The novelist Dennis Wheatley keeps popping into my consciousness recently for odd reasons -he pops up as an inventive British intelligence officer dreaming up a wide variety of schemes to outwit the Nazis in Joshua Levine’s Operation Fortitude: The True Story of the Spy Operation of WW2 That Saved D-Day (which is a great read) while I happen to be embarking on a new project led by an editor with Wheatley interests and then Anne Witchard of the University of Westminster and Lao She in London fame recommended Phil Baker’s biography of Wheatley The Devil is a Gentleman.
In 1954 Wheatley published The Island Where Time Stands Still in his Gregory Sallust series of novels. There’s a China connection so worth a mention and well done to Anne Witchard too for collecting a selection of great covers for the book reflecting quite a few artists and designers Orientalist obsessions!:
On a pleasure cruise on the South Seas, Sir Pellinore Gwaine-Cust’s yacht hits a coral reef and sinks in minutes. Only one survivor is washed to the safety of the shore: Gregory Sallust.But this is no ordinary Pacific island. When Gregory regains consciousness he finds himself among a community of Chinese, ruled by descendents of the ancient Imperial House. Within days the throne becomes vacant, and Gregory joins an expedition to find the true heir – a hazardous search that takes him deep into the forbiddon heart of China itself.