02 May 2012

The House of Cain republished

It is not well known that, in addition to the 29 Bony novels, Arthur Upfield wrote 6 published novels without Bony. I republished two - Gripped by Drought and A Royal Abduction - in 2011. Another is The House of Cain, Upfield's first published novel. It was first published by Hutchinson & Co. Ld, UK in 1928, and then by Dorrance & Company, US in 1929; copies of both editions are extremely scarce and inaccessable to the average reader being mainly in university libraries and private collections.

It was republished without licence by Dennis McMillan, US in 1983. Only 1,000 copies were printed, and they now cost at least $100 each, usually much more.

Austiline Thorpe is arrested for murder and then disappears from the gaol in Melbourne, Australia. Her fiancé, Martin Sherwood, goes blind with the shock. His adventurer brother, Monty, learns that she is in a refuge for murderers in the north-east corner of South Australia, and together they set out to find her and bring her home.

The plot is clearly based on a 5,400-word short story titled "The Murderers' Home" that Upfield completed in 1922 but was apparently not published in his lifetime. The manuscript is in Baillieu Library at the University of Melbourne and was published in my third anthology of Upfield's short works, Up and Down Australia Again. More information about the book is on the Other Works page in my Arthur Upfield: Creator of Bony website.

The second chapter says Monty is now 43 years old, and was twenty when his his father died in 1910, so Monty was born about 1890 - the year Upfield was born - and the story takes place about 1933. In his later novels the stories usually take place at the time it was first written by Upfield.

The House of Cain is a few miles south west of Lake Frome in South Australia. This is not explicitly stated in the book, but was deduced from the details in the story.

I republished The House of Cain on 1 May this year. The cost of this edition is US$44.95.

Copies are available from my online Arthur Upfield Bookshop.