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What Hetty Did


This is Carr's seventh novel and the first he published himself under the imprint of the Quince Tree Press. The full title, given on the title page, is What Hetty Did or Life and Letters. The author named on the title page and spine is 'James Carr' rather than J.L. Carr, the name printed on the cover. Carr's given names were Joseph Lloyd.

This novel is listed in an ISBN search as published by Gardners Books in October 1988. (Gardeners Books is a distributor, not a publisher). It explains perhaps why this book is sometimes advertised thus on second-hand book sites by companies that don't bother to describe the book they have in their hand and shows that some ISBN databases can be wrong.

The novel mentions George Harpole, Emma Foxberrow, Miss Tollemache, Mr Pintle, Croser, and Billitt who appear in The Harpole Report; Edward Peplow, Brightwell, Bellenger, Ruskin, Mullett and Dexter, who appear in A Day in Summer; Mr Fangfoss, Poor Beattie and Gidner from Steeple Sinderby; and Gidner's uncle from Pollocks Crossing

Hetty's family lived at Jordans Bank. Jordans is the name of the first Quaker Meeting House, near Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire. William Penn is buried there.

There are references in this book to events that are described in Carr's next novel, Harpole & Foxberrow, which had not yet been published.




●  First edition, 1st impression


Publisher: The Quince Tree Press, 27 Mill Dale Road, Kettering

Date of publication: October 1988 (according to an ISBN search) or 1st November (according to Amazon), but actually February, according to an inscription in a copy by Carr

ISBN: 0900847913

Size: 198 x 131 mm

Pagination: 6 pp prelims, 183 pp

Binding: printed thick card wrappers

Cover illustration: Joan Hassall

Internal illustrations: Monica Poole, Edwina Ellis, Ian Stephens and Christoper Fiddes.

Price: £3.95

Printed by: Stanley L. Hunt (Printers) Ltd, Rushden, Northamptonshire

Copies printed: 2,850 copies

Dedication: For A, H, P.S., M and N and for many a landlady gone but not forgotten. And also for Edmund Kirby who, in his ninety-eighth year, showed unwearied interest in the production of this book which is dedicated to the Memory of John Baskerville of Birmingham, who designed this type fount, invented wove paper and lost money cheerfully on particular books which he published.

Photo of book

Front cover


Notes: As this was the first novel that Carr published himself, distributed to booksellers and sold directly to the public, signed copies are reasonably common. Carr often added a personal dedication by hand underneath the printed dedication on page 7, above the drawing of his novels. The book labelled Hetty has The End written on it, which it wasn't.

A copy has been seen with a dedication dated February 23rd 1988, so the publication month of October may be wrong.

Carr reported that he made about £600 by publishing the first edition of this novel whereas he was offered an advance of £5,000 by Viking/Penguin. He probably made a bigger profit when he published the second impression, but I suspect that he greatly enjoyed the experience of publishing his first novel after 24 years of publishing small books and maps.




●  First edition, 2nd impression


Publisher: The Quince Tree Press, 27 Mill Dale Road, Kettering

Date of publication: October 1988

ISBN: 0900847913

Size: 198 x 131 mm

Pagination: 6 pp prelims, 183 pp

Binding: printed thick card wrappers

Cover illustration: Joan Hassall

Internal illustrations: Monica Poole, Edwina Ellis, Ian Stephens and Christoper FiddesChristoper Fiddes.

Price: £4.95

Printed by: Stanley L. Hunt (Printers) Ltd, Rushden, Northamptonshire

Copies printed: 3,000 copies

Dedication: For A, H, P.S., M and N and for many a landlady gone but not forgotten. And also for Edmund Kirby who, in his ninety-eighth year, showed unwearied interest in the production of this book which is dedicated to the Memory of John Baskerville of Birmingham, who designed this type fount, invented wove paper and lost money cheerfully on particular books which he published.


Photo of book

Front cover


Notes: This is identical to the first impression except on the Copyright page it states: This is one of an edition of 3,000 copies... It also cost £1 more, at £4.95