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Old 09-18-2019, 11:39 PM   #1
Pulpmeister
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Hay, L F: It Wasn't a Nightmare (1937); v1, 19 Sept 2019

Lindsay Fitzgerald Hay wrote three secret service novels in the 1930s, of which this is the first.

He was extraordinary character, specially physically. He was just under 7 feet tall, the tallest soldier in the British army in WW1. Several photos exist showing him with fellow officers and soldiers, and he just towers over them. He joined the Black Watch almost immediately after the First War began, was twice wounded, and gained a DSO and other decorations. He served on the western front and also in the Balkans, including in the Battle of Doiran. He was then, and probably subsequently connected, with British Intelligence.

His later interests in life were Ming porcelain, and powerful motorcars.

In this book, a semi-retired Intelligence officer who has a suitable cover (being an adventure novelist) is re-activated to recover a stolen formula from an Armenian arms dealer named Babanian. His cover story is that he is holidaying, researching a new novel, and visiting his old battle grounds. His adventure takes him from a fishing trip on South Uist in the Hebrides, to the Basses Pyrenees beyond Pau, to Doiran Lake on the borders of Greece and Yugoslavia, and finally to a climax in Istanbul.

I have retained the 1930s spellings such as Istanboul, Salonika (today's Thessaloniki), and others. Many of the place names of the period have been changed since, often unrecognisably. I have corrected the numerous miss-spellings of the Duesenberg motor car which features in the tale.

For some unknown reason Chapter 26 alone had no title. I have made one up. The source is principally the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin serial, with cross-checks when needed against the Melbourne Argus version.

The cover I have used is from the MacMillan USA hardback, and is really bad.
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