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Short stories, novellas and articles

Seven of Canning's novellas were assembled into the collections Young Man on a Bicycle and Delay on Turtle and published in book form in Canning's lifetime. A collection of stories featuring series characters has recently been published by Crippen and Landru as The Minerva Club. I have put together four further collections of stories which I am distributing through the print-on-demand service of Lulu.com with permission from the Estate of Victor Canning. Between them, these cover almost the whole of Canning's recorded output of short stories.

  Crippen and Landru Comedies and whimsies Crime and detection Italy and the Balkans The Exotics
  A new collection of Victor Canning short stories including the superb Minerva Club group. Comedies and Whimsies; humorous short stories from newspapers and magazines. Crime and Detection, thirty-seven stories from newspapers and magazines. Italy and the Balkans, a dozen stories set in the area where Canning served in WW2. The Exotics; three novellas and nine short stories set in exotic locations.

Four of Canning's short stories have been included on school syllabuses or in school anthologies in the USA and are therefore the commonest targets of internet searches among Canning's work. They are "The Smuggler/Dialogue behind a Curtain" (included in Italy and the Balkans), "A Matter of Time/The Man who Hated Time", "Lady in the Dark" and "Never Trust a Lady", these three included in Crime and Detection. The last of these has also appeared in school anthologies in Russia and India under the title "A Question of Trust". These stories are among Canning's best, but they are not the only good ones he wrote.


"The rocket racer". Boys' Magazine (Allied Newspapers), 16 July 1932. Pages 15 - 17.

"The pawn", Evening News, 7 May 1934.

"His last skid", Aftenposten, 11 January 1935.

"The lion tamer". Evening Standard, August 22nd 1935. Page 15.

"Fenlandia". Feature article in The Daily Mail, 7 December 1935.

"The county of Christmas". Feature article on Norfolk in The Daily Mail, 14 December 1935.

"Cumberland coast". Feature article in The Daily Mail, 21 December 1935.

"Glory of the Cotswolds". Feature article in The Daily Mail, 28 December, 1935.

"Undiscovered Kent". Feature article in The Daily Mail, 6 January, 1936.

"Bideford". Feature article in The Daily Mail, 11 January 1936.

"Yorkshire Dales". Feature article in The Daily Mail, 1 February 1936.

"Dorchester". Feature article in The Daily Mail, 8 February 1936.

"Charm of the Potteries". Feature article in The Daily Mail, 15 February 1936.

"Beauty of Bath". Feature article in The Daily Mail, 22 February 1936.

"My view of things". Feature article in The Daily Mail, 29 February 1936.

"The past and its treasures". British Weekly, 12 November 1936. Page 139.

"A matter of time", Evening Standard, 16 August 1950. Reprinted in New Liberty (US), January 1953. Included in the Evening Standard Detective Book, Second Series, Victor Gollancz, 1951. Reprinted as "Timepiece" in Argosy, May 1951, as "A matter of timing". Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, December 1952, and as "The man who hated time" in John Bull and Everybody's, 10 August 1957, and in This Week's short-short stories, ed. Stewart Beach, New York, Random House, 1953. Included in comic strip form as "The smuggler's secret" in The three riddles, Super Detective Library No 106, 1957.

"Dick Whittington's cat", Evening Standard, 22 December 1950.

"Don't be a hero", Argosy (USA), February 1951, reprinted in Magpie, August 1951.

"Food for thought", Evening Standard, 24 April 1951. Reprinted in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #123, February, 1954, and in Crime la Carte, ed. Cynthia Manson, Signet Books, 1994, p. 246-252.

"Dialogue behind a curtain". Lilliput, July 1951. Reprinted in Magpie, the complete story magazine, Vol 2, No 10, January, 1953. Reprinted as “The smuggler” in This Week (exact date unknown) and in Pageant (USA), September 1954. Included in This Week's short-short stories, ed. Stewart Beach, New York, Random House, 1953, and in the school anthology Patterns in Literature: America Reads, ed. Farrell, Clapp and Kuehner, Scott Foresman, 1989.

"Death of a brother", Evening Standard, 29 November, 1951. Reprinted as "The Mystery of Kela Ouai" in This Week's Stories of Mystery and Suspense, ed. Stewart Beach, 1957, p. 68 - 73.

"Fighting cockerel". Argosy, November 1951

"Death of a Boar". Summer Pie (Odhams), 1952

"Portrait of a leader", Magpie, January 1952.

"Let sleeping dogs lie", Evening Standard, 10 March 1952. Reprinted in the Aberdeen Evening Express, 6 March 1954.

"The sleeping man", London Illustrated News, 13 November 1952.

Never trust a lady”, Chambers’s Journal, March 1953, p. 185-7. Also appeared in This Week (exact date unknown) and reprinted in This Week's short-short stories, ed. Stewart Beach, New York, Random House, 1953. Included in Twisted Tales. Collier Macmillan, New York, 1964.

"The key", John Bull, 20 June 1953, reprinted as "The key to freedom" in This Week, 27 September 1953, and as "The key" in John Creasey Mystery Magazine, vol 1, no. 1, 1956.

The captain’s farewell”. Everybody’s, 31 October 1953.

"The emerald necklace". This Week magazine, USA, 1 November 1953.

"Wet stepping stones", Toronto Star Weekly, 27 November, 1953. Reprinted as "Watch your step". Argosy, July 1954.

"The cautious safe-cracker", This Week, 4 July 1954. Reprinted in John Creasey Mystery Magazine, September 1956. Reprinted as “Sitting pretty” in Everybody’s, 9 February 1957. Reprinted in The Second Bedside Mystery Book, ed. John Creasey, Hodder and Stoughton, 1961.

"Who stole Milady's ring?"" This Week, 3 October 1954. Reprinted as "Mr. Flynn finds out" in Everybody's, 19 January 1957.

"Menace at the Casino", This Week, 24 October 1954. Reprinted as "Chance at the wheel" in Argosy, June 1955. Reprinted in Arkley, Arthur (editor), Modern Tales of Action and Suspense Hamish Hamilton, 1962. Filmed by Joseph Losey in 1955 as A Man on the Beach.

"Adriatic crossing". Serialised in John Bull, 19 and 26 March 1955. Included in collection Young man on a bicycle and other stories, Hodder and Stoughton, 1958, published in the USA as Oasis Nine; four short novels.

"The chef who got fed up", This Week, 10 April 1955. Reprinted as "Cook wanted" in Argosy, December 1955

"It never pays off". Everybody's, 23 July, 1955.

"Vacation with violence". Evening Standard, 22 August 1955, Reprinted as "The Napoleonic clue", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, October 1956 and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (British edition) No 64, May, 1958.

"Death in the tunnel". Evening Standard, Thursday 29 September 1955, p. 19.

"Emergency case". Evening Standard, Monday 31 October 1955. P. 18.

"Young man on a bicycle". Cosmopolitan, October 1955. Reprinted in Everybody's, 21, 28 July and 4, 11 August 1956. Reprinted in the collection Young man on a bicycle and other stories, 1958, published in the USA as Oasis Nine; four short novels. Reprinted as "Love and larceny on the Riviera", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #251, October, 1964. Reprinted with the original title in Ellery Queen's Anthology, Vol 21, Spring/Summer 1971.

"Chinese triangle". Argosy, November 1955

"Honorary godfathers", Evening Standard, 11 November 1955.

"Gemma two-five". Toronto Star Weekly. 10 December, 1955.

"Midnight on the lagoon". John Bull, 28 January 1956. Reprinted in Toronto Star Weekly, 7 April 1956. Page 7, and as "Fill the night with murder". Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, April 1957.

"The six deaths of Dr. Kang", Evening Standard, Monday 20th February 1956. Page 17. Reprinted in the Glasgow Evening Citizen on 27th February 1956, and as "Death in China". Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, August 1957.

"Shadow in the dark", Evening Standard, Tuesday 21st February 1956. Page 17. Reprinted in the Glasgow Evening Citizen on 28th February 1956, and as "Death in Australia". Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, August 1957.

"Stranger who called at Room 12", Evening Standard, Wednesday 22nd February 1956. Page 17. Reprinted in the Glasgow Evening Citizen on 29th February 1956, and as "Death in Morocco". Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #173, April, 1958.

"The voyage of fear", Evening Standard, Thursday 23rd February 1956. Page 17. Reprinted in the Glasgow Evening Citizen on 1st March 1956, and as "Death in Italy". Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #175, June, 1958.

"A toast to treachery", Evening Standard, Friday 24th February 1956. Page 17. Reprinted in the Glasgow Evening Citizen on 2 March 1956, and as "Death in France". Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #184, March, 1959.

"A voice from the past", Evening Standard, Saturday 25th February 1956. Page 11. Reprinted in the Glasgow Evening Citizen on 3rd March 1956. (The final part of the “Six deaths of Dr. Kang”, but not used in the Ellery Queen reprints.)

"Oasis Nine". Serialised in Everybody's, March 1956. Included in collection Young man on a bicycle and other stories, Hodder and Stoughton, 1958, and was the title story in the US edition. Appeared in comic strip form as "Oasis of mystery" in Super Detective Library No. 109, 1957.

"Edge of fear". Argosy, April 1956

"Who murdered Grogan the poet?" Evening Standard, Monday 2nd April 1956, p. 11.

"The white spell". Lilliput, May 1956. Reprinted in The Blue Book (McCall Corporation magazine), USA, May 1956.

"The ballerina and the pigs". John Bull, 12 May 1956. P. 24-25, 27, 30.

"Quarrel at sea". Evening Standard, 26 July 1956, reprinted in Glasgow Evening Citizen, 2nd August 1956.

The crown jewels robbery”. Daily Mail, 24 to 28 September 1956.

"The Goldini bath". Everybody's, 6, 13, 20 and 27 October 1956, and in Toronto Star Weekly, 27 January 1957. Included in collection Young man on a bicycle and other stories, Hodder and Stoughton, 1958, published in the USA as Oasis Nine; four short novels.

"Terror at the lighthouse", This Week, 7 October 1956. Reprinted as "Message to the mainland" in John Bull, 3 November 1956, pages 11-13, and included in comic strip form in "The three riddles", Super Detective Library No 106, 1957.

"Murder at the sixth green (The Return of Dr Kang, 1)". Glasgow Evening Citizen, 17th December 1956.

"A question of tailoring (The Return of Dr Kang, 2)". Glasgow Evening Citizen, 18th December 1956.

"The slasher slips up (The Return of Dr Kang, 3)". Glasgow Evening Citizen, 19th December 1956.

"The prisoner in the embassy (The Return of Dr Kang, 4)". Glasgow Evening Citizen, 20th December 1956.

"Lady in distress (The Return of Dr Kang, 5)". Glasgow Evening Citizen, 21st December 1956.

"Find my son (The Return of Dr Kang, 6)". Glasgow Evening Citizen, 28th December 1956.

"The coral tree", John Creasey Mystery Magazine, January 1957. Included in comic strip form in "The three riddles", Super Detective Library No 106, 1957.

"Death wore green", This Week, 24 March 1957.

"Fall of a sparrow". Argosy (UK), June 1957

"Wall of death". Evening Standard, 20 July 1957, page 9.

"Disappearing trick". Argosy, September 1957.

"A son for M'Lassa". John Bull, 19 October 1957.

"Two good men". Evening Standard, Monday 4 November 1957, p. 13.

"The gorilla that died twice", This Week, 19 January 1958, p. 20

"Runaway Redhead". Weekend, 5 February 1958, p. 13-16, reprinted as "The girl from the Argola" in Toronto Star Weekly in two parts, 17 and 24 January 1959.

"A case of dollars". John Bull, No. 2699, 22 March 1958, p. 11 - 14.

"Delay on Turtle". Published in eleven daily parts in the Evening Standard, Monday 27 January to Friday 7 February, 1958. Reprinted together with "Trouble in Limoy" in Star Weekly, Toronto, 17 May, 1958, and also appeared as the title story in the collection Delay on Turtle and other stories, Hodder and Stoughton, 1962.

"Trouble in Limoy". Published with "Delay on Turtle" in Star Weekly, Toronto, 17 May, 1958.

"The Sleigman letter". John Bull, No. 2708, 24 May 1958, p. 10. Reprinted as "Three oaks", Toronto Star Weekly, 23 and 30 May, 1959.

"Arabella's last petticoat", This Week, 24 August 1958.

"Curtains for Mario". Daily Mail. 9 October 1958.

"You are a spy". Evening Standard 28 March, 1959. Reprinted in The Saint Magazine (UK). January 1965.

"Don't talk to me about women". Published in eight daily parts in the Evening Standard from Tuesday 24 February to Wednesday 3 March, 1959. Reprinted in Delay on Turtle and other stories, Hodder and Stoughton, 1962.

"With love from a bad man". Weekend, 29 March 1959.

"The leaning man". John Bull, May 2, 1959, p. 6-8, 35-36.

"The Aberdyll onion". John Bull, May 23, 1959, p. 20-22.

"The survival man". Evening Standard, Monday 31 August to Friday 11 September, 1959. Reprinted in the Toronto Star Weekly, 13 February 1960.

"The butler who should have been a detective", This Week, 13 December 1959. Reprinted as "Everything of the finest". Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, April 1961.

"This bride is dangerous". Serialised in four parts in Suspense, Jan-Apr 1960 and printed in one issue of the Toronto Star Weekly, 2 April 1960. Included in the collection Delay on Turtle and other stories, Hodder and Stoughton, 1962.

"A question of character". Suspense, July 1960. Reprinted in The Saint Magazine British and US ewditions, July 1963 and in John Creasey's Mystery Bedside Book 1970, Hodder and Stoughton, 1969.

"The trouble with heroes". Suspense, August 1960. (Not a story, more a humorous essay on conflicts between plot and character.)

"The woman in Suite 47", This Week, 10 September 1960.

"Exit for an eccentric". Suspense, October 1960. Reprinted as "The yellow-green tassel" in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, October 1961.

"The doomsday pattern". Suspense, January 1961. (A Department of Patterns story but not featuring Papa Grand.)

"The girl and the bearded beachcomber", This Week, 5 February 1961.

"The nigger boy pattern". Suspense, April 1961. Reprinted as "The Sunday fishing club", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #219, February, 1962 and in the British edition June 1962. Included in an Ellery Queen anthology To be read before midnight, Random House, 1962, and in another Ellery Queen collection, The most wanted man in the world, NEL, 1968. It then reappeared as "Nine little fishermen" in Argosy, May 1971. (A Papa Grand story.)

"The vanishing victim". John Bull, 15 April, 1961. Pages 11 - 14.

"Tattoo pattern". Argosy, May 1961 Reprinted as "The Three Musketeers", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, April, 1962 and in the British edition August 1962. (A Papa Grand story.)

"Carnation pattern". Argosy, June 1961. Reprinted as "The carnation anniversary" in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #230, January, 1963 and in the British edition May 1963. (A Papa Grand story.)

"Chicken breast pattern". Argosy, July 1961. Reprinted as "The missing tins of chicken breasts", Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, June 1962 and in the British edition October 1962. (A Papa Grand story.)

"Lady in the dark". Argosy, October 1961, reprinted in John Creasey's Crime Collection 1986, ed Herbert Harris, Victor Gollancz, and as "Intruder in the dark" in This Week, 21 July 1963.

"Hole in one", Evening Standard, 7 October 1961, p. 7.

"Take a second look", Evening News, 19 October 1961. Reprinted as "Through the wall", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #233, April, 1963 and in the British edition August 1963.

"Twinkle, twinkle". Argosy, November 1961. Reprinted as "The ransom of Angelo", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #236, July, 1963 and in the British edition November 1963. (A Minerva Club story.)

"Flight of fancy", Evening News, 9 November 1961. Reprinted as "The boy who told fibs", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine Vol. 53 No 3, March, 1969.

"Copy coupon", Evening News, 19 December 1961.

"Spotting the winner". Argosy, January 1962.

"Monkey tricks", Evening News, 8 January 1962.

"The boat was handy", Evening News, 5 February 1962. Reprinted as "To whoever finds this", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #268, March, 1966.

"Give and take", Evening News, 21 February 1962.

"Star stuff". Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, March 1962.

"Breakaway". Argosy, April 1962.

"Trouble in the city". Argosy, May 1962

"Sanctuary for the General". Argosy, August 1962.

"Vintage vendetta". Argosy, September 1962

"To Lottie with love", Today, 5 January 1963, p. 32. Reprinted as "Flint's diamonds" in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #237, August, 1963, and in the British edition, December 1963. Reprinted in Ellery Queen's Double Dozen; 19th Mystery Annual, 1964. (A Minerva Club story.)

"Escape for a lucky dog", Today, 16 March 1963, p. 28. Reprinted as "The Trojan crate" in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #246, May, 1964 and in the British edition September 1964. (A Minerva Club story.)

"With love from the boys", Today, 6 April 1963, p. 18-20. Reprinted as "Three Heads are better than one" in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #242, January, 1964 and in the British edition May 1964. Reprinted as "Head of the family" in Best Underworld Stories, ed Douglas Rutherford, Faber, 1969, p. 183-192. (A Minerva Club story.)

"The safecracker and the heavenly twins". This Week, 13 October 1963, reprinted as "Heavenly twins" in Argosy, January 1964

"The golf widower," This Week, 24 November 1963, reprinted as "The handicap" in Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine, Vol 2, No 13, August 1965.

"She knew what she wanted." Woman's Own, 13 February, 1965.

"A stroke of genius", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #255, February, 1965. Reprinted in Ellery Queen's Secrets of Mystery, Robert Hale, 1981. Spanish translation "Un golpe de viento" included in Antologia de las mejores novelas policiacas, Ediciones Acervo, Barcelona 1981. (A Minerva Club story.)

"The botany pattern". Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, April 1965.(A Papa Grand story.)

"Baskets of apples and roses", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine #263, October, 1965. Reprinted in Ellery Queen's Anthology, Spring /Summer 1981. (A Papa Grand story.)

"A friend of the family". Woman's Own. 1974

"Meet your author". Puffin Post, Vol 12, No 4, 1978. Background to the writing of The Runaways.

"The Daffodil Day". Woman's Own, 1981 (exact date uncertain).

"Cricket story". From My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen; the best and funniest after-dinner stories from the famous, ed. Phyllis Schindler. Piatkus Books Ltd, 1986. p. 23.

"Through the eyes of love". No publication recorded. Undated, and written presumably in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Typescript donated to John Higgins by Curtis Brown.

The list of short stories is certainly incomplete. Victor Canning is also known to have published short stories in The Herald, The Sunday Dispatch, The Sheffield Telegraph, The Bristol Evening Post, and The Liverpool Express, though many of those will duplicate the ones listed here. He also wrote for boys’ magazines such as The Startler and Boy's Magazine in the early 1930s, but there are no author credits in these magazines so we cannot tell what was Canning’s work, except in one case, The Rocket Racer, where we have a private letter pinpointing date and title. All we know about them is that he was paid. For instance in 1938 and 1939 he received payments totalling over 200 from the D.C.Thomson group for 35 stories, but there is no way of finding out which journals these appeared in or under what titles.


Information compiled by John Higgins, last updated March 2016