Archive for the ‘In R J Dent’s Library’ Category

Penelope Farmer

October 10, 2014


Penelope Farmer is a British writer of books for children and adults.



Penelope Farmer was born as a fraternal twin in Westerham, Kent, on 14 June 1939. Her parents and the medical staff at the hospital were not aware of her presence until some twenty-five minutes after the birth of her older twin sister, Judith. Throughout Farmer’s life, being a twin has been a defining element of her understanding of her identity. The twins have an older brother, Tim, and a younger sister, Sally.


After attending a boarding school, she read history at St Anne’s College, Oxford and did postgraduate work at Bedford College, University of London.


Penelope Farmer lives in Lanzarote on the Canary Islands.


Her first publication was The China People (1960), a collection of literary fairy tales for young people. One story written for this collection was too long to include. This was re-written as the first chapter of her first novel for children, The Summer Birds. In 1963, this received a Carnegie Medal commendation and was cited as an American Library Association Notable Book. The Summer Birds was soon followed by its sequels, Emma in Winter (1966) Charlotte Sometimes (1969), and A Castle of Bone (1972).


Penelope Farmer has also written several novels for adults. These are:


Standing in the Shadow (1984)

Away From Home (1987)

Eve: Her Story (1988)

Glasshouses (1989)

Snakes and Ladders (1993)

Goodnight Ophelia (2015)

Standing in the Shadow (1984): Penelope Farmer’s debut adult novel…

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Away From Home (1987): A novel in ten episodes describing Elinor’s experiences – her lonely adolescence, her marriage, her children and unsympathetic husband, her divorce, her lover’s inability to come to terms with his Jewishness and her fear of her cancer.

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Eve: Her Story (1988): A modern Eve tells her own story about life in the Garden of Eden as the loving but obstinate Adam, the knowing Lilith, the manlike serpent, the disdainful Archangels, and the ambivalent Jehovah each try to exploit her innocence.


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Glasshouses (1989): An intense novel of three characters, Grace, her husband Jas, and her young apprentice, set in the suggestive, obsessive milieu of a glassblowing workshop.


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Snakes and Ladders (1993): Set in Kenya, Ecuador and Europe, and intertwining fact and fiction, this novel uses a multitude of techniques – diary, narrative, history, information and adman copy – to explore the implications of the protagonist’s international research project into epilepsy.


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Goodnight Ophelia (2015): Jane Ophelia – Jo – retired publisher, lies on her deathbed. In between the attentions of her favourite nurse and visits from her not always grateful children, her fourth husband and her only female friend, she relives the story of her past from childhood to old age. As her story unfolds, the immeasurable and alienating impact of two World Wars on one woman’s life is unveiled, and with it a shocking revelation…


Penelope Farmer’s writings are widely varied: she has written books for children (including contemporary realistic fiction, historical fiction, and mythological retellings), fantasies for young adults, and, most recently, novels for adults. Farmer confesses to a lifelong love of fantasy; as a child she loved to read – in addition to fairy tales – the works of Eric Linklater, Mary Norton, C.S. Lewis, Philippa Pearce, and Lucy Boston. Farmer notes that fantasy allows the writer to “make metaphors for life… turn it into narrative – and thereby get at the essences of life and death.” Although she has written in several genres of fiction, she invariably returns to fantasy, the genre of her most significant work.



Here is a recent vulpes libris (Book Fox) interview with Penelope Farmer:


Penelope Farmer’s books are available at:    


Follow Penelope Farmer and her writing at:

Twitter: @penelopefarmer1   




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Stanley Morgan’s Russ Tobin books

January 4, 2014


Stanley Morgan (born 10 November 1929 in Liverpool) is an English writer and actor.

 Stanley Morgan


Stanley Morgan writes fiction in the comedy and thriller genres and has published more than 30 books since 1968.




Originally an actor, Stanley Morgan had many jobs as a young man, including sewing machine salesman, debt collector and bank clerk. In 1951, Morgan emigrated to Canada where he spent some time working in the Bank of Nova Scotia.


In 1955, he emigrated again, this time to Southern Rhodesia. He resumed his acting career there, and was sponsored to return to London after winning a Best Actor award. Upon returning to London, Morgan featured mostly in voice-overs, although he did have a small role in the James Bond film Dr. No playing the Concierge in the casino who first introduces Sean Connery as James Bond.




Whilst between acting jobs in the late 1960s, Morgan began to write seriously and his first novel The Sewing Machine Man was published in 1968. Allegedly autobiographical, the novel revolved around the character Russ (sometimes known as Russell) Tobin.



Stanley Morgan has gone on to write a further eighteen novels in the Tobin series. These books were written by Morgan in the late 1960s through to the late 1970s. The latest of the Russ Tobin novels was published in 2005 after Morgan came out of retirement, mainly due to renewed interest in his work via the internet.


Russ Tobin is described as a good looking man, six feet tall, with brown hair and blue eyes. At the beginning of the first book, The Sewing Machine Man, he is reported to be 22 years old. He is a ladies’ man, often seducing as many as four women per book. Tobin does not want a serious relationship with any one particular woman; he prefers one night stands. He does meet one or two women that he briefly falls in love with, but his love of travel (and most certainly of meeting and conquering new women across the globe) means that he basically avoids serious, permanent or monogamous relationships.


Throughout the nineteen-book series, Russ Tobin has lots of different jobs. He starts out as a sewing machine salesman, goes on to become a debt collector, has a brief career in TV ads for selling washing powder, and then starts to work and travel overseas. He becomes a courier (tour guide) on the Spanish isle of Majorca; he works as a safari guide in Kenya; a Santa Claus in Canada; a male escort in Australia; a film star in Hollywood and a retirement home manager in Brighton, England.


Russ Tobin has several friends in the series, most notably an Australian tennis player called Buzz Malone. Frequently, Tobin gets into trouble with his friends, usually running from the police, or getting into a fight in a bar. They usually save one another from any scrapes they get into. Also, Tobin and his friends often pick up two girls in a bar or a nightclub.


The Russ Tobin series


 The Sewing Machine Man (1968)


The Debt Collector (1970)




The Courier (1971)



Come Again Courier (1972)



Tobin Takes Off (1973)



 Tobin On Safari (1973)



Tobin In Paradise (1974)



Tobin In Trouble (1974)



Tobin For Hire (1975)



Tobin in Las Vegas (1975)



Tobin In Tahiti (1975)



Tobin Down Under (1976)


Russ Tobin’s Bedside Guide to Smoother Seduction (1976)


Here Comes Tobin (1977)



Hard Up (1977)



Russ Tobin Up Tight (1977)



Russ Tobin In Hollywood (1978)



Tobin Among The Stars (1979)



Tobin Goes Cuckoo (2005)

Tobin’s exact global itinerary throughout the series of novels is Liverpool; London; Majorca; Nairobi; Nassau; Miami; New York; Toronto; Las Vegas; Tahiti; Sydney; Ireland; Los Angeles and Brighton.


Although several deals were discussed in 1970s to adapt the Russ Tobin novels for the screen, nothing was ever finalised.

Stanley Morgan’s Filmography

  • The Sleepwalkers 1959
  • The Clue Of The Twisted Candle 1960
  • The Clue Of The Silver Key 1961
  • Konga 1961
  • The Silent Weapon 1961
  • Partners In Crime 1961
  • The Square Mile Murder 1961
  • The Share Out 1962
  • Hair of the Dog 1962
  • Never Back Losers 1962
  • The L-Shaped Room 1962
  • Dr No 1962
  • On the Beat 1962
  • Doomsday At Eleven 1963
  • The Invisible Asset 1963
  • Night Train To Paris 1964
  • Séance on a Wet Afternoon 1964
  • The Return of Mr. Moto 1965


  • Sir Francis Drake 1962
  • Crane 1963
  • Gideon’s Way 1965



Stanley Morgan’s Russ Tobin Books

(c) R J Dent (2014)

In R J Dent’s Library – Truman Capote

October 24, 2013


A look in R J Dent’s library at the works of journalist, essayist, playwright, short story writer and novelist – the inventor of the non-fiction novel – Truman Capote.




In R J Dent’s Library – Truman Capote


Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)

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In R J Dent’s Library – F. Paul Wilson’s LaNague Federation

October 24, 2013


A look in R J Dent’s library at The LeNague Federation – a series of SF novels and stories with a libertarian message – written by F. Paul Wilson.



In R J Dent’s Library – F. Paul Wilson’s The LaNague Federation


Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)


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In R J Dent’s Library – Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

October 23, 2013

A look in R J Dent’s library at Ken Kesey’s classic novel of institutional rebellion  – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.



In R J Dent’s Library – Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)


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In R J Dent’s Library – Jack Kerouac’s On The Road

October 23, 2013

A look in R J Dent’s library at Jack Kerouac’s classic beat novel of travelling across America in pursuit of freedom – On the Road.

In R J Dent’s Library – Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)


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In R J Dent’s Library – Michael Moorcock’s (Jerry) Cornelius Chronicles

October 22, 2013


A look in R J Dent’s library at The Cornelius Chronicles – a series of novels and stories about an ambivalent time-travelling anti-hero named Jerry Cornelius – written by Michael Moorcock.





In R J Dent’s Library – Michael Moorcock’s The (Jerry) Cornelius Chronicles


Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)


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In R J Dent’s Library – Michael Moorcock’s The Dancers at the End of Time

October 22, 2013


A look in R J Dent’s library at the Dancers at the End of Time series of novels and stories by Michael Moorcock.




In R J Dent’s Library – Michael Moorcock’s The Dancers at the End of Time


Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)


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In R J Dent’s Library – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

October 21, 2013

A look in R J Dent’s library at Mary Shelley’s classic science fiction Gothic novel – Frankenstein.





In R J Dent’s Library – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein


Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)


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In R J Dent’s Library – A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

October 20, 2013


A look in R J Dent’s library at A Clockwork Orange, a dystopian novella written in 1962 by Anthony Burgess and published in 1962.



In R J Dent’s Library – A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess


Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)


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