Tuesday, 28 January 2014

PBOTD: 28th January, Monica Edwards - No Mistaking Corker

No Mistaking Corker is I think the first Monica Edwards I ever read. It was published in the Vanguard Book of Horses and Riding, of which our local library had a copy. I think I had the book out on almost permanent loan, as it was the only Monica Edwards the library had.

Collins, 1972
No Mistaking Corker, published in 1947 was one of the first books Monica Edwards published: Wish for a Pony, the start of her other series, Romney Marsh, was published in the same year. Both series involve families and groups of children, and both to some extent, ponies. Monica Edwards hated being known as an author of pony stories, but her first books fell firmly into that camp. No Mistaking Corker is the story of the Thornton family, who are off on a holiday in a horse-drawn caravan. Andrea, Dion, Lindsay and Peter journey through Devon, with various problems caused by the fact the horse pulling the van, Corker, can indeed be mistaken for other brown carthorses. The book ends with daring rescue of stolen horses, and Lindsay being offered a foal as a reward. (This foal is mentioned once more in the series that was to come, but then vanishes from view, never to be mentioned again. This ruthless editing of characters that did not suit her plots was something that came to characterise the author.)

Collins first edition, 1947
The book is unusual in that it's told in the first person, from Lindsay's point of view. It was presumably an experiment with which the author wasn't comfortable, because the rest of her books all had an omniscient narrator. The rest of the Punchbowl Farm series was based in one location: Punchbowl Farm, in Surrey. The family moved there in November 1947, and the Thornton family moved there too, to do battle with a tumbledown farmhouse and neglected land, but in No Mistaking Corker that is all a long way away, and they're happy negotiating their way through conventional pony and holiday adventure.


No Mistaking Corker was published several times. The incarnation I knew it in was the most recent. The first edition had a lovely cover, and internal illustrations, by Anne Bullen, who illustrated the first four Monica Edwards titles. The Collins Seagull edition appeared in 1962, having lost its Anne Bullen cover.
Collins Seagull, 1962
The last edition I know of was the Armada paperback version, which appeared in 1965. This had a lively cover by Mary Gernat.

Armada, 1965, cover Mary Gernat

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For more information on Monica Edwards, plus an illustrated bibliography, she has a page on my site.

For even more Monica information, try the wonderful John Allsup's site: The Monica Edwards Website.

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