Walk Softly, Witch, 1959
It has been almost two years since I did my first post on Carter Brown paperback and pulps with their wonderful witchy covers. You could be forgiven for thinking that I had given these books no more attention since then, but you’d be wrong. It is just that, being a bit of a completest I have been holding off doing any more posts on the Brown novels until I had copies of all of them. I still don’t, but I thought it was high-time for another post. And this one should make it clear why I have still not collected them all.
Here we have Walk Softly, Witch (Sydney: Horwitz, 1959)
Once I had this in my hands I thought, “Brilliant. Now the hardest part is over. I have the first edition!” As it happens, I was wrong. Or, at least, not wrong, but not completely right either. You see, Walk Softly, Witch is actually a reworking of an earlier novel called Eve—It’s Extortion! (Sydney: Horwitz, 1957), so perhaps Eve is the first edition?
And so now I have a problem, do I buy a copy of Eve and include it in my post? Since almost none of the Carter Brown covers feature recognisable witches (you know, hats and brooms), then it is an open question as to whether the cover-art on Eve—or on Walk Softly, Witch—is really a witch after all. I would have to read both novels and try to establish if the buxum blonde on the cover of the latter is really a witch or not.
So, what of later editions? I am glad you asked. Walk Softly, Witch was reissued by Horwitz, in April of 1960 under the title Terror Comes Creeping. Why the change in title? Nobody knows, it could have been an accident, except they did it again in December of the same year. Do I have copies of these yet. Err, no. Because I would have had to know that Terror Comes Creeping is, actually, Walk Softly, Witch, which I didn’t until recently.
So, were there any other editions? I am glad you asked. In the US and in Canada this book was published under the title The Victim in 1959. Why? No idea. Do I have any copies yet, No.
So, were there any later editions actually called Walk Softly, Witch? I am glad you asked. Yes, there are two, as you can see below. Horwitz published a book under this title in 1964 and it was reprinted in London by Four Square/New English Library in 1965. Here they are
The problem is, these are not the same books as Walk Softly, Witch (the change from blonde to brunette gives the game away). The real one starts “This is, you should forgive the expression, Lieutenant Wheeler” and this one starts “She crossed her legs …” This 1965 text is actually So Deadly, Sinner which was first published in 1959.
Confused? Let me recap: Walk Softly, Witch (1959), based on Eve—It’s Extortion! (1957), is reissued as The Victim (1959) and Terror Comes Creeping (1960). An altogether different work, So Deadly, Sinner! (1959) was reissued as Walk Softly, Witch (1964).
Have I finished yet. Err, no. There are translations to consider, lots of them. Walk Softly, Witch (which one? Don’t get cheeky! I have no idea) was translated into Danish (Mordet pa Hamlet 1965, 1974), Dutch (Rendez-vous Met Hamlet 1962), Estonian (Sammu kergelt, kaunis noid 1998), Finnish (Paukkurauta soi 1961), French (Piece a tiroirs 1959, 1972), German (Hexe auf leisen Sohlen 1962, 1965, 1979), Hebrew (Hazmana lerezah 1967), Japanese (Shinayakani Aruku Majo 1962), Norwegian (Indigo Betyr Fare 1961, 1964, 1979), Russian (Beglec iz psihuski 1993, Guljaj, ved’ma 1991) and Spanish (Despacio Bruja 1961).
The Victim (1959), which you will recall is simply a reissue of Walk Softly, Witch, was translated into Danish (Offeret 1961), Dutch (Weduwe Zonder Tranen 1962), Finnish (Miljoonat Pelissa 1963), French (Envoyez la soudure 1959; 1970; 1981), German (Das Kostbare Opfer 1961; 1961; 1975), Japanese (1965), Norwegian (Doden gar uten korsett 1960), Swedish (Fara For Livet 1961) and Spanish (La Victima) 1961; 1973).
No doubt there are more. How many of these do I have. Um, none. You see, there are quite a few Carter Browns titles to collect without worrying about reissues, changed titles, earlier titles and translations, it’d be over a hundred volumes. These titles are: Widow Bewitched (1958), The Sinners (1963), Blonde on a Broomstick (1966), House of Sorcery (1967), The Witches (1968) and The Coven (1971). So now you know why it has been two years: collecting all of these Carter Brown books would be a life’s work. But I’ll keep at it and I’ll do another post soon(ish).