Introduction Biography Addresses Portraits
Books Short stories Stage plays Film and TV Radio and audio
Quotations Fishing Poetry Food Settings Dedications Narrative style Canning in the OED Reading lists Articles on Canning
Centenary News Links Copies for sale

The Victor Canning pages

Canning in 1938 with his dogs Polycarp and Abigail

These pages celebrate the work of Victor Canning (1911 - 1986), a writer of sixty-one books altogether, including one travel book, eighteen novels both comic and serious, four historical novels set in Roman and Arthurian Britain, three children's books, two short story collections (plus an abundance of other stories) and thirty-three thrillers, the best of which are some of the finest ever written in this genre.

Under Life is an introduction for new readers, a short biography, a list of the places where he lived, and a set of portraits.

Under Works you will find a full bibliography including his work for stage, film, TV and radio, with prefaces to all of the books and summaries of all the surviving short stories.

Under Background you will find a collection of brief quotations from Canning's books on a range of subjects, extracts about what became for him a major hobby, fishing, citations from and references to major poets (he was fond of poetry), descriptions of food and cooking (in case you want to assemble a Canning celebration dinner), and a list of the settings of the novels and stories. I have also created a page about citations from Canning's books in the Oxford English Dictionary, lists of the books he enjoyed himself and recommended to his sister, and a list of articles about Victor Canning, mostly from newspapers..

Click News, links and publications to see items on the deaths of Richard Griffiths, Dinah Sheridan and Kate O'Mara, all of whom had strong associations with Canning adaptations, along with explorations of the background to the books, where to find the books (updated January 2015), and how we marked Canning's centenary in June 2011.

Click on this link to find the Victor Canning page at Curtis Brown, the agency who look after the rights to his work.

Books by Victor Canning now back in print, including fourteen titles from his pre-war output
and twenty titles from Bello, the "modern classics" imprint of Pan Macmillan,
including the Runaways and Crimson Chalice trilogies.

Click on these links to order direct from  

Fountain Inn
A light-hearted thriller involving a religious cult, a forged will, two kidnapped ladies, and a car chase from London to Wales. One of Canning's best books.
New edition 2012 Fly Away Paul
Paul Morison takes the place of his lookalike, Peter Gabriel the famous pop singer, but soon has reason to regret it.
Matthew Silverman: A provincial newspaper is losing circulation. Can the younger generation reverse the trend?


The Chasm
Thriller set in post-war Tuscany. All of Edward Burgess's friends are dead. All except one, who does not want to be found.

Mr Finchley discovers Mr. Finchley Discovers his England, Canning's very first book which became a runaway bestseller. Mr Finchley in Paris Mr Finchley Goes to Paris, in which Mr. Finchley falls in love.


Mr Finchley takes the road Mr. Finchley Takes the Road, in which Mr. Finchley travels through Kent in a horse-drawn caravan. Polycarp's Progress
Canning's second book. Polycarp keeps losing jobs but manages to land on his feet.

Comedies and Whimsies; humorous short stories from newspapers and magazines Comedies and whimsies Crime and Detection, thirty-seven stories from newspapers and magazines Crime and detection Italy and the Balkans, twelve stories and a novella set in the area where Canning served in WW2. Italy and the Balkans The Exotics; three novellas and nine short stories set in exotic locations The Exotics

and writing as Alan Gould and as Julian Forest

Two men fought
Two Men Fought, the lifelong feud of two Cornishmen.


Mercy lane
Mercy Lane, a study of the effects of gossip, set in Faversham in Kent.


Sanctuary from the Dragon, a Kent village's hostility towards outsiders.
The viaduct
The Viaduct, an engrossing historical novel about the building of the Calstock railway viaduct.
Every creature
Every Creature of God is Good, a penetrating study of the mind of a murderer, set in Somerset.
Atlantic Company
Atlantic Company, a thrilling story of survival after a U-boat attack.
The wooden angel
The Wooden Angel, a saga of five families, set in Plymouth.


and four companion volumes with background articles and indexes of characters, locations and themes

Mr Finchley companion Rex Carver companion Smiler companion Birdcage companion
  A Mr. Finchley Companion A Rex Carver Comapnion A 'Smiler' Companion A Birdcage Companion

And these books from other publishers:

New edition by Arcturus Publishing of the third of the Rex Carver series The Python Project, November 2012.

New edition by Arcturus Publishing of the first of the Rex Carver series The Whip Hand, July 2011.

Newly published by Ostara Press in November 2010, Canning's masterpiece The Rainbird Pattern.
New edn 2011
New edition of Canning's travel pieces Everyman's England, July 2011.
Crippen and Landru
A collection of Victor Canning short stories including the superb Minerva Club group.
And fifteen more titles from Bello. Details on individual book pages.

Site created by John Higgins, in June 2000, last updated 15 September, 2017.