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Panthers' Moon

Novel (256 pages, 71,610 words)

This was Canning's second post-war book for Hodder and Stoughton, published in 1948 at 8/6 with a print run of 12,500 copies. The US edition by Mill & Co came out at $3.00 in April 1948 and was reprinted in the same month. There was a cheap edition in 1950 at 5/- with a print run of 15,000 copies, and a 1952 paperback with a print run of 60,000. It was included in the Uniform Edition in 1968. A comic strip version appeared in Super Detective Library No. 58 in 1956. There is now a new edition from Bello, the "modern classics" imprint of Pan Macmillan, available as p-o-d or e-book. The book has been translated into French, Spanish, German and Dutch, the French translation having appeared in three different editions.

A film was made under the title Spy Hunt in 1950, starring Howard Duff and Marta Toren and directed by George Sherman. It attracted good reviews, but is now very hard to find in a good copy, though a very degraded one is obtainable from Robert's Hard-to-find Videos.

The book is dedicated "to Lindel and Hilary", Canning's daughters then aged 9 and 7.

This is the first espionage thriller that Canning wrote. His war work in Italy had included some top secret activity, but this concerned technical research on radar and gunnery, and had nothing to do with espionage. Nonetheless, Canning never discouraged publishers and reviewers from suggesting that his espionage stories were based on experience. The plot concerns Roger Quain who is taking two panthers, once the property of a fascist count, from Milan to his uncle's circus in Paris by train. He agrees to help a British secret agent, Catherine Talbot, by concealing microfilm in the collar of one of the animals. In Switzerland the train has an accident, the panthers escape, and a multifarious set of people with varied motivations set about hunting them down. The love story element is beautifully handled, since Catherine has to be weaned from her devotion to the memory of her dead lover in the Maquis, executed by a German firing squad. The final account of the killing of the male panther and the stand-off between Quain and his adversary is genuinely gripping. The whole book has dated remarkably little.

First edition 1948
First edition 1948
US first edition 1948
US first 1948
Yellow jacket reprint
Yellow jacket
reprint 1950
Uniform edition
Uniform edition
Super Detective Library 1956
Super detective
Library 1956
French translation 1951
French translation
French translation 1955
French translation
French translation 1972
French translation
Index of characters,
locations and themes
(in preparation)