Robert Henrey. Delphine and Other Stories. London: Peter Davies, 1947.

Collection of twenty-three short stories partially prefiguring the Madeleine sequence, not included in the official canon.

Reviewed Daily Herald, May 13 1947, p. 4; Scotsman, June 5 1947, p. 7.

Delphine and Other Stories ran to 215 pp. Sm. 8vo (c. 70K words) in the smaller hardback format commonly used for fiction, with no page breaks between stories for postwar paper economy. The gap between the Delphine contract dated 24 June 1946 and the book’s publication seems unusually long, considering Bob’s rule of signing on acceptance of the completed manuscript. Delphine should thus have come out in late 1946 or in the first months of 1947. One reason for the year-long gap may be a marketing decision inspired by Mé to give publication priority to the farm sequel rather than to this new fiction venture. Another reason may be a bottleneck at the busy Windmill Press due to further material being added to the Delphine collection at the last minute. ‘Cold Fear’ at the end of the volume is a fictionalised account of the burglary at Carrington House. This incident definitely occurred during the summer of 1946 while Mé was alone and Bob away in Normandy with Bobby. If the rest of the Delphine manuscript was in hand at the Windmill Press by the time ‘Cold Fear’ was written, as seems likely, the need to accommodate the extra story may well have thrown the schedule out of sync and caused a switch in publication dates, the farm volume by the same publisher being ready at a different press (Sherratt’s St Ann’s Press in Altrincham).