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Leonard Malcolm Saville (1901-1982) was an English author born in Hastings, Sussex. He is best known for the Lone Pine series of children's books, many of which are set in Shropshire. His work places emphasis on place, with the books including many vivid descriptions of English countryside, villages and sometimes towns. It is also generally acknowledged to be of high literary value, with, for instance, one of Saville's books, Jane's Country Year being described as "another work which deserves to be valued and read". (Watson 2001)

Saville's writing career, from 1943 to 1982, was an extensive diversion from his working life that began at Oxford University Press then continued as a publicist with Cassell & Co. (now part of Orion Books), Associated Press, and George Newnes. He was later the editor of two magazines, taking over one of these - the well-remembered Sunny Stories - from Enid Blyton when she left to set up her own magazine in direct competition. Several of his 90 books were serialised for broadcast on BBC radio, and his 1953 book The Ambermere Treasure, part of the Jillies series, was serialised by Associated-Rediffusion, the first commercial television company to broadcast in the UK, in late 1955 and early 1956; it was therefore one of the first ITV children's drama series.

Social & family

His marriage to Dorothy (née McCoy) in 1926 produced four children.

Saville had strong moral convictions, and was a practising Christian.

Book list

All dates in the list below refer to the first date of publication. Some of the earlier titles were reissued in revised editions in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The Lone Pine series

  • Mystery at Witchend (1943)
  • Seven White Gates (1944)
  • The Gay Dolphin Adventure (1945)
  • The Secret of Grey Walls (1947)
  • Lone Pine Five (1949) - currently in print.
  • The Elusive Grasshopper (1951) - currently in print.
  • The Neglected Mountain (1953) - currently in print.
  • Saucers Over The Moor aka Saucers Over The Moon (1955) - currently in print.
  • Wings Over Witchend (1956) - currently in print.
  • Lone Pine London (1957) - currently in print.
  • The Secret of the Gorge (1958) - currently in print.
  • Mystery Mine (1959) - currently in print.
  • Sea Witch Comes Home (1960)
  • Not Scarlet But Gold (1962)
  • Treasure at Amorys (1964)
  • Man With Three Fingers (1966)
  • Rye Royal (1969)
  • Strangers at Witchend (1970) - currently in print.
  • Where's My Girl? (1972) - currently in print.
  • Home To Witchend (1978) - currently in print.
  • The Flower-Show Hat (short story originally published in 1950 and reprinted in 2000 by the Malcolm Saville Society) - currently in print.

The Buckingham series

  • The Master of Maryknoll (1950)
  • The Buckinghams at Ravenswyke (1952)
  • The Long Passage (1954)
  • A Palace for the Buckinghams (1963)
  • The Secret of the Villa Rosa (1971)
  • Diamond in the Sky (1974)

The Jillies series

  • Redshank's Warning (1948)
  • Two Fair Plaits (1948); reprinted as Secret in the Mist in 1952, but reverted to its original title for subsequent editions.
  • Strangers at Snowfell (1949)
  • The Sign of the Alpine Rose (1950)
  • The Luck of Sallowby (1952)
  • The Ambermere Treasure (1953)

The Nettleford series:

  • All Summer Through (1951)
  • Christmas at Nettleford (1953)
  • Spring Comes To Nettleford (1954)
  • The Secret of Buzzard Scar (1955)

The Marston Baines series

  • Three Towers in Tuscany (1963)
  • The Purple Valley (1964)
  • Dark Danger (1965)
  • White Fire (1966)
  • Power of Three (1968)
  • The Dagger and the Flame (1970)
  • Marston - Master Spy (1978)

The Susan and Bill series

  • Susan, Bill and the Wolf Dog (1954)
  • Susan, Bill and the Ivy-Clad Oak (1954)
  • Susan, Bill and the Vanishing Boy (1955)
  • Susan, Bill and the Golden Clock (1955)
  • Susan, Bill and the 'Saucy Kate' (1956)
  • Susan, Bill and the Dark Stranger (1956)
  • Susan, Bill and the Bright Star Circus (1960)
  • Susan, Bill and the Pirates Bold (1961)

The Michael and Mary series

  • Trouble at Townsend (1945) - when it was first published, this book was filmed by the Rank Organisation starring a young Petula Clark.
  • The Riddle of the Painted Box (1947)
  • The Flying Fish Adventure (1950)
  • The Secret of the Hidden Pool (1953)
  • Where The Bus Stopped (1955) - actually a short story which was published as a book in its own right, although it also appeared in anthologies.
  • Young Johnnie Bimbo (1956)
  • The Fourth Key (1957)

The Brown Family series

  • Four And Twenty Blackbirds (1959) - retitled The Secret of Galleybird Pit in editions published after 1967.
  • Good Dog Dandy (1971)
  • The Roman Treasure Mystery (1973)

Other fiction books

  • Treasure at the Mill (1957)
  • The Thin Grey Man (1966)

Travel books:

Nature and countryside books:

  • Country Scrapbook for Boys and Girls (1944)
  • Open Air Scrapbook for Boys and Girls (1945)
  • Seaside Scrapbook for Boys and Girls (1946)
  • Jane's Country Year (1946)
  • Small Creatures (1959)
  • Malcolm Saville's Country Book (1961) - an updated revision and expansion of the Country Scrapbook and Open Air Scrapbook.
  • Malcolm Saville's Seaside Book (1962) - a similar updated revision and expansion of the Seaside Scrapbook.
  • See How It Grows (1971)
  • Eat What You Grow (1975)
  • The Countryside Quiz (1978)
  • The Wonder Why Book of Exploring a Wood (1978)
  • The Wonder Why Book of Exploring the Seashore (1979)
  • The Wonder Why Book of Wild Flowers Through the Year (1980)
  • The Seashore Quiz (1981)

Religious books

  • King of Kings (1958)
  • Strange Story (1967)

Other non-fiction:

  • The Adventure of the Lifeboat Service (1950)
  • The Coronation Gift Book for Boys and Girls (1952)
  • The Story of Winchelsea Church (1978) - currently in print.

Saville also edited a poetry anthology called Words For All Seasons, first published in 1979 and still in print. Before his death Saville began a book on the Shropshire countryside he loved, called The Silent Hills of Shropshire; he died before he could finish it, but it was completed by Mark O'Hanlon and published in 1998, although it is no longer in print. Mark O'Hanlon's biography of Saville, Beyond the Lone Pine is, however, in print. Another book by Mark O'Hanlon called The Complete Lone Pine - a guide to the entire series - was published in 1996 and was reprinted in an extended edition in 2005. An anthology of Malcolm Saville's Short Stories is likely to be published by the Malcolm Saville Society but the date has yet to be confirmed.

It should be mentioned that many of the out-of-print books are easily available in second-hand editions; others, however, are considerably harder to find.

External links

Watson, Victor (2001). The Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English Cambridge University Press 627-628 ISBN 0521550645

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