Another Cry For Help – Cherry Tree Books

The Case Of The Black Twenty-TwoAnother cry for help from those out there who are better informed than I am.

After the success of “The Mystery Of The Peacock’s Eye“, I’ve invested in a couple of other books by the mysterious Brian Flynn, namely The Case Of The Black Twenty-Two and the almost Rhode-esquely titled “Reverse The Charges”.

It’s the first one that I’m interested in. When it arrived, it baffled me as it’s a paperback reprint, courtesy of never-before-seen-by-me Withy Grove Press Ltd, London and Manchester, under the title A Cherry Tree Book. And it’s only 95 pages long. Now the font is pretty small, putting the word count at approximately 40 000 to 45 000, but the reference on OpenLibrary gives the page count at 295 pages.

So the obvious question – have I got an abridged edition or has the font been shrunk so much that I’ve got a full (if short) book? This is the sole entry for Flynn on the Internet Archive, but apparently it can’t be downloaded due to a problem with the content. Whether that’s during to the Black Twenty-Two being something unspeakably racist or just that the file in question is corrupted, who knows?

Other info from the book itself:

This is book 174 in the Cherry Tree Book range.

From the inside cover: “Collecting salvage, digging and saving for Victory, are efforts by the youngsters that deserve every encouragement. And since there simply can’t be enough Mars Bars to go round, you will want to put those you do get to good use. So let the kiddies know that, from now on, Mars are strictly reserved for work warranting the award of a MB (Mars (For Merit) Bar).” No idea of the mechanics of bribing children with sickly chocolate during wartime, but that does date the reprint to the Second World War – there’s no other date given.

From the back cover: “Make Delicious Ovaltine your daily beverage for Energy, Sound Nerves and Fitness for Service”. Because apparently in wartime, the drink that in the UK is generally associated with going to sleep was apparently recommended for the armed forces…

There’s also, rather fascinatingly, an advert for The Pelman Course, a course that comes in a book, designed to alleviate stress, which is half-price for service men. And adverts for the oddly named OK Sauce – “How’s the sauce? Well, it’s OK, I guess” –  and Zubes Cough Cure – pleasant to taste and suitably for children, apparently.

But there’s no clear publication date – it’s possible that a title page may have come loose but the binding is pretty firm.

So, can anyone help with this? Is it abridged or is it the full book? I’m going to read it anyway, but any info would be useful.


  1. If I may ask, where did you get the book ?
    I checked the Internet Archive and I find that it is available not in the Internet Archive but in the Internet Archive Lending Library which means you can borrow it for 14 days. Registration is simple and free. However, it is presently on loan and you will have to place a hold as mentioned on the top of the page. This is the reason you received nonsensical comments when you tried to download it.
    I have checked the 1929 US edition and find that it has 295 pages, 25 chapters and about 70,000 words.


  2. Yes, you have guessed correctly !
    I am the one who has borrowed it from the Archive ! Hence, I can say confidently that it has 295 pages, 25 chapters and about 70,000 words. I downloaded the pdf version which is an exact replica of the book.


  3. You can either “return” your internet loan with a click. I think you have to use Adobe Digital Editions for openlibrary. If you don’t return it within the lending period, it is mysteriously whisked away by openlibrary. No renewals. If no one else wants it, you can return it and get it back again sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A book borrowed from Internet Archive Lending Library or Open Library can be read in 2 ways, online and offline.
    The simplest way is to go online to the website, log in, go to the loans list and select the book. After 14 days, the book will automatically disappear from the loan list.
    To read offline, one needs to download it for which only 2 format options are available: pdf and epub.One also needs to install a free program called Adobe Digital Editions. The pdf or epub book is downloaded and opened in Adobe Digital Editions and automatically stored in its library. To read the book in future, one has to open Adobe Digital Editions, go to the library and select the book. After 14 days, the book will fail to open.
    Of course, one can return the book earlier by clicking the relevant link.


    • You can transfer the books from Adobe Digtal Editions to your Nook or Kindle (or possibly another ereader). I use the Nook and my son has a Kindle. There are instructions at openlibrary. It is easy once you get ADE set up. I use the epub format. One recently had a Kindle option but was unreadable in any format so I am not sure what is up there. It didn’t even show on my loans.


  5. Afraid I can’t help with the mystery of the shortened cherry tree novel, but this brought a smile to my face and reminded me of the copy of the Peacock Father Murders that I have which has war based inscriptions both back and front. The front one reads ‘in order to cooperate with the governments war effort, this book has been made in strict conformity with WPB regulations restricting the use of certain materials.’ I think in this case that it’s referring to the fact that the book is a ‘pocket’ edition, and therefore purposefully made smaller, with smaller text pushed right to the edges to save materials. The small size must have worried some readers as they had to print on the cover and at the second page that this was ‘not an abridged version’. Shame they didn’t do it for this copy of the Black Twenty-Two, would have been easier for you to be sure!


  6. To return to your question about Cherry Tree Books. I have several of them and they are all 95 pages long. I have a feeling that almost all of them are abridged. It’s seems far too coincidental to be able to print each and every book at exactly 95 pages no matter how much you reduce the font. I’m sure there was some cutting. I don’t have any Cherry Tree Books that are duplicates of other titles I own so I can’t can compare to the original books. But…

    I own three Flynn books in the US hardback editions; two of them are MYSTERY OF THE PEACOCK’S EYE and CASE OF THE BLACK 22. I could email you a PDF of a sample chapter of CASE OF THE BLACK 22 and you can compare it to your edition to see if its missing any words or entire paragraphs. That is if you really want to have your question answered.


  7. A bit off-topic, but Zubes are still available – try a local chemist or Google them. And OK Sauce used to be a sweeter version of brown sauce – I gather from Wikipedia it’s still available.


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