan I did quite enjoy reading the The Satanist many years ago.

If I remember right the Black Magic theme did not overpower the plot, it featured a fair bit of DW's anti-communist stance and was his homage to Dumas' The Corsican Brothers.
by parabellum
Thu 17 Apr, 2008 17:20:00
Forum: The Scarlet Impostor
Topic: The Scarlet Imposter
Replies: 7
Views: 24953

Dear Steve,

Thanks for the interesting review of The Scarlet Impostor. Sorry about my late response – my first ever post to the forum. In particular I am a Sallust fan and consider Come into My Parlour, as DW's best ever. The two interwoven plots (Sallust in Russia and Erika in Germany) and a great finale ensure a page-turner. I also love The Black Baroness (my first DW read) Faked Passports and The Scarlet Impostor.

I note your comments on plots to kill Hitler.

In The Scarlet Impostor DW links the Hotel Adlon affair to arrest the Inner Gestapo with a bomb plot to kill Hitler in Munich. Strangely, there was a real Munich bomb plot and this led to an infamous kidnapping incident at Venlo where British Secret Service agents Stevens and Best were grabbed by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) the S.S. Secret Service.

Walter Schellenberg, of the SD, had infiltrated Stevens and Best’s operations in Holland. Schellenberg was posing as dissident German officer with links to the German General Staff who wanted to do away with Hitler. Schellenberg met with Stevens and Best and it was decided that a second meeting was appropriate.

On the night of 8th November 1939 a bomb shattered the Munich Bierkeller where Hitler was holding the annual Nazi party meeting to honour old comrades killed during his failed 1923 putsch. However, Hitler uncharacteristically left early therefore avoiding the blast. A carpenter named Georg Elser was arrested trying to leave Germany. In his pockets he had a Communist Party card and a postcard photograph of the Bierkeller. It is the subject of much debate and speculation whether Elser acted alone, for British Intelligence or was the dupe of Himmler and/or SD chief Heydrich. There is story that Heydrich manufactured the plot to increase Hitler’s popularity with the German people as the war had entered a period of inactivity – the â€￾Phoney War.â€￾

Hitler certainly linked Elser with the two British agents and ordered their arrest. This was subsequently carried out the next day at Venlo, a town on the Dutch/German border. The bomb incident gets a mention in Faked Passports chapter IV. A good blend of fact and fiction by DW.

Just another couple of points. Knowledge of the Gestapo was very limited in Britain. DW always described Herr Grauber as the chief of the Gestapo Foreign Department U.A.- 1. The Gestapo was developed from Department 1-A. which was the Political branch of the Prussian Police Bureau. Maybe DW had inside information on Nazi organisation? However, Grauber was well known for operating outside of Germany. It was more probable that in real life he would have been a member of the SD, that organisation being a sort of long range intelligence organisation. Later in the war SD and Gestapo were virtually interlinked – membership of one often meant membership of the other. Probably DW never knew the SD existed – until of course after the war when he wrote They Used Dark Forces (Malacou is captured and tortured by a couple of SD men.)

Best regards

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