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Prolific English author, a writer of stylish thrillers and occult novels that made him one of the world's best-selling authors in the 1950s and 1960s.
The second book Wheatley wrote, The Forbidden Territory, was published in 1933 and was a great success, launching his literary career.
He wrote adventure stories, with many books in a series of linked works. His plots covered the French Revolution (Roger Brook Series), Satanism (Duc de Richleau), World War 2 (Gregory Sallust) and espionage (Julian Day).
Around the 1960s his publishers were selling 1 million copies of his books per year. A small number of his books were made into films by Hammer, of which the best known is The Devil Rides Out (1968)Wheatley was considered an authority on the supernatural, satanism, the practice of exorcism, and black magic; as well as other black arts. Interestingly, two weeks before his death in November of 1977, Wheatley received conditional absolution from his old friend Cyril ‘Bobby’ Eastaugh, the Bishop of Peterborough.
This is an important 2-page letter on headed notepaper (48 Queens Gate, SW7, Oct 20th '33), handwritten and signed in blue fountain pen ink.
1933 was Wheatley's breakthrough year but following the instant success of The Forbidden Territory the next book of his to appear in the shops, in the September of that year, was a non-fiction title, Old Rowley, a biography of King Charles II. This letter is about that book.
It reads (in full):
Dear Mr Sutcliffe,
I fear you will think me very rude for not having replied to your letter of Sept 27th but the truth is that I have been waiting until I could get delivery of the enclosed postcards.
We thought it best to wait this time to see if we could get a few nice quotes from the reviews before having them printed, and as you will see, have been extremely lucky - but even when we got them Hurchinsons took ten days to print them off - hence the delay.
The book [Old Rowley] is on offer in America, but I have heard nothing yet - and since things are still in such a bad state over there it is quite possible that it may not be taken for some time. In any case it is most kind of you to suggest sending a few of the leaflets to your American customers - and I shall be most grateful if you will do so.
Hutchinsons have made a very nice job of the book and Papé's* illustrations are delightful, so I am amply pleased with it - and I am sure you will be glad to hear that it is selling well.
It is most kind of you to take such an interest in my work, and I appreciate your help very much indeed.
With kindest regards
One vertical and one horizontal fold (both a little heavy) but in good overall condition. RARE.
* Frank Papé (2878-1972)
English artist and book illustrator who went on to produce the dust jacket illustrations for The Devil Rides Out (1935) and three other Wheatley novels.