Confusing Future Bibliophiles

Recently, I was browsing a used-book store when I came across an interesting and obscure 1950s book about German espionage in Britain during the early part of WWII. (“Some Were Spies”, by the Earl Jowitt.) The price was right, and I bought it and took it home with me.

Having looked at it a bit, this particular copy of the book presents something of a mystery.

It’s evidently changed hands a number of times – at least twice in the UK, to judge from prices written in shilling/pence notation inside. It was valued enough that someone, somewhere, put a clear archival cover on the dust-jacket.

Oh, and inside is a yellowed piece of newspaper…

Now, finding bits of old newspaper inside vintage books is not that uncommon. Often, in my experience, they’re reviews of the book itself, serving – perhaps? – as a sort of aide memoire as to what the book is about, and whether it’s any good. Other times they’re interviews with the author, or – less frequently – obituaries of the author, or someone featured in the book.

This doesn’t seem to be any of those.

It is, to be specific, a large and carefully-cut piece of pages 11 and 12 of the Daily Mail from Friday, May 31, 1957. Page 12 is entirely sports – Sonny Ramadhin led the West Indies to crush England 7-49 at Egbaston, Shirley Bloomer beat Ann Haydon in the women’s singles semi-finals of the French lawn tennis championships in Paris, and England’s under-23 squad beat the Czech under-23 team at football 2-0 thanks to a pair of goals from Manchester United’s left half Duncan Edwards, who’d die less than a year later. Page 11 recounts the Shah of Persia‘s efforts at bull-fighting (I’m not making this up…), the efforts of three clergymen to put an end to prostitution in London’s West End, and a remarkably surge in murders nationwide following the Homicide Act‘s coming into force on March 21st that year. Oh, and part of an article on the trial of (what I assume to have been) John McGlashan and others, accused of spying against Egypt.

What does this have to do with the book? Bugger all, from what I can tell.

Nonetheless, it was quite entertaining trying to figure out a connection between the enigmatic newspaper clipping and the book it resides in, so I’ve decided that as a gift of sorts to future book-lovers, I’m going to start leaving mysterious and absolutely inexplicable clippings of my own inside books I own, so that years from now they too can puzzle over the nonexistent connections between the tome and that secreted within.

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on June 8th, 2011| 1 Comment »

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One Comment

  1. On 6/8/2011 at 5:39 pm Lars Moller-Rasmussen Said:

    This doesn’t look enigmatic at all, the book being about people tried as German spies in Britain, and the newspaper page containing an article about British citizens being tried as spies in Egypt. In short, an example of the boot being on the other foot. By the way, it was probably an accident that part of that article was lost.