This was a collection of features that Canning had been commissioned to write for the Daily Mail. Ten of them were originally published in the paper usually on Saturdays between December 1935 and February 1936; the dates of these are noted below. There must have been two scheduled for publication on 18th and 25 January 1936, but these did not appear, since within three days the deaths had occurred of Rudyard Kipling and then King George V, and all available editorial space was devoted to loyal tributes.
The first book edition, which included nine previously unpublished chapters, was published by Hodder and Stoughton with an initial print run of 4,000 copies in October 1936, and there was a second printing in November 1936. The last 600 copies were remaindered in November 1940, so there may have been other reprints meanwhile. This edition is one of the easiest to find of Canning's pre-war titles, though it is not plentiful. A new edition, with a brief introduction by Charles Collingwood, has just been published by Summersdale Publishers in July 2011.
The first edition illustrator was Leslie Stead, who was well known as the main illustrator of the Biggles books by Captain W.E.Johns, as well as having designed many book jackets for authors published by Collins and Hodder & Stoughton, including Agatha Christie and Hammond Innes.
An abridged version has been published on CD as an audiobook. The reader is Charles Collingwood, best known for his role as Brian Aldridge in The Archers, and the publisher is Crimson Cats. Chapters included in this version are marked with [CC] below.
The dedication is "To Polly and Jojo", a dog and a cat. The dog's full name was Polycarp.
First edition 1936
New edition 2011
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