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The Return of Dennis Wheatley

Wheatley faked hardcover

Dennis Wheatley, one of Britain's most famous novelists and whose career spanned 5 decades, will finally see his books available electronically in a new ebook series to be published by Bloomsbury Reader.  Wheatley's first novel, "Forbidden Territory" was written in 1933 as a means to stave off creditors to his failing wine business.  The book was reprinted 7 times over 7 weeks and became an international bestseller.  Wheatley went on to publish more than 50 novels and was the second bestselling British author after Agatha Christie, selling more than 50 million copies of his novels.

While Wheatley is perhaps most famous for his occult books ("The Devil Rides Out" etc) he was also a prolific author of adventure, espionage and science fiction, publishing more than 50 novels, 4 crime dossiers as well half a dozen historical works and biographies.  Less famously, Wheatley was a member of Churchill's Joint Planning Staff in the Offices of the War Cabinet where he helped plan deception strategies against the Germans during WWII. 

Unfortunately, as tastes changed, Wheatley's British Empire themes and upper class characters felt increasingly out of date.  His books have been out of print for many years; even used copies are hard to come by.  I hope that Bloomsbury Reader will re-introduce Wheatley's works to a new audience, much the way Hard Case Crime has republished hardboiled pulp novels of the 1940s and 50s, along side more recent works.

I've been reading "Faked Passports", Wheatley's 1940 novel about the "Winter War" between Russia and Finland in 1939-40.  Despite his dated style and occasionally awkward prose, Dennis Wheatley remains a heckuva good story teller.


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