THE JOHN BUCHAN STORY Peebles, Scottish Borders

Crask Books

Guides to John Buchan’s Writing by Peter Thackeray – November 2019 In descriptions of John Buchan’s books there is often reference to ‘Blanchard’. In this article, Peter explains the significance of the ‘Blanchard’ and the details of John Buchan’s writing. Please click on the links below to read Peter’s articles.
Crask Books (formerly SMS Books) was formed out of my John Buchan collecting habit some 15 years ago. Through a series of unexpected events we became, some 9 years ago, the largest dealers in the world of books by and about John Buchan and his family. The aim is to keep as wide a range as possible but, because of the extreme rarity of some of his works we can never have everything that was written by JB. For full details of all our services, for a current stock list or for any book-related queries you can contact us as follows: email: telephone: (+44) 7947 733860 mail: 1 Halls Brook, East Leake, Loughborough, LE12 6HE
August 2020 ~ Peter on Holiday finds a JB Poem! Hello everyone On holiday in Northumberland and part of my holiday reading is Voices from Their Ain Countrie: The Poems of Marion Angus and Violet Jacob. The end notes to Angus's poem Moonlight Meeting include the following: "Writing to Marion Lochhead in May 1930, Angus admits ' is curious that John Buchan wrote to me that Moonlight Meeting is one of his favourites...' JB, of course, wrote a preface (or foreword) for Violet Jacob's Songs of Angus (1915, I think) - interesting to hear of links with another North-East poet. Just thought you may be interested. Best wishes Peter Moonlight Meeting The Hill by the Lochan A’ gowd and green, She’s luiket at the Lochan An’ gin she wis a queen. “ Lochan, Lochan, Tethered to yir bed, Canna’ rax yir cauld feet Ower ma green plaid.” “Whist,” says the Lochan, “ The moon’s auld e’en Sa’ ye creepin’ doon To ma airms yestreen. Siller wis yir gowd then, Washen in dew; Sleepit ye or waukit ye The hale nicht thro’ ? “ Tho’ laigh,” says the Lochan,“ An’ lane is my bed, An’ I canna rax ma cauld feet Ower yir green plaid.”

Ye Sette of Odd Volumes - August 2020

To many of you the heading to this email will be meaningless, as it would have been to me until a few weeks ago, although some of you may be familiar with this topic. Ye Sette of odd Volumes is aptly described on the History of Science Museum website as a London-based eccentric, scholarly dining club. It was formed in 1878 by the bookseller & publisher, Bernard Quaritch, and functioned continuously until around 1940 and sporadically thereafter. Members were notable men with a wide range of interests and each gathering was addressed by a member on some, usually arcane, subject. These included, purely a random selection, Neglected frescoes in Northern Italy, An Old Stuart Genealogy and Lodowick Muggleton. A variety of publications were issued by the Sette. Opuscula contained the text of addresses given. They were bound in card covers, approx. 5.5 x 4.5 inches, with, generally but not exclusively, 50 to 100 pages. Year Bokes (not a mis-spelling) were of similar format but with generally 150 to 200 pages. They contained a variety of information relating to the period covered. Some were hard bound with a leather spine. Booklets were of a different size, approx. 7 x 4.5 inches, bound in card and usually had fewer than 40 pages. They confirmed information about and of use to members. Miscellanies were of a similar format and content to opuscula but were nit opuscula (don’t ask!). Extras were again of similar format and content but were neither opuscula or miscellanies (definitely don’t ask!). There were sundry other publications such as invitation cards, dinner menus and other ephemera. “Where is all this taking us?” you may ask. A few weeks ago I was contacted by one of my regular book-buying friends whose great-grandfather was a founding member of the Sette and one of its early presidents. Over the years the family have collected a considerable number of the Sette’s publications. He has now decided to rationalise the collection and has asked me to undertake the disposal of any duplicates. This, I now have in my possession approximately 70 opuscula, 25 Year Bokes, 35 booklets, 15 miscellanies, 10 extras and 8 other publications. Pictures of examples of these are attached please click here. If you would like to know more about these and are interested in purchasing them please contact by telephone (07947 733860 – leave voicemail if necessary) or email ( PRESTER JOHN This novel was John Buchan’s first big seller and has been through countless editions since its first publication in 1910; it is still in print. Two uncommon editions have recently come my way. 9791 Prester John was originally serialised, under the title The Black General, in The Captain, a magazine for “boys and old boys” published by George Newnes. As well as monthly issued it was also published in 6-monthly bound volumes. Volume 23 includes the whole of The Black General accompanied by illustrations which were not included in the book when published. It also contains other stories, including 2 quite early PG Wodehouse stories, and a range of non-fiction covering general interest articles, sport, exploration and so on. This copy is bound in marbled purple cloth with gold lettering. There are 576 pages plus about 50 pages of period adverts and information about The Captain Club. The spine is faded and the front cover has patchy fading. The spine has some wear and small splits at the ends. Internally the page margins are very lightly browned and 2 or 3 pages have a small closed tear at the bottom edge. 2 leaves, pages 339-342, are partly detached. The binding, however, is very firm. A sound copy and a delightful period piece. £40 9776 Shortly after the first edition was published, Nelsons published an illustrated edition. This was of a larger page size (approx. 8 inches x 6 inches) and included eight full-colour illustrations by Stephen Reid. The front cover bears a pasted-on illustration of Prester John in his regal robes and this is surrounded by a ruby and gold ‘necklace’. Usually this is bound in green cloth, similar to the first edition, but occasionally it is seen in bright blue. This copy is one of the latter. Internally the book is very good but for occasional light foxing and a lightly browned title page. The binding is bright but the corners are lightly rubbed and there are a few small marks on the rear cover. The spine is rubbed at the ends and there are a few tiny splits. The only significant fault is that the head of the spine has a half-inch split curving down through the E and S of the title and then running horizontally to the front hinge. This results in a small piece of the spine flapping loosely. It should be a simple bookbinding repair. £27 Notes: 1. All prices are in GBP (pounds sterling). 2. All prices exclude shipping/postage. This will be calculated and advised to you with confirmation of your order 3. To order please email or telephone and let me know the reference number and title of the book(s) you want to order. 4. An invoice will be emailed to you or sent with the books; this will also include details of the payment methods available. 5. Card payments (credit or debit) cannot be processed. Payments by cheque, bank transfer, PayPal or cash are acceptable. 6. Always happy to answer questions about the books. 7. If you no longer wish to receive emails from Crask Books please reply with the simple message ‘Delete’. Kind regards Peter Thackeray