Friday, December 30, 2005

Book Alert: The House Where Nobody Lived

Amazon notes that you can now pre-order the new Lewis Barnavelt book by Brad Strickland, The House Where Nobody Lived, scheduled for release in October, 2006.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Sad Girl In The Snow

Traipsing through the trenches and we came across this odd but entertaining crossover of Narnia and the Southern Kingdom by a user named necreavit.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Edward Gorey Artwork

Kevin McDermott of Gotham Book Mart in New York City passes along word that original Edward Gorey artwork for three Brad Strickland novels are for sale via The titles are The Bell, the Book and the Spellbinder; The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost; and The Hand of the Necromancer. They'd make great Christmas presents for your favorite Bellairs-fan this holiday season.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Book Alert en français

It’s been a busy time in France for the books of John Bellairs (and Brad Strickland): La Tour de la fin du monde, the ninth book in the Kévin et les magicians series, was released this past June. In Johnny Dixon news, La Vengeance du fantôme was published in November and Les yeux du robot tueur is scheduled for release in February 2006.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Gorey Art for Sale

Up for grabs at ebay this week are two pieces of original Edward Gorey art. First, two interior illustrations from The Trolley to Yesterday (1989) on one piece of paper: the hand and sword pointing at a lit candle (page 120) and the mysterious tabergan (page 107). The second piece paper contains the ink drawing of the rebus clue from The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull (1984), the capital letter "L" covered with leafy vines (page 52). The seller notes both pieces were originally purchased at the Gotham Book Mart in Manhattan. If you've got the money...good luck!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

What's Gorey's Story?

Elizabeth Tamny writes in the Chicago Reader of the formative years of Edward Gorey:

Time Capsule: 1985

November, 1985 - A tip of the hat (so it can suck your scalp dry) to Brother Tentacles! Twenty years ago this November we learned just how sinister the Windrow clan truly was. John Bellairs’s fourth adventure in the Johnny Dixon series introduced us to, not only the malevolent Zebulon, but also his unforgettable familiar - the short, hunched figure with tentacles that roams the Windrow estate in New York. The Revenge of the Wizard’s Ghost continued the Windrow saga, as started the year before in The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull, making for a delightful one-two punch from some of the author’s best-remembered villains.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

26th Annual Christmas Candlelight Walk

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas: five of Marshall, Michigan’s historic homes will open their doors to visitors during the upcoming Holiday Season. Participants will walk with a guide from home to home in a group of about 30 people. There are four start times to choose from, and you will receive final details prior to the tour.

When: December 10, 11, 2005
Time: Early Tour 4:30 pm; Late Tour 6:45 pm

Marshall Historical Society
Marshall Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

“Go Bellairs! Quote Chaucer!”

On the dust jacket of the original Harcourt Brace Jovanovich edition of The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn you’ll find this interesting bit of trivia bout John:

While an undergraduate at Notre Dame University, John Bellairs startled a national television audience by quoting Middle English on the College Bowl program. He went on to teach English at several colleges and to travel widely.

If you're curious you can read the whole story here.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Fidgety Feet

Digging through the trenches recently we stumbled upon an online record store where one could purchase a slew of unfamiliar albums from almost anywhere across the world (mainly Poland, the Czech Republic, the eastern half of West Germany and so on). One particular record caught our eye: a 1988 album by the USSR-based Nevskaya Vosmyorka Jazz Band. The album is entitled Fidgeta.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Remembering Roommate Ronald Cardwell

Fifty years ago this fall John Bellairs began life as a college undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame. While there are the usual number of firsts that anyone undergoes transitioning from high school to college, one first of Bellairs's was this semester he had a room mate there in Zahm Hall. Actually, in four years of college at Notre Dame, Ronald Cardwell would be Bellairs's only room mate.

Whatever happened to Cardwell is uncertain but another Zahm resident - Bellairs's life-long friend Alfred Myers - was nice enough to recall their former friend:

Who Is Chubby Lewis?

That's the question we were once asked and we didn't have a good answer. Why are the Lewis Barnavelt books sometimes referred to as the "Chubby Lewis" series?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Itinerary: Bellairs Walk, Marshall

by Leah Adams (July 29, 2005)
(Originally published at LiveJournal)

Wednesday, I got to fulfill one of my lifelong childhood dreams. This was more important to me than going to New Orleans. For those that know me, that’s pretty damned important. This was like my own personal Mecca. I got to go to Marshall, Michigan.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Dost Thou Turn Away And Hide Thy Face

There’s news of a possible break in the case of Joseph Force Crater, the prominent New York City judge who disappeared on August 6, 1930. A recently discovered letter asserts Crater was murdered and buried near the Coney Island boardwalk:

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

2005 Living History Portrayal Walk

Oakridge Cemetery in Marshall, Michigan is host once again to the annual Living History Portrayal Walk. This guided walking tour will feature actors portraying seven significant persons from Marshall's past at each of those individual's gravesites. The event will take place rain or shine so participants are encouraged to bring flashlights, wear comfortable walking shoes, and carry an umbrella.

When: October 15, 2005
Time: 6:00 pm

Tickets for this fundraiser will be limited to 300. For more information, including cost, please contact the Marshall Chamber of Commerce.

As usual, Walter was sent to cover this for us last year but wound up in the bottom of a vat of Kellogg’s Frosted Rice Cereal, yucking it up with Antoinette and Tony, Jr. At least, that’s what Walter said. Anyway, we hope he manages to show up for an appearance this year.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Paging Pascale Cosse

For at least the past seven years Pascale Cosse has been named as one of the writers of the film adaptation of The House with a Clock in its Walls, as seen on the Internet Movie Database (

Monday, August 1, 2005

Book Alert: The House Where Nobody Lived

From Brad Strickland:
With the settlement of Frank Bellairs's estate, the publisher has asked for new books and the first one will be called The House Where Nobody Lived. The publishers asked for a Lewis book, so that's what it is. It's based on an actual house in Marshall, Michigan, though I've taken liberties with it and have relocated it.

In other breaking news, it really looks as if the movie of The House with a Clock in Its Walls will finally be produced. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

42nd Annual Historic Home Tour

“The Marshall, Michigan Home Tour is in its fifth decade of offering exquisite private homes and businesses for public viewing and enjoyment. The tour will feature eight vintage homes and will include five historic museums covering diverse specialties such as unusual architecture, antique home furnishings, Civil War memorabilia, and a restored antique post office. To close out the tour's sixteen structures will be three businesses from Marshall's well-maintained historic business district. Marshall's Home Tour was voted the Best Home Tour by the readers of AAA's Michigan Living magazine.”

Of special interest to fans of John Bellairs is the inclusion of the Cronin House (407 North Madison), the landmark inspiration for The House with a Clock in its Walls.

When: September 10-11, 2005
Time: Saturday 9:00 to 5:00, Sunday 10:00 to 5:00

For more information, including cost, please contact the Marshall Chamber of Commerce or Marshall Historical Society.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Bibliofile: The Curse of the Blue Figurine

John Bellairs' first three Johnny Dixon novels – The Curse of the Blue Figurine (1983); The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt (1983); and The Spell of the Sorcerer’s Skull (1984) – were published by British publishing house Corgi in the mid/late 1980s. David Langford comments on the foreign edition’s translation:

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Gorey: The Gashlycrumb Tinies Come Home

In cooperation with the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, the The Edward Gorey House is very pleased to announce a major exhibit for 2005: the original art for Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

This major Edward Gorey exhibit encompasses the pen and ink drawings for The Gashlycrumb Tinies and Mr. Gorey’s original typescript draft notes for the text. Also featured will be the five pen and ink panel drawings for Gorey’s slipcase for The Vinegar Works (three volume set includes The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Insect God and The West Wing). The exhibit is scheduled to run from June 23 to September 5, 2005.

Friday, July 1, 2005

The "Welcome to My Garden" Tour

Jon Caulkett passes along a story from the Battle Creek Enquirer about the Marshall Area Garden Club's 15th annual "Welcome To My Garden Tour," showcasing some of the community's private and public gardens. On this year’s tour is the Zaharion House, formerly owned by the Cronin family, the house that is the inspiration for Bellairs’s The House with a Clock in its Walls. The tour is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 9 and 10. For more information visit the Marshall Chamber of Commerce.
While trimming back some overgrown plants at 407 N. Madison St., Tom Zaharion found a stepping block with the name J. Cronin Jr. etched into it. And then he found a post to tie up horses near it.

"I believe it was for the ladies to use to step into the carriage," the self-employed builder-renovator said.

And among the trees, he noticed a concrete path that led nowhere.

"I always wondered about that until we had a woman who was in her 90s over," Tom Zaharion said. "She was a friend of the Cronin sisters and spent much of her time at the house. She said the path used to lead to an outhouse. I plan to have one reconstructed for that spot."

Before the Zaharions — who are only the second family to own the home — moved in, the house was vacant after owner Virginia Cronin, age 97, passed away in 2002. Her sister, Elizabeth, died in 1989.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Time Capsule: 1965

Summer, 1965 - She’s tiny, she’s jittery and she’s what made Bellairs the “famous author.” Forty years ago this summer Saint Fidgeta found herself in print when the Catholic publication The Critic published the humorous story of this miraculous patroness that changed the lives of parishioners everywhere.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

An Announcement from Brad Strickland

Brad Strickland has agreed to write more books in the series begun by John Bellairs. Following the death of John's son Frank, the copyright situation was complex and tangled. Through the efforts of John's and Brad's agent Richard Curtis, all of John Bellairs's surviving relatives (his former wife Priscilla, his sister Suzanne, and his brother Frank) have reached an agreement regarding copyright with Dial Books for Young Readers, clearing the way for new additions to the series. Titles have yet to be worked out, but this fall Brad will turn in the first new Bellairs series title since The Whistle, the Grave, and the Ghost.

I hope the readers think this is good news!

All best,

Edward Gorey Art For Sale

Up for grabs on ebay this week are the original pen and ink illustrations by Edward Gorey from the interior of The Trolley to Yesterday. On one sheet of paper are the illustration of the pointing hand, candle and sword as seen on page 120 and, our favorite device, the tabergan from page 107. The seller notes that the piece was purchased from the Gotham Book Mart on April 22, 1995.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Time Capsule: 1955

May 31, 1955 - Fifty years ago John Bellairs graduated from Marshall High School. According to the MHS yearbook, the Dial, he spent two years in the Latin club and the Chess club for all four years of high school. Dubbed "Genius John," the yearbook says his future included attending Notre Dame and studying pre-law. Only half of that came true: Bellairs did live in South Bend for four years but focused his attention on English literature and, during his senior year, becoming a minor television celebrity.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Great Reckonings In Little Rooms

We received an email earlier this month from a writer for the British magazine Dolls House and Miniature Scene who is working on a forthcoming article about the use of dollhouses in fiction. We’re told that John's The Spell Of The Sorcerer's Skull will be mentioned in the piece, in reference to the Childermass Clock:

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Memoriam: Saul Bellow

Author Saul Bellow died April 5 in Massachusetts. He was 89. Bellow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and was the only writer to win the National Book Award for Fiction three times.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Researching the Tropical Hut

When it comes to learning about some of John’s exploits in Chicago one of the better sources is his friend and fellow adventurer, Bob Yaple, who shared the names of some of the restaurants and bars that he and John visited during their graduate school days of the early 1960s.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Greetings From Barnavelt House

If you’re into the Sims games stop by Mt. Geneva and visit Barnavelt House, a rendering partly inspired by the Cronin House in Marshall, Michigan by Sims fan Jen:

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Trenches, Shards and Blogs

A short way down the street stood the professor’s gray stucco house. The professor stood in the driveway burning notebooks and papers. A heap of them was smoldering near his feet and sending up clouds of thick, whitish smoke. The professor reached into the cardboard box he was holding and pitched another fistful of white and blue sheets into the flames.
The professor grimaced and shook a bunch of papers in Fergie’s face. “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m cleaning out the back room of my study, something that has needed doing for ages." [The Eyes of the Killer Robot, 39-40].
Like Professor Childermass I too have been set forth to clean up the office and have chosen to do so in a form that Childermass would probably not understand. I do not understand it either. The boss’s Greeley-like comment of “Go Blog, young man” to a lackluster, un-Grinnell-like recipient was thought-provoking if only for the reason that 1) I hadn’t a clue what a blog was and 2) I’m older than the boss.

But here we are. In our research of John Bellairs we have always come across odds and ends of varying importance and severity that we felt others might find interesting to some degree. We had been posting our slightly tongue-in-cheek comments on our site directly but we’ll continue to do that here from now on: comment on our research; discuss any recent finds, however random; or serve as a call to arms for any other armchair researchers. Maybe even chocolate cake recipes, I don’t know.

Obviously everything prior to this post is us moving the archives to the new format. At least it frees up pages on the site.

Hooray for us, every one.
Walter & Co.

Friday, January 14, 2005

An Endangered Book

Ann La Pietra, owner of the kids' shop book store in Marshall, Michigan, brings word that The Doom of the Haunted Opera may be going out of print for good.